Monday, November 20, 2006

Ehren Watada's court-martial set for February 5th (Robert Shikina)

Bob Watada, father of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, said yesterday that his son is speaking out on behalf of other soldiers who oppose an illegal war.
"Ehren is standing up for the soldiers," Watada told an afternoon forum on his son's case by the Japanese American Citizens League's Honolulu chapter. "He's for the soldiers."
Lt. Watada, facing a general court-martial for refusing to deploy to Iraq, has become a voice of conscience for many in the antiwar movement. But opinion among soldiers, veterans and Japanese-Americans is more divided.
The Japanese American Citizens League's Honolulu chapter -- after a close vote -- has chosen to fully support Watada, a 1996 Kalani High School graduate. But the league's national organization has decided not to take a position on his refusal to deploy while expressing concern about his free speech rights.
The forum yesterday, at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, was held to build public awareness and support for Watada's legal fight. His father, his attorney, Eric Seitz, and UH-Manoa constitutional law professor Jon Van Dyke defended Watada's actions as courageous and justified. No one from the Army was invited to present an opposing view.

The above, noted by Joan, is from Derrick DePledge's "Watada 'standing up for soldiers'" (Honolulu Advertiser). That was yesterday and we're not done with news of Ehren Watada. This is from Robert Shikina's "Watada court-martial set for Feb. 5" (Honolulu Star-Bulletin):

Supporters of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to face a general court-martial for refusing to fight in Iraq, were out in force yesterday during a public forum at the University of Hawaii.
Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, told the audience of more than 100 people that Watada's pretrial hearing is set for Jan. 4, with the court-martial beginning Feb. 5.

[. . .]
Carolyn Ho, Watada's mother, said in a letter read to the audience, "For some elected officials to claim that this is beyond their purview and Lt. Watada is courageous but should take the consequences for his decision is an outright evasion of responsibility and lack of moral courage."

Now who could Carolyn Ho be speaking of? One person could be in the Congress, in fact in the Senate. He's someone far too old to be playing coward but he did just that. He's against the war. He thinks it's illegal. He initially made statements in support of Ehren and then his opponent in his re-election bid made something out of it and the 'brave' and elderly senator showed just how ugly cowardice looks in old age.

Having noted cowardice in old age, let's return to the article to prove that doesn't have to be the norm:

John Masunaga, 83, a veteran of the highly decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II, attended the gathering to support Watada.
"Ehren's standing up for something we all should have stood up for," he said, noting the internment of Japanese Americans. "The time World War II started, we were trying to prove ourselves good loyal citizens."
"Sometimes you have to speak up and try to right some of the wrongs," he said.

Turning to this morning's New York Times, from Kirk Semple's "Syrian Foreign Minister, in Baghdad, Calls for Timetable on U.S. Troop Withdrawal:"

Syria's foreign minister said Sunday that his government was prepared to help stabilize Iraq, and during a visit here he called for a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops, saying that it would help reduce the violence. The trip by the minister, Walid al-Moallem, the first to Baghdad by a senior Syrian official since the ouster of Saddam Hussein, came on another day of widespread violence in Iraq. A suicide car bombing killed 17 people and wounded 49 in the southern Shiite city of Hilla, and the deputy health minister was kidnapped from his home in the capital.
In recent weeks, Iraqi and some Western officials have promoted the idea of actively involving Iraq’s neighbors, especially Syria and Iran, in the search for a solution to the soaring sectarian violence in Iraq.

Among those "Western officials" calling for that are Tony Blair.

And looking at the e-mails this morning a number wonder if they missed "And the war drags on . . ."? No. My apologies. When we finished at The Third Estate Sunday Review (two-thirty in the afternoon? three?), I was asleep shortly afterway. I just woke up. (I booted up the computer and hopped in the shower then started this entry.) Again, my apologies. It wasn't planned. That'll happen sometimes as a result of all night sessions. New content at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Editorial: Signs of activism life on campuses
TV: Day Break
Justice for Abeer and her family?
Music retrospective: Stevie Nicks
Mommy's Pantyhose wants to be a tough boy
Judith Regan: Trash merchant (still!)
Happy Birthday
Playlist this edition
Where's the content!

There's no "note." The plan was to do that last night. Obviously everyone was tired. (The only ones I've seen awake this morning are Ty and Dona -- both guzzling coffee in the kitchen.)

Returning to more news on Iraq ("bad" is redundnat), the War Hawk Kissinger is offering his take. From the AP's "Kissinger Foresees No Military Win in Iraq" (via Washington Post):

Military victory is no longer possible in Iraq, former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger told the British Broadcasting Corp. on Sunday.
Kissinger presented a bleak vision, saying the U.S. government must enter into dialogue with Iraq's neighbors -- including Iran -- if progress is to be made.

"If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he said.

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