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Lieutenant defies US Army over ‘illegal’ war

Hey Wes.....I'll take that as a compliment anyway.... ;D

Wherever you are....keep your chin up....and your head and a** down....

Trial recommended for Watada

Associated Press

FORT LEWIS, Wash. — An Army officer is recommending that 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who has refused to go to Iraq, face trial on the three charges against him, a Fort Lewis spokesman confirmed Thursday night.

A report by the investigating officer, Lt. Col. Mark Keith, “does recommend that the case be tried by general court martial,” said J.C. Mathews, a civilian spokesman at this Army base south of Seattle.

Keith’s report was expected to be released Friday.

Watada has been charged with missing troop movement, conduct unbecoming an officer and contempt toward officials.

The Army laid out its case against him at a hearing last week, showing video footage of the officer calling the war illegal.

Keith could have recommended anything from dismissal of the charges to a general court-martial.

Keith’s recommendation goes to Watada’s brigade commander, Col. Cynthia Murphy, and finally to Lt. Gen. James Dubik, Fort Lewis commander, who has the final say on whether Watada should stand trial, Mathews said.

If convicted, Watada could face seven years in prison and dishonorable discharge.

Mathews said there is no timetable for Dubik’s decision.

Watada’s lawyer, Eric Seitz, said he was not surprised.

“We always believed that when they went so far as to convene an Article 32 hearing that they had already made a decision to proceed,” he said in a telephone interview.

Last week’s Article 32 hearing is similar to a grand jury proceeding.

Seitz, who had seen the Keith report, said he expects to learn Dubik’s decision in 10-14 days.

Watada was not immediately reachable for comment.

The 28-year-old officer, of Honolulu, was charged after he refused to deploy to Iraq on June 22 with his Fort Lewis Stryker unit, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

In one video clip shown at the Army hearing, Watada told a recent Veterans for Peace convention in Seattle that it is up to military personnel to stop the war.

“It is time for change, and change starts with all of us,” he said. He went on to offer the veterans a “radical idea.”

“To stop an illegal and unjust war, soldiers and service members can choose to stop fighting it,” he said.

Why is this guy allowed to walk around making very public appearances at anti war functions?  Why isn't he confined to base/quarters/cells awaiting trial?  Bad form...

Report released urging Watada court-martial

By Dan Nakaso and William Cole
The Honolulu Advertiser

An Army investigating officer called 1st Lt. Ehren Watada “sincere in his beliefs” about the war in Iraq but recommended that Watada’s case move to a general court-martial.

“As an officer and leader his refusal to obey a lawful order cannot be excused and serves to embolden others to commit the same or similar misconduct,” Lt. Col. Mark Keith wrote in his report, dated Tuesday, in which Keith found reasonable grounds that Watada violated Article 87 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (missing movement), Article 88 (contempt toward officials) and Article 133 (conduct unbecoming an officer).

Keith’s nonbinding recommendation will be forwarded to the special court-martial convening authority, Watada’s brigade commander, who will forward it to the general court-martial convening authority, the I Corps and Fort Lewis commander Lt. Gen. James Dubik for final disposition.

Dubik’s options include recommending no action be taken, administrative actions or uniform code of military justice proceedings to include a general court-martial.

In his report, Keith wrote that Watada’s “beliefs regarding the war in Iraq do not excuse his refusal to deploy or his public statements.”

Keith found reasonable grounds that Watada — a 1996 Kalani High School graduate — used “contemptuous words against the president of the United States during multiple media interviews.”

“First Lt. Watada’s contempt for the president serves to break down the good order and discipline of all military personnel by casting doubt regarding his integrity and leadership attributes while under the stress of combat operations.”

In finding reasonable grounds that Watada committed conduct unbecoming an officer, Keith recommended that the convening authority “consider 1st Lt. Watada’s convictions, age, lack of experience and the significant influence of third parties as they impact his convictions. Although he is clearly misguided regarding the legality of the war, his personal physical conduct (manner of expression, demeanor and oral communication skills) during his various public interviews has been consistent with the proper conduct of an Army officer. I find his message (contempt for civilian leadership and description of Army actions on the ground as ‘wholesale slaughter’) and his actions (missing movement) support a charge of conduct unbecoming an officer.”

