Watada ponders the prospect of spending four years in military prison, and he muses on his spiral from exemplary military man to reviled antiwar poster boy.
"Life has been ... " He laughs nervously and shakes his head, searching for words. "A little abnormal."
His living room, like the rest of the apartment complex, feels boxy and new and unmistakably inexpensive -- made for function rather than form. A balcony looks out at a parking lot crowded with pickups and SUVs.
In the middle of the room he stands in stocking feet, wearing baggy fatigues like pajamas, hands on hips. He's deciding where to begin the packing. When all the world seemed chaotic, it made sense to organize. Should he start with his barely mussed chemical suit or his spotless all-weather traction-control camouflage boots?
His smooth brown face is boyish and devoted, like a child inspecting his most precious toys. He's not a small man, but not big either. Certainly not as big as the Rushmore-sized symbol he's become to the antiwar movement, which hails him as nothing less than an American hero.
The above is from Tomas Alex Tizon's "Instead of Iraq, a battle all his own: Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada was called an exemplary soldier. But then he decided to face court-martial rather than join a war he says is illegal" (Los Angeles Times). At 9:00 am today, in Fort Lewis, Washington, the court-martial of Ehren Watada is scheduled to begin.
He won't be able to present a defense. The thing is really just a sentencing thanks to "Judge" Toilet's ruling that effectively gags Ehren Watada -- a free speech issue but none of the Perpetually Useless got too worked up over that, did they? (The Nation which remains ever useless had time to post their Superbowl "thoughts" this weekend. It's called priorities and it's shameful.)
So the court-martial is expected to zip along quickly this morning. The rush to injustice won't be stopped because so few cared to try -- people with platforms who chose not to use them. That's John Nichols, that's Katrina vanden Heuvel, that's The Pooper, that's funny man John Stauber . . . It's a whole lot of people. A whole lot of people who beg you for your money. Who want you to cruise with them this summer or want you to support their work. They've demonstrated they deserve nothing because they've shown they do nothing.
If any of their businesses (and they are businesses, it's not charity) had the reach tomorrow of the New York Times, they've demonstrated it wouldn't matter at all. Nothing would change. You might get a slightly left kind of view, but they wouldn't stand up for anything because they can't now. They want money to build their businesses up, they want money and they tell you that if they get it, it's better for democracy, it's better for the left, it will make a change.
They've demonstrated how ridiculous a lie that is. The Nation was the most widely circulated weekly political magazine. (They're bleeding subscribers currently.) And what did they do with that? They were about as hard hitting as the weekly Us or People.
They had power and they didn't use it, instead they practiced the COWARDS' SILENCE. By their actions -- or in this case, their inaction -- you know where they stand.
With Ehren Watada and every other war resister, they've had somewhere else to be, something else to do. If, as the four year mark of the illegal war approaches, they still can't get their act together, that may explain why they are in independent media.
It's probably not because they care about people -- if they did, they'd have been banging the drums on Watada -- it's because they can't work anywhere else. Who would have them? Who would print their useless crap that reads like audition material for the op-ed pages of the Times?
They've made themselves useless and the next time they're hitting you up for money, you need to remember that.
Ehren Watada's court-martial is today and those who have done nothing have demonstrated that they are the problem.
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tomas alex tizon