Saturday, October 03, 2009

Ehren Watada

Ehren Watada was discharged from the military yesterday. Scott Fontaine (The News Tribune) reports:

Watada, through his lawyer, declined all requests for interviews and public appearances. Kagan said his client doesn't fear retribution from the Army and made no agreements to stay silent, but after three years of national attention, he "wants to reclaim his privacy and anonymity."
"I know it will be disappointing to supporters and media representatives," Kagan wrote in an e-mail, "but he no longer wishes to be a 'story'."
Kagan added that Watada's actions and beliefs are well-known at this point, and his client has nothing to add.
Watada, a 31-year-old Hawaii native, plans to attend law school. Kagan added that his client wanted to thank his supporters and acknowledges not everyone agrees with his actions.

ehren watada
1st Lt Ehren Watada was the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq stating that it was an illegal and immoral war. In "Anti-war activists look at other cases," Fontaine examines reaction to Ehren's victory:

"We're very happy for Ehren," said Seth Manzel, an Iraq veteran who runs the antiwar Coffee Strong café in Lakewood. "We think this is proof that people can follow their conscience and not be punished for it."
Watada became a hero for many who disagreed with the war in Iraq. Rallies and vigils near the gates of Fort Lewis to support the officer drew hundreds, including Hollywood actor Sean Penn. Protesters at other anti-war rallies over the past few years sometimes held banner-sized photos of Watada.
The nonprofit group Iraq Veterans Against the War has consistently supported Watada, and an article prominently displayed on the organization's Web page speaks of his "exemplary moral courage."

Yesterday's snapshot critiqued Free Speech Radio News' embarrassing coverage. 3 visitors e-mailing the public account are confused.

So let's walk through slowly. If Friday's Democracy Now! had included the same headline by Amy Goodman, it would have been accurate. That's because regardless of when you catch Democracy Now! (if you do), Goodman broadcasts that live in the morning (7:00 a.m. EST). Friday morning, Ehren Watada was not discharged. Friday morning at seven a.m., he was scheduled to be discharged. FSRN airs at various times but airs first on KPFA in the afternoon. It airs on KPFA at 3:30 p.m. . . . in the Bay Area. That's Pacific. EST? 6:30 p.m.

A program airing at six thirty p.m. EST? It has no excuse for saying that Ehren Watada was scheduled to be discharged that day. At 6:30 pm, "that day" is over.

I called Fort Lewis' Public Affairs office a few minutes before 4:00 pm EST because our last speaking thing on Iraq started at four p.m. That was 3:00 pm. Central, 1:00 p.m. Pacific. I was told that his papers had been processed and he was discharged.

I made the call because there was no way we could have a Friday snapshot without mentioning Ehren on the day he was due to be discharged and, due to his historic fight and the fact that we were going into the weekend, "scheduled to be discharged" wasn't going to cut it for my standards for the Iraq snapshots. Now for news standards, it certainly wasn't going to cut it. But we're not news here. Due to the failure of the press, we are reporting many things here but that's not what I set out to do or intended.

I did know that when we finished at six p.m. EST, it might be difficult to get an answer from the Public Affairs office (which would still be open due to the time change) because many news outlets might be seeking comments. I also knew I had to finish the snapshot. (All but the Ehren section was dictated prior to 4:00 pm. EST.) And didn't have a great deal of time.

So after we finished speaking, we headed to the airport. I was holding Rebecca's baby as we were walking to the plane (her husband's plane) and dictating the snapshot. There's a portion that will be picked up on Monday because a link was supposed to have been inserted but it wasn't or the link didn't work. That happens. It's no biggie. And I appreciate the three friends who type up those snapshots.

But there was no excuse for a Friday afternoon and evening radio program to state Ehren was scheduled to be discharged. You can say that in the morning. At the end of the day, you need to know what happened and, more importantly, your audience needs to know.

Last week they had plenty of time to report on a Glenn Beck party. That was stupid and that was disgraceful. And I do agree with everything Elaine wrote on that earlier this week including that those 'protestors'? They should be ashamed of themselves. This was a local story first of all. No place on any national radar. Second of all, it was a 'hometown kid makes good.' It had nothing to do with politics -- other than the politics of money -- and it was really tacky that people would show up to protest that. Whether it's Glenn Beck or Ida NeverHeardOfHer, when someone gets a hometown honor, that's really nothing to protest. That's really sad that some people feel the need to protest that. Same people who, of course, never protest Barack's continued Iraq War. Those demonstrators? All they demonstrated was bad manners.

Glenn Beck's a TV personality. The left continues to give him far more power than he has. The reason for that is their own unhappiness with the current administration which requires that they invent scary boogey men to run from instead of facing the reality of what's coming out of the White House: No change.

Glenn Beck's not the issue, Glenn Beck was never the issue. But by making him the issue, we aren't supposed to have time to notice every broken promise from Barack Obama.

It's a distraction and those participating in that so-called 'protest' showed bad manners and ignorance.

And for those who don't listen to FSRN and are lost in the illustration, NBC's Today could have said Friday morning that Ehren was scheduled to be discharged Friday and that wouldn't have been a problem. But when the evening news rolled around, had Brian Williams said Ehren was scheduled to be discharged, it would have been wrong. Ehren had been discharged.

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