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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Maybe He's Too Stupid....

.... To be in the Army. I'm speaking, of course, of Lt. Erhen Watada, who had a mistrial declared today at his courts martial.

Why do I think he's too stupid to be in the Army, or working anywhere but with K-Fed(see my last post)? It has to do with the reason for his mistrial. You see, the "good" Lieutenant's lawyer wanted the jury instructed to ignore the statement of fact that he signed in order to get two of the four counts of conduct unbecoming an officer dropped.

According to the lawyers, the college educated Watada, and his council, didn't understand that the document stated it was his duty to go to Iraq with his unit. He thought it was just saying he didn't go there.

There is one thing EVERYONE I met in the military knew very quickly after enlisting (or being commissioned) read EVERYTHING that gets put in front of you before you sign it. EVERYTHING, even minor paperwork, because you never knew when something strange might be in the document. Evidently the Lieutenant and his lawyers never figured that out. My guess is he figured he was getting two charges dropped, so it was a good deal to sign the papers, without fully reading them.

I've seen military "statements of fact" on a number of occasions. Next to each statement you normally initial, signifying you've read and understand that statement. Then, at the bottom, you sign the papers, under a paragraph that says you've read, and fully understand the document you are signing, and have had an opportunity to seek advice from and attorney before you signed.

Truly, though, I think that Watada and his lawyers figured out he was going to be found guilty, and that the statement of fact was going to be the nail in his coffin. He was scheduled to be on the stand today, but had to know that he'd be questioned on the statement of fact, and that he'd have to look at a perjury charge, or some other charge if he denied he'd read the document before signing it. So, to save themselves for another day, they decided to tell the judge he "misunderstood" what he had already signed.

One good thing, with the statement of fact out of the trial, the other two charges are going to be added back in for his retrial in March. That means he has the possibility of getting a few extra years making big rocks into little rocks in Kansas. Nothing would warm my heart more than to see him get the full term for his crimes.

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