Ehren Watada is a lieutentant in the United States Army. He refused to deploy to Iraq with his unit, claiming that the war in Iraq is illegal. He is currently being tried by a military court on charges of abandoning his unit and of conduct unbecoming an officer.
Is he a good man, a brave man, a conscientious citizen for refusing to “go along” with an action that he considers illegal and immoral, even when such a refusal subjects him to censure and dismissal from his job?
Or is he a disgrace, an opportunist, a dangerous threat to the chain of command necessary to permit the effective functioning of “the guardians of American freedoms?”
Read these two divergent assessments of the man and his actions … and let me know what you think!
Watada took talk too far … an opinion piece by Danny Westneat in The Seattle Times
What Watada did is military disobedience. And no matter how opposed you may be to this war, you’ve got to stop and think: Do we really want officers who run the most powerful fighting machine in the history of the world deciding what rules to follow as they go along? Even if this time you might agree with this particular officer?
Conduct Unbecoming … a blog post by Jayne Lyn Stahl
While making public disparaging remarks about a war in progress is deemed to be an actionable offense, Watada argues that “under military law those in the military are allowed to refuse, in fact, have a right to refuse unlawful orders.” It is his belief that the U.S. is in Iraq under false pretexts, and illegally; he thinks it is his duty to refuse those orders.