Ehren Watada Roundup

Here is a roundup of blog reaction to this story:

An Army officer who was born and raised in Honolulu is refusing to go with his unit to Iraq because he says the basis of the war is illegal and immoral.

First Lt. Ehren Watada, 27, is with the Stryker unit out of Fort Lewis, Wash. Watada is the son of former state Campaign Spending Commission Executive Director Bob Watada.

“I feel that we have been lied to and betrayed by this administration,” Watada said Tuesday in a telephone interview with the Seattle Times from Fort Lewis. “It is the duty, the obligation of every soldier, and specifically the officers, to evaluate the legality, the truth behind every order — including the order to go to war.”

Confederate Yankee (Bob Owens) Other Than Honorable

Soldiers do not get to pick and choose their wars, yet hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Guardsmen, and Reserves have cycled into an out of Iraqi in the past three years of war, and while many perhaps felt that this war was not one they would chose, they followed their lawful orders to deploy.

They do not do this because they love combat, nor death, nor deprivation. They give up families, stability and even their lives, because of honor, duty and loyalty. They do this because of bonds between soldiers that civilians such as you or I will never truly understand.

Wizbang (Kim Priestap) Fort Lewis Officer Says He Will Refuse to Go to Iraq

This is more than just one man refusing to deploy. It’s a coordinated effort by the anti-war left to undermine our troops, our war effort, and President Bush, and Lt. Watada is its pawn.

The Sandbox Officer Refuses Deployment

I recall the questions I answered and the oath I took when I enlisted, and I know I will renew that oath upon earning my commission. If I refuse lawful orders, I open myself up to UCMJ punishment. More importantly, I’d feel a shame I can’t begin to describe. I signed up to serve the United States. To my knowledge, that doesn’t come with a rider which allows for exceptions to policy I don’t agree with.

The Stupid Shall Be Punished How Not To Refuse Unlawful Orders

Expect the evening news tomorrow night to be filled with stories of a “brave” Army Lieutenant. The actions he’ll be lauded for don’t fit the traditional definition of bravery, but you’ll see pundits far and wide hailing his actions.

Cathouse Chat (Romeocat) “Hero”? Only for the lefty anti-war nutcases

No. He is NOT “doing the right thing.” Our military is entirely a volunteer force, and your son, sir, has had ample time to reconsider his choice of a career in the Army. He did not have to enter Officer Candidate School, he did not have to raise his hand and swear to protect the United States of America and the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”



22 thoughts on “Ehren Watada Roundup

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  4. John Burger

    I am glad that there are American officers like Lt Watada who think about their wider duty to their country, their people and their soldiers.
    The war in Iraq is not in the interests of the American people. It is draining away blood, money, resources. There is no end in sight to. It is another Vietnam, an ill thought through foreign campaign where America’s superior military might is being chipped away by a determined insurgency on the ground in daily skirmishes.
    The administration ignored advice from its top military on how to tackle the invasion, sidelined generals who issued warnings about the impending disaster that have turned out to be only too true, and rewarded yes men. The result is a mess: inappropriate or inachieveable military objectives, insufficient means to achieve objectives, waste, corruption, stress for the people of Iraq, for the ordinary soldiers on the ground who have to serve three tours often one after another – and the prospect of total collapse of the country into anarchy and civil war, fertile breeding for terrorists.
    On top of that, for the first time in the history of America, we have an administration openly condoning torture. Not even when America fought the Nazis, was torture condoned. That is what makes America great. That is what has won America friends.
    How is this bloodbath and this butchery, this torture and this mess, in the interests of America? Where are the true patriots out there who really care for their country, their soldiers, the values America stands for?
    Or is it enough to put your hand on your heart and weep sentimental tears when the American flag flies? Is that enough? The true American thinks and acts in the interests of America in the real world and stands up against an administration that claims to be defending American interests but is in fact destroying them.
    Hurray for Lt Watada!

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  5. Jim Lynch Post author

    Lt. Watada is no patriot, he is a man without honor. He isn’t standing up for anything except his own self-interest and agenda. Far from thinking of his “wider duty”, he is ignoring his duty and making a mockery of his service.

