Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Army officer won't ship out, faces court martial

Lt. Ehren Watada refused to go to Iraq because he feels that the war is immoral and illegal. In addition, he has spoken out against the war on several occasions: "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." Watada's attorney argued that his speech was protect and that the war violated army regulations which state that wars must adhere to the United Nations charter. However, the military judge rejected both arguments.



thelastCzarnian said...

He deserves to be court-martialed. Soldiers may sign up for whatever reason, but they must know there is a chance they will be sent to fight in a war they disagree with. This might be an issue to debate during the Vietnam War, when the draft was in effect, but the US now has an all volunteer army.

My question for Professor Davis is thus; is the argument of Lt. Watada valid from a legal standpoint? Can a war be judged illegal? Would it be the Supreme Court that would make such a ruling (bypassing the lower courts)? And what would be the endgame (Bush impeached, troop withdrawal ect…)?

This issue reminds me of a historical event. Julius Caesar fought a war in Gaul ignoring the Senate’s wishes, and the war was declared illegal, and this was one of the factors that culminated into the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Empire. Hopefully, the same will not occur here.

B. Dottin said...

I don't believe that he should be court-martialed in this case. He can attest the government under the protection of his first amendment right. Watada can file for conscientious-objector status. The Secretary of Defense does have the ultimate say in whether or not it will be allowed, but the odds are actually with Watada. In the case of Parisi v. Davidson the claim for conscientious objector status was denied simply because the applicant was aware of his beliefs before enlisting. In Watada's case if he enlisted before the war began then his claim would have all the more merit because he enlisted with the intentions to protect and serve the United States. In this war however it is unclear how the United States is in any danger what-so-ever. Therefore, if Watada objects to the war because of his own personal beliefs he should file for conscientious objector status which would then result in a simple discharge on those grounds.

leogold said...

If Watada refused to go to Iraq, then why did he enlist in the army? He knew that the president is increasing the number of troops and that he has a strong chance of being sent to Iraq. If he is enlisted, he can't refuse to go just because he doesn't want to. The constitution doesn't state that a soldier is pardoned from military service if he disagrees with the government's policies. I'm sure that there are many soldiers like him who disagree with the Bush administration's actions in this war. Their personal reasons don't stop them from going, it's their duty to go. It is their responsibility to go, they committed to military service.

Propagandhi said...

The whole thing could be moot if the mistrial issued yesterday brings us to a situtation involving double jeopardy.


Ghazal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

although it doesn't relate to this post, there is a piece on the supreme court on pbs sunday night. could be a good review =p