Sen. Daniel Inouye, back in Honolulu after a 20-day trip that included stops in China and the Philippines, said yesterday that some Japanese-American veterans on the Mainland had said Watada’s actions shamed them and other veterans like them.

“I don’t know (all) the facts, but I’m not praising him,” said Inouye, who was among the senators who voted against the Iraq war. “I’ll await the outcome of the court-martial. I think it’s appropriate.”

Inouye, a Medal of Honor recipient who served in the Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team — the famed Go-for-Broke regiment — noted that he did not have to volunteer to serve in World War II. At the time, Japanese-Americans were declared “enemy aliens.”

“I understand the command structure,” he said. “I understand military orders. He (Watada) will have an opportunity to explain to the court.”

Reach Dan Nakaso and William Cole.

No way in the world will the Army let Watada slink off with an admin discharge. It would set a terrible precedent, especially with all the publicity this guy has received. I'm glad to read to Sen Inouye has stated the obvious to the wider public.
Ressurecting this thread for a moment here, news on the continued saga of Lt Ehren Watada, USA

From The New York Times

Shared under the Fair Dealings Provisions of the Copyright Act, RSC

Mistrial for Officer Who Refused to Go to Iraq
Published: February 8, 2007

SEATTLE, Feb. 7 — A military judge on Wednesday declared a mistrial in the court-martial of the Army officer who called the war in Iraq illegal and refused to join his unit when it deployed there last June.

The mistrial means that the officer, First Lt. Ehren K. Watada, could be retried in March, a spokesman for the base said.

Lt. Col. John Head, the military judge presiding over the case, declared the mistrial after he rejected an agreement Lieutenant Watada had reached with prosecutors before the trial began on Monday.

Under the pretrial deal, known as a stipulation agreement, Lieutenant Watada, 28, who is assigned to a Stryker brigade at Fort Lewis, about 45 miles south of Seattle, acknowledged refusing to deploy and speaking out against the war. In turn, prosecutors dropped two charges related to comments Lieutenant Watada made in interviews. His potential maximum sentence, if he were convicted, would be reduced to four years in an Army prison from six.

A lawyer for Lieutenant Watada, Eric Seitz, has maintained that there is no dispute over what Lieutenant Watada did, only over why he did it. He has said Lieutenant Watada’s actions amounted to free speech and civil disobedience protected by the Constitution.

Colonel Head has repeatedly refused to allow Lieutenant Watada to center his defense on the argument that the war is illegal. On Wednesday, after Mr. Seitz proposed that the judge require jurors to consider that Lieutenant Watada acted out of a mistaken belief that his actions were legal, Colonel Head declared the mistrial, citing confusion over the stipulation.

The judge, according to a statement released by Fort Lewis, became “concerned that the stipulation amounted to a confession by Lieutenant Watada to an offense to which he intended to plead not guilty.”

Lieutenant Watada’s conviction has largely been considered a foregone conclusion. But Mr. Seitz said the circumstances surrounding the mistrial, including the fact that the judge rejected a stipulation he had initially approved, could allow Lieutenant Watada to avoid prosecution altogether.

"A lawyer for Lieutenant Watada, Eric Seitz, has maintained that there is no dispute over what Lieutenant Watada did, only over why he did it."

OK I'm no lawyer but what does "why he did it" have to do with anything. He is guilty of a Service Offence....I think that the law prescribes the punishment....there is no why or wherefore...or is there? ???
A lawyer for Lieutenant Watada, Eric Seitz, has maintained that there is no dispute over what Lieutenant Watada did, only over why he did it. He has said Lieutenant Watada’s actions amounted to free speech and civil disobedience protected by the Constitution.

Helloooo.... civil disobedience?
This fella signed away that particular right when he accepted the "king's shilling" Dubya's greenbacks