    Where are the true patriots out there who really care for their country, their soldiers, the values America stands for?

    They are serving with honor in Iraq and around the world, standing by their commitment, honoring the oath they took. Some of them will be deploying to Iraq this month from Ft. Lewis, Washington. Lt. Watada doesn’t have the honor to serve with them.

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  6. Huston

    According to what I’ve found in various articles (and the website dedcated to supporting him), young Mr Watada voluntarily enlisted in the United States Army AFTER the invasion of Iraq. Based on his date of commision, he went pretty much straight into OCS, and he accepted his commission AFTER the reconstruction began.

    This commissioned officer decided (according to his own statements) that the war in Iraq was an illegal war after accepting his commission. He has attempted to resign his commission twice, both times with his stated reason being an inability to support our actions in Iraq, phrased with obviously directly insulting statements against ourt civilian leadership.

    He has not yet met the minimum commitment to serve he incurred by accepting his commission. And he claims to not understand why his requests to resign his commission have been refused.

    I see four clear-cut UCMJ violations so far. Once his unit actualy deploys, if he truly manages not to go with them, the number jumps to at least seven.

    And the thing that floors me? Whether the invasion was legal or not, we’ve moved on to trying to help them rebuild. How can anybody be against trying to get the country back up and operating independently again?

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  7. the guy on the couch

    Why is it that when a soldier commits an attrocity (mi lai, haditha, abu grahab, etc) he or she gets penalized for not stepping up and saying \”THIS IS WRONG\”, the soldier get court martialed and dragged through a media & judicial circus.

    And when a solder DOES say \”THIS IS WRONG\” he or she also gets court martialed and dragged through a media circus!?!?!?!


    p.s. Didnt we win the war like a few years ago?

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  8. Jim Lynch Post author

    You obviously have no ability to differentiate between what is legal and what isn’t.

    Ehren Watada is intent on disobeying a lawful and legal order. For that he deserves both the scorn of the American people and the consequences he faces from the military justice system.

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  9. chance correia

    I personally know Ehren, we both attended Kalani High School on Oahu, HI. I understand that he joined the military in 2003 after Graduating from HPU. The military campaign in Iraq and Afganistan were well underway. Consequently, he had to have some knowledge of the high possibility being deployed. Aa a tax payer, I refuse to support someone who wasted economic resources and possibly blocked the commission of a loyal officer. If his reservations were so strong, why did he join the military? Both of my grandfathers, many of my uncles and friends are military veterans. Without exception they believe Ehren’s actions are disgraceful to the U.S. and, most importantly, the residents of the great state of Hawaii.

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  10. John Burger

    In reply to the view that honour for a soldier equals obeying an oath to a president — and ignoring the wider context–, I would just like to point the parallels with Nazi Germany where officers and soldiers also swore an oath of absolute obedience to their government (Hitler in this case).

    Even after Hitler plunged Germany into a diasterous war on two fronts and into genocide and the Holocaust, many right minded soldiers in Germany — who despised Hitler — considered it a matter of honour (and patriotism) to keep their oath and serve at the front — so giving space to Hitler to perform his atrocities in the back.
    In Nazi Germany, too, patriotism was equated with fighting for the government — Hitler in this case — and not with fighting for a good cause (morally, politically good)or for the interests of one’s country.
    The resistance to Hitler argued that patriotism required fighting for the interests of their country and breaking an oath that chained them in blind obedience not to God or a wider system of values but to a government that was acting immorally and illegally. However, the resistance was punished while Gmerany soldiers and officers who went along with the system were rewarded by the Nazis.
    In the Nuremberg Trails, American judges did not accept the pleas of leading Nazi Generals that they had served hnourably because they had followed an oath of obedience they had sworn to their government. It was the American judges, who argued that a soldier’s obligation to be obedient to the oath ends when basic moral values and laws are being violated. Again, it was the loyal Nazi Gnerals such as Field Marshall who were promoted for their loyalty under Hitler, so not honour but self interest was what was at stake.
    If you are in the system and stand up to the system, your career is over and life becomes very unpleasant for you. It takes courage to make that choice.
    As for Lt Watada’s date of commission, it was before the War in Iraq as far as I can see. And it is the right of everyone to change their mind. Many of the German resistance most honoured today, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg who tried to assassinate Hitler in 1944, changed their minds after seeing the atrocities and problems the war was causing. Does that make them less honoured by America today?

