Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The first American army officer to face court-martial for refusing to serve in Iraq said yesterday that it was his duty to recognise and refuse "illegal" orders.
Lt Ehren Watada, 28, faces four charges of conduct unbecoming an officer for his refusal to join his unit in Iraq in the summer. Speaking ahead of a pre-trial hearing, the conscientious objector pledged that he would "fight with everything I have for my freedom and that of all Americans. I will face imprisonment to stand up for my beliefs."
If he had gone to Iraq, his service would have been due to end next month. Instead, if convicted, he could face six years in prison.
He claimed that his refusal to follow orders had been justified by "a surge in popular resistance to the war as evidenced by the recent elections" and complained that "the army seems intent on making an example of me".
"No one else is speaking up for the troops dying every day," he said.
The above is from Alex Massie's "It was my duty to refuse to go to Iraq, says first American army officer facing court martial" (Telegraph, United Kingdom) and Gareth e-mailed to note it. In her report Monday night, Ruth wondered, quoting Blondie, "Will Anything Happen?" No, just the same old ignoring of the war resisters within the US military. Ehren Watada held a tele-news conference yesterday morning. There's time, for independent media, to be used as tools by the DLC wing (such as with the attack on Murtha last week). And wasn't that cute the way they dusted off an old Congressional scandal that didn't result in charges against Murtha? They didn't provide you the background on the scandal and the ones involved because that would be too much work. So they just sketched out the bare details. And proceeded to trash one of the people they'd built up. We didn't build him up here. But we don't worship at the feet of the Congress. It was interesting to see the usual 'respectable' indymedia no-stars prove yet again that they've got their own way of doing business. Business that doesn't appear to be either independent or reporting on any level.
Here's something we should demand from those doing those sort of late-breaking-reports/hit jobs -- explain what you're talking about. Did they even know? They may have. They may have realized that to talk about that ages old scandal in any detail would have resulted in people grasping that Murtha wasn't really a player in that -- which was why he wasn't charged. But toss around something that happened before many were adults (and before some were even born) and it's got scandal written all over it.
They proved they still can carry the water pails for the very wing of the Democratic Party they supposedly warn you against. And editors, you have no excuse for running that. Not that you like Murtha, not that it was free speech, not that you don't 'interfere' with one of your writers. It was badly written. You should have told them to walk readers through the actual scandal they were attempting to piggy back on.
So when war resisters still don't get coverage, we should all grasp that there are several agendas at work these days and war resisters just can't compete with all the intrigue it takes for some to try to be 'playa's.
Another thing you didn't hear or read about probably, Leo Shane III's "Appeals court is asked to overturn Army's denial of medic's conscientious objector request" (Stars and Stripes):
Lawyers for Spc. Agustin Aguayo on Tuesday asked a federal appeals panel to overturn both the Army's decision to deny the medic conscientious objector status and a court ruling earlier this year backing the Army’s finding.
Attorney Peter Goldberger said the Army failed to present a clear argument why his client -- a 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment soldier -- didn't qualify for a discharge from the service on a basis of his beliefs, and that it must be held accountable by the civilian courts.
Lawyers for the Army told the appeals court that the reasons were made clear: Aguayo’s anti-war stance was not based on religious tenets or long-held personal beliefs, but instead on a sudden desire not to return to Iraq.
Aguayo, 34, did not attend the hearing in U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C. He is currently in military prison in Schweinfurt, Germany, on charges related to refusing to deploy with his unit in September.
Supporters said Aguayo expected to be jailed for refusing to go to Iraq when he turned himself in to military authorities in Germany two months ago, but instead commanders there said they would simply force him to deploy.
Today, the US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, died of a non-battle injury in Salah ad Din Province Tuesday." Don't expect to read about it indymedia, the soldier probably couldn't have made them a playa so they have no time.
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leo shane iii