Bob Watada, father of Lt. Ehren Watada, rallies support for his son’s courageous stand at Maui Booksellers, in Wailuku, Maui.
Published on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 by The Nation
Lieutenant Watada’s War Against the War
by Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith
In a remarkable protest from inside the ranks of the military, 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. The 28-year-old announced his decision not to obey orders to deploy to Iraq in a video press conference June 7, saying, “My participation would make me party to war crimes.”
An artillery officer stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, Watada wore a business suit rather than his military uniform when making his statement. “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.”
A native of Hawaii who enlisted in the Army after graduating from college in 2003, Watada differs from other military personnel who have sought conscientious-objector status to avoid deployment to Iraq.
Bob Watada and his wife Rosa (Ehren’s stepmother) both strongly support Ehren in his refusal to participate in the invasion of Iraq.