Mistrial declared in Watada court martial

Wow. The judge in the court martial of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada who refused to serve in Iraq because the war is illegal has declared a mistrial because the government insisted Watada had no right to explain his actions.

Watada’s lawyer, Eric Seitz, said Watada’s intent in refusing deployment orders was at the heart of his defense, and that it was ridiculous for prosecutors to suggest that he had no right to explain why he did what he did.

“The government has created a major mess here, and that’s clearly why they had to move for a mistrial,” Seitz said. “Any time the government tries to suppress a defendant’s attempt to explain his actions, that’s not a good thing for our legal system.”

  • tom hinkle


    Within the context of 655,000 Iraqi deaths, 3100 U.S. soldiers killed, and over 20,000 U.S. troops permanently maimed; Lt. Ehren Watada’s Court Martial proceeds for refusing deployment and conduct unbecoming an officer .

    Lt. Watada has refused to deploy because he understands after an intense study of the Iraq war (at the suggestion of a senior officer) that the war in Iraq is illegal and immoral. Illegal because it was based on deception: e. g. unsupported intelligence about WMD’s, unsubstantiated links between Sadam Hussein and terrorism, forged documents regarding Iraq purchasing yellow cake Uranium, and violation of treaties outlawing aggressive war. Immoral because our aggression led to death and destruction for millions of Iraqi’s and thousands of our own soldiers.

    Lt. Watada took an oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution requires that he follow the laws set forth therein. It is not only his right but his duty to refuse illegal orders that violate the constitution . “Following orders” does not exonerate a person from war crimes. Lt. Watada concluded that we are committing war crimes by and in our invasion. It became his obligation to refuse.

    Lt. Watada’s sole defense is based on the legality and constitutionality of the War in Iraq.
    However, his Military Judge has refused to hear the case on constitutional grounds, rather only on the facts. 1) he refused to deploy, and 2) he made statements about “Superiors” i.e. the President, that are “unbecoming an officer“.

    Some think we are reaching a constitutional crisis, because the constitutional powers given the Congress are being usurped by the executive. Only the Congress can declare war, fund war, and sustain war. It is perfectly clear the administration does not have this power. Furthermore, if the Congress does not exercise its authority and oversight over the executive it is remiss in its Constitutional duty.

    Is it not possible that “we the people” and our elected representatives are in the same position as Lt. Watada? Are not the same issues this young soldier has struggled with also the issues that we must face? Is this war moral or legal?

    Perhaps at the beginning when we were led by deception it could have been considered so, even if we should have known better. Now that we know there were no legitimate reasons and are aware we are perpetrating an aggressive war violating universal human rights and our own laws, we surely must know better.

    Knowing what we now know, Congress has the same obligation as Lt. Watada to refuse endorsing an illegitimate and aggressive war. Censor is not enough, non-binding resolutions are not enough. The administration is accountable. Repeal any war powers given to this president, re-deploy the troops, cut off all funding for the slaughter.

    Would it not be honorable for Congress also to be charged with refusing to deploy and conduct unbecoming? Would not “we the people” approve?. Then they would be doing their duty. Congress has the power to end the need for deployment.

    Lt. Ehren Watada’s constitutional crisis is here and now. Is not his legal and moral dilemma also ours? Do you think four years in prison is enough to assuage the guilt of sentencing more innocents to their doom?

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