Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Lieutenant Watada's War Against the War

From The Nation

First Lieut. Ehren Watada has become the Army's first commissioned officer to publicly refuse orders to fight in Iraq on grounds that the war is illegal.

"My participation would make me party to war crimes."

"It is my conclusion as an officer of the armed forces that the war in Iraq is not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law," he said. "Although I have tried to resign out of protest, I am forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal. As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must as an officer of honor and integrity refuse that order."

He concluded that the war was based on false pretenses, ranging from the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction to the claim that Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda and 9/11 to the idea that the United States is in Iraq to promote democracy.

"I came to the conclusion that the war and what we're doing over there is illegal."

"my moral and legal obligation is to the Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders."

"the UN Charter, the Geneva Convention and the Nuremberg principles all bar wars of aggression."

He told ABC News that the "wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people" is "a contradiction to the Army's own law of land warfare."

Watada's position is different from that of conscientious objectors, who oppose all wars. "I'm not just against bearing arms or fighting people. I am against an unjustified war," he said.

72 percent of American troops serving in Iraq think the United States should leave the country within the next year

General's revolt....many retired military leaders have strongly condemned the use of torture and other violations of international and military law.

at least 8,000 service members have deserted since the Iraq War began.

"It is my duty not to follow unlawful orders and not to participate in things I find morally reprehensible."

Watada's recognition of his duty provides a challenge not only to those in the military but to all Americans: "We all have a duty as American citizens for civil disobedience, and to do anything we can within the law to stop an illegal war."

Read the rest here

Sign an online petition in support of First Lieut. Ehren Watada.

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