The Traitor Of Seattle
Denied a chance to debate the legality of the Iraq war in court, an Army officer who refused to go to Iraq now goes to trial hoping to at least minimize the amount of time he could serve if convicted.
Anti-war activists consider 1st Lt. Ehren Watada a hero, but the Army accuses him of betraying his fellow soldiers.
The 28-year-old faces four years in prison if convicted on one count of missing movement and two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer for refusing to ship out with his unit, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
Watada has spoken out against U.S. military involvement in Iraq, calling it morally wrong and a breach of American law.
"As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must as an officer of honor and integrity refuse that order," Watada said in a video statement released at a June 7 news conference.
Despite having already been charged, he spoke out again in August, at a Veterans for Peace rally in Seattle.
"Though the American soldier wants to do right, the illegitimacy of the occupation itself, the policies of this administration, and the rules of engagement of desperate field commanders will ultimately force them to be party to war crime," Watada said then.