    “Lt. Watada is no patriot, he is a man without honor. He isn’t standing up for anything except his own self-interest and agenda. Far from thinking of his “wider duty”, he is ignoring his duty and making a mockery of his service.

    Where are the true patriots out there who really care for their country, their soldiers, the values America stands for?

    They are serving with honor in Iraq and around the world, standing by their commitment, honoring the oath they took. Some of them will be deploying to Iraq this month from Ft. Lewis, Washington. Lt. Watada doesn’t have the honor to serve with them. “

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  11. Jim Lynch Post author

    We are never going to agree on this. You are starting your argument from the point of our fighting in Iraq being illegal and/or immoral. It is not.

    Further, to equate the liberation of Iraq with the horrors committed by the Nazis is absurd at the best.

    Finally, as for the dates. The war in Iraq began in March of 2003. Lt. Watada began OCS in August of 2003.

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  12. lockin47

    He cites the Army Value of “Duty” for his reason to refuse to deploy. We have many other values though.

    Loyalty: Bear true faith and allegiange to the US constitution, the Army , your Unit and other Soldiers.

    Selfless Service: Place the welfare of the Nation, The Army and your subordinates above your own.

    Personal Courage: Face fear, danger or adversity, “Both Physical and MORAL”

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  13. Waikinikona

    “Mr” Watada, and I say “Mr” because Ehren Watada does not deserve to bear his military rank. Many of us Hawaii transplants and retired military living in the general area of Ft Lewis, WA are deeply upset with Mr Watada’s actions. Not being fully aware of his background, it appears Mr Watada maybe took advantage of an ROTC scholarship to fund his education, but when it comes down to the wire, he c/would not want to do the honorable thing to fullfil his obligation.
    As islanders raised with the “Aloha” spirit, Mr Watada has let us down. “Ohana means family….and no one gets left behind…or forgotten” as Lilo says. Mr Watada, your Ohana is the Stryker Brigade you are assigned to. You have let them down. You have let us down. You are a sad representation of us.
    I’ts too late for you to “do the right thing”. Even if you were to deploy, with your ohana, the Strykers, it would only create problems for you.
    The aloha spirit means to forgive transgressions. Unfortunately, it will be hard for your fellow Strykers to over look this step you took. You took that oath “against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic.”

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  14. Laura Teske

    What an idiot. For a college EDJUKATED person, he sure didn’t read the SMALL PRINT!

    Do you think for one minute that if he had a civilian JOB and told his employer he didn’t want to do the JOB (anylonger) does he think he would still HAVE a J-O-B ???

    Simple solution: strip him of all earned status, kick his sorry arse out of the military – dishonor of course and make him PAY the government BACK ALL the earned income and free housing/training he has received for the past three years!

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  15. Edmund Bentivengo

    Nice to see that on a far-“right” site there is an honest open debate about Watada’s actions. Shows that maybe there is some wiggle room for a conscience yet in the Republican/military mentality.
    Folks your arguments about Watada being sworn to uphold honor are specious. If the war is illegal (and the United Nations said it was!) then it is illegal and an officer has a duty to refuse illegal orders. God knows the 25 bombing missions per day killing civilians almost constantly (according to just about every foreign media source there is) also makes this war illegal as an act of State sponsored TERRORISM! (Remember, 9-11 was not done by Iraq, but primarily by Saudi Arabians.)
    As for his skipping an ROTC scholarship, Watada paid his own way through college; no money is owed to the taxpayers by this good American lieutenant. Certainly nothing like what Halliburton owes you righteous taxpayers for the tens of millions in no-bid money they’ve “disappeared” from the books (that the media seem to have also decided to ignore).

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  16. Dianne

    This is bad. I smell something very fishy here. By the time Watada entered the military 2003, he was made clear knowledge that the 9/11 attacks were resulted from men in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and that the war in Iraq was illegal. No weapons of mass destruction was found (which was the poor sorry excuse to go to war in the first place). And he joined the military anyway? Is it possible fear is setting in with his instructed deployment? Anyone would know, with war, comes pain, injury and death. And only now, he is refusing to leave to war zone Iraq. He claims he grew up in a good moral environment as a Japanese decent. With that in mind, he knew way far in advance the manipulation and deciet this war has in store. He could use rebuilding of the country as an excuse, but rebuilding and making the country a better place is a far cry from reality. Wasn’t it veterans of the 1991 Iraq war who said “Afghanistan and Iraq wars are the toughest to fight because of the terrain and the vile nature of the Iraq and afghan soldiers?” This is a long war and a war that will go on for years to come. Hold on to your wallets as gas prices soar even higher as this war escalates. Erhen Watada? Your excuse to refuse to deploy is very saddening and very questionable to your reasoning truth. I sense his fear in the reality of death or injury which is setting in as his deployment nears.

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  17. Ed Bentivengo

    In regards to Lt. Watada’s “fear”.
    You neo-fascists out there have no idea how much “fear” you provoke yourselves, greater in many ways than being deployed to a battle zone. At the risk of saying something that might give dome of you a perverse pleasure, you all need to rethink your own terror tactics!
    The chance of being put in one of America’s current military prisons where “detainees” are tortured, raped and murdered along with the public assault of the peanut gallery of armchair warriors focusing their anger and deficiencies at anyone who stands up and disagrees with them would be enough to give any young lieutenant pause. No, Watada is showing much more bravery than any of the deferment dodgers (Cheney got FIVE!) in the Bush Admiistration or on these boards.

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  18. Laura in Mid Mo

    As far as the United Nations is concerned, the original League of Nations failed in its primary goal and so has the UN… where were they BEFORE 9/11 ???

    As Michael V. Daly says – shut up

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  19. James M. Jensen II

    With respect, I’d like to point out some of the counter-productive tactics some of you are using to support the war:

    1. Accusing dissenters of cowardice. This is a serious charge, though it is sometimes deserved. To accuse Ehren Watada of cowardice for refusing to serve in the war places the burden of proof on your side, mainly in proving him wrong.

    2. Punishing dissenters. Lt. Watada should accept the normal consequences of… well, whatever the particular offense is… as would any soldier who refuses duty. It’s the duty of his supporters to argue otherwise. In any case, however, calling for additional punishment for his dissent is unfair.

    3. Denigrating dissenters. The general disrespect sometimes seen toward dissenters is counter-productive and contrary to a free society. It is an opinion, and deserves respect as any other. Argue over facts, not opinions, and especially not characters.

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  20. Butch

    First let me say I’m not a big fan of this war or our justification for entering it, and I’m more in the center than right or left. That being said…

    As an HPU grad and a recently retired officer, all I can say is that the best punishment is quite possibly this: When this guy goes to sleep at night, safe in his bed, out of harm’s way under the warmth and protection of selfless people he’ll never equal, he will absolutely know that he is a gutless, self-absorbed coward, afraid to fight even for his nation and the will of the people that elected our government, regardless of what defenses he makes up for his defense or the press.

    Even better, his family and former friends will know it also. He will forever be tainted goods, even though he’ll be alive, just as he wishes and schemes. Cowards always live, just as drunk drivers seem to walk away from their crashes. His cowardry will only serve to strengthen those whose courageous ranks he pretended he could join.

    He is a victim of the post-911 patriotism surge that netted many ROTC and OCS veterans who wanted to wear a uniform and “play” serve their nation, without understanding the sacrifice and mental fortitude it would require. Many can’t live up to it. Luckily, many can–unfortunately, the cowards get to wear the same uniform, at least for awhile.

    For all intents and purposes, these cowards are virtually indistinguishable from real men and real women of honor. But like our flag, the true colors always come through. Luckily there is no yellow in our flag.

    I suggest they deploy him to the hottest areas of Afghanistan (which he feigns the courage to visit) for his full commitment, then bring whatever is left of him up on charges prior to his separation.

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