Monday, November 20, 2006

Ruth's Report

Ruth: Lieutenant Ehren Watada stood up in June, stated his belief that the war was illegal, and that he would not serve in it. In doing that, he became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq.

For much of independent media, Lt. Watada's story has ended there. The August Article 32 hearing should have been a moment where independent media proved what it could do that the mainstream media could not. An Article 32 hearing of an officer refusing to serve in an illegal war would go to the roots of why Pacifica Radio was founded. It should have been a time where the hearing was covered, a time for discussions about service, war and peace. This natural moment to shine, to provide what you would not get from the mainstream that has "balance," or their notion of it, built in, came and went with little attention.

On August 24th when the presiding officer's recommendation of a court-martial was announced, independent media's coverage had not improved. When, Thursday, November 9th, the U.S. military announced their intent to court-martial Lt. Watada one might have thought it was about as significant as former First Lady Nancy Reagan purchasing another red dress. Actually, a purchase by Ms. Reagan might have received more coverage. Today Robert Shikina, of The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, delivered the news that a pretrial hearing was scheduled for January 4, 2007 and a court-martial was scheduled to begin February 5, 2006. There was also news of a "Tele-conference call" scheduled for tomorrow at nine in the morning, Eastern Standard Time,
which, if the military imposes a gag order on Lt. Watada, would be the last opportunity for the press to speak with him until the court-martial concludes.

On the phone before I began this report, C.I. told me that war resister Agustin Aguayo also goes to court tomorrow.

Prior to learning of the news of Spc. Aguayo, a song was going through my head. It was one of those moments where something is just stuck. I could not think of the song, just the beat. I called my oldest son because I knew it was something he played over and over. I verbally thumped out the beat twice and he still had no clue. I reminded him it was an album he had on 8-track and the cover had lines on it.

"Blondie!" he exclaimed.

The album was Parallel Lines, the song was "Will Anything Happen" which, C.I. told me later, was written by Jack Lee. My son was surprised I remembered it and reminded me that I would listen to his 8-track of Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street Band's Darkness on the Edge of Town when I was cleaning. That is true and I had no idea why the Blondie song even half-way popped into my head.

Then I asked him to sing it to me.

You said you'd be through here again
Please don't forget I'm here waiting

You always said that you would never change
Like the people that you've met and the places that you'vebeen
An' if you do, will anything happen?
Will it come true, will anything happen?
Will I see you again?

Tomorrow Lt. Watada makes what could be his last interview with the press and Spc. Aguayo's case is heard in a court.

In terms of independent media, will anything happen?

I think I know why the song stuck in my head now.