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Monday, February 05, 2007

Sir, Your Cell is This Way

Lt. Erhen Watada is being tried by the US Army for refusing to deploy to Iraq, saying the order to go is illegal since, in his opinion, the war is illegal.

Unfortunately for the Lieutenant, the judge in charge of his trial has decided (rightfully) that the legality of the war isn't an issue for military courts to decide. He's stated a number of times in pretrial hearings that the legalities of war are issues for the President and Congress to decide.

Today Lt. Watada plead not guilty, again based on the legality of the war, and once again got spanked by the judge on that issue.

Honestly, I don't see how Mr. Watada can be found anything but guilty in this trial for two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and one count of missing movement for failing to deploy. The oath he took, and the document he signed when he accepted his commission are pretty clear, he follows the orders of those above him, and there is a proper channel for his type of grievance. Unfortunately (for him) he didn't follow the orders, or persue his grievances in the proper manner, and now he'll pay.

Even the San Fransisco Chronicle has a hard time being sympathetic to him. When the farthest left of the leftist news outlets won't give someone a break in a case like this, it's hard to figure where he thinks he'll get that break. Here's what the Chronicle said:
His arguments are appealing, but unconvincing. As an officer, he's in no position to refuse orders to go to Iraq. His change of mind and claims of conscience don't excuse him duty.

Watada, who did an earlier tour of duty in Korea, has offered to serve in Afghanistan. Yet no soldier can be allowed to pick and choose assignments, a notion that undercuts the necessary hierarchy of military order. He also faces charges of conduct unbecoming an officer for publicly denouncing President Bush, who is also commander in chief of the military.

The Chronicle gets it right, understanding that regardless of the public popularity of the war, or personal feelings of the volunteers in the military, military order is a requirement. Officers breaking down that order based on personal feelings on one mission aren't who we need leading a military.

Does that mean that an officer shouldn't question things? No, what it means is that the officer has protocol to follow to air those issues, and publicly through the press isn't how. Watada will find that out soon enough.

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