On The Road To 2008 - Commentary on issues as we countdown to the next opportunity to change the direction of America

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Lt. Ehren Watada Will Refuse Deployment To Iraq

Earlier today I posted the news that a Fort Lewis soldier is poised to become the first U.S. military officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. I also posted this at Daily Kos.

We now know his identity:

(Thank You LT) Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 7th U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada will become the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to the unlawful Iraq war and occupation. He will announce his intention to disobey the illegal order to deploy to Iraq in coordinated press conferences in Tacoma, Washington and Honolulu, Hawaii.
It has come to this.

Lt. Ehren Watada is a brave man. He has taken on what will be as trying a fight as any he is protesting against participating in in Iraq. This war that was initiated by men who this country somehow rewarded by re-election two years ago, and that has been a disaster from the start, even while early appearances were that the quick dispatch of the Iraqi forces in the first three weeks might be harbingers of a promising future.

Yet the war was sold to Americans under false pretenses. Our leaders, the men writing the orders Lt. Watada are being asked to follow, lied to the American public and to the brave men and women that make up the military forces that have been thrown into a battle without end.

Many have commented that opposition to Vietnam changed when soldiers started to speak out against it, and while we have heard retired generals and ex-soldiers doing so regarding Iraq, Lt. Watada is the first active soldier to refuse deployment, and this will perhaps be a seminal moment in this war.

By the looks of it the Thank You LT Web site is a well planned undertaking. This is no overnight operation. This decision that Watada claims to be his alone, but supported by many, has obviously been well thought out. The question to my readers is how do we support him? Financially, as surely he and his familiar will incur financial hardships to come? Via moral support, perhaps by signing the petition at the Web site? Or via continued activism so that the new Democratic leadership in November understands that this is the top priority the nation is concerned about (no one expects the GOP to do anything about it do they)?

There will be a coordinated press conference tomorrow where an official announcement will be made:

Tacoma, Washington at 12pm noon
Associated Ministries, 1224 South I Street (at the intersection of 12th & I)

Honolulu, Hawaii at 11am
Hawaii State Capitol, Senate Conference Room 224
I wish you "Good Luck" Lt. Watada!

11 Comment(s):

Comment by: Anonymous bobby fletcher

That's one brave man:


6/06/2006 11:12 PM PT  
Comment by: Anonymous Anonymous

Wrong! He signed up in what, 2003? he knew what was coming. He opted to attend OCS! Shame on him. He should have known better..American soldiers sign up the dotted line voluntarily, soliders obey the orders of the civilians. he is a traitor!

6/07/2006 5:55 PM PT  
Comment by: Anonymous Anonymous

You libs called G. Bush a deserter for missing Reserve meetings; you hail this guy for refusing deployment. What a bunch of phoneys.

6/07/2006 6:32 PM PT  
Comment by: Blogger Daniel Kirkdorffer

Makes me think of the line from Airplane! in which a mock "Point/Counterpart" television news pundit proclaims:

"Shanna, they bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash!"

At some point soldiers are mere lemmings marching off a cliff when they mindlessly follow orders that make them complicit in an immoral war based on lies.

6/07/2006 8:21 PM PT  
Comment by: Blogger Lietta Ruger

Daniel, I personally and sincerely want to thank you for working to call attention to this amazing 'story'. While our own 'network' at Portal is off being busy in other pursuits like the fun and games at Dem. convention, you are earnestly trying to call attention to a story of a young Officer demonstrating the kind of courage of leadership I have come to expect from leadership in our armed forces.

I read your blog at Kos and was disappointed to see how little interest there was there from that huge readership on about one of the most important stories of this week.
I have seen you politely and with some humility call both your diaries to the attention of the 'insiders' at Portal. I have seen how the other interests take precedence and am truly dismayed at the moment with the 'family' that makes up Portal.

But that aside, I did want you to personally know I was and am paying attention to what you have tried to do with this story; with calling attention to young Lt. Ehren Watada and the position he is taking by refusing the orders.

As to the comments thus far, here and about everywhere else, I would expect about that level of flinging and hurling insults. It's a fairly normal and expected knee-jerk reaction to the 'controversial' nature of Lt Watada's position. After the falderal dies down, the real dialogue begins, because Lt. Ehren Watada needs no one to speak for him; he speaks with poise, eloquence and dignity himself. His expressed thoughts will linger after all the insults evaporate into hyberspace.

What he will face now when the Army acts; from his own unit, from his brothers and sisters in arms, will further test his courage. He will be charged and should he face time in military prison, his courage will be further tested.

I stood with him yesterday evening, next to him while he was at the podium at the 6PM press conference. It was my honor to be in that moment, and I was further honored as I heard him speak. He is indeed an Officer and his words will not be easily discarded with taunts and insults.

Let the authentic dialogue begin. Thank you, Daniel

6/08/2006 7:40 PM PT  
Comment by: Blogger Arthur Ruger

How come those pretending to be the most patriotic by defining what traitors and phoneys are have to sign their names "anonymous?"

Only the apologetic are willing to attempt one-line dismissals of a 28-year old military patriot demonstrating the highest valor a soldier can offer his country.

Lt. Ehren Watada is proving America is more than a symbol of immoral politics.

The media has already found veterans who will deliver their one-liners - people who think a short dismissal defines the issue sufficiently.

Some will say: "He signed the bottom line. He needs to go to Iraq or go to jail."

Those are the macho military apologists refusing to think about the implication of blind obedience in the face of common sense and a powerful ethic.

These are the macho military apologists who aren't so brave that they are willing to discuss the ethics of America's aggression against and nation and people innocent of the 9/11 attacks.

But this veteran doesn't think so.

What Lt. Watada is doing is an outward expression of what many others in the military would do but cannot or dare not and he's a voice for many more people than himself.

He is doing what many would of us would do if we were in that situation. His protest is not just individually his alone. We don't need to be limited to applauding his courage about having the guts to speak his mind just for himself.

Whether we like it or not the civic implication is that the American soldier who fights and kills in Iraq is fighting and killing on our behalf and in our name.

If Iraq had it coming, then we as American jingos can take pride in the moment.

"Good on that soldier for acting in my name" is what we can ideally declare during wartime. Presumably the soldier does for us what we can't do for ourselves - defend the nation by physical presence and action.

But we as citizens and the electorate are making our feelings known. The Bush aggression is an act that now a majority of citizens polled in this country have repudiated.

If one considers the Iraq aggression as immoral, untenable, unwinnable and a needless drain of America's most precious blood then we can be constant in our love and loyalty to our soldiers and still lament and object to what they are forced to do there.

If the courageous Lt. is doing what I would want to do if in a like circumstance, then he is acting for me and on my behalf. I support and appreciate him doing this for us. That's what acting morally in our roles as citizens should reflect.

These wonderful miltary men and women are instruments of our own patriotism. If we dare not own up to what is being done in our name, then simple dismissals of Lt. Watada are hypocrisy.

When things like this are done, those who do it initiate action that may or may not be agreed with by others. But if agreed with by others - a significantly large number of others - a shift begins.

It's a shift sustained by a growing voice of dissent that can only be healthy for a democratic republic.

This Spartacus moment is important.

6/08/2006 7:54 PM PT  
Comment by: Blogger Daniel Kirkdorffer

Thank you both for posting your comments. You've said well what Blogger lost while I was trying to respond to another commenter.

6/08/2006 8:58 PM PT  
Comment by: Blogger Ian

Interesting that you said that Blogger "lost" something while you were responding. That happened to me a couple of days while responding to one of your postings. Is that just an occassional technical glitch on their part or is it intentional?

6/09/2006 6:25 AM PT  
Comment by: Blogger Daniel Kirkdorffer

Blogger has been having service trouble. I'd written this long rebuttle comment and when I submitted it Blogger popped up a message that said they were experience problems and undergoing maintenance. They've been having trouble all week, which is unfortunate given I'm sure more visitors have wanted to comment on this but haven't been able to because of it.

6/09/2006 7:57 AM PT  
Comment by: Blogger Ian

That would certainly explain why a certain Anonymous poster has not yet managed to tell me to go to hell on one of my comments above!

6/09/2006 9:21 AM PT  
Comment by: Anonymous Anonymous

I do feel for him. But he did join
the military and he was not drafted.
The military is to defend our country. They train to fight and win. However, Bush lied to all of us and even more so he lied to our men and women who serve this great nation. He didn't care one bit about them and what they were going to face. You do not send our men and women in uniform into a battle unless it is just and they are going to win.
Shame on Bush and Shame on Cheney and their Administration for lying to our military and for lying to all of us. They are the ones who should be kicked down the steps of the White House and kicked out of the United States of America.
God Bless our Brave Troops and their families. I will pray for this soldier and all of our brave soldiers. I appreciate them all.

2/24/2008 6:07 PM PT  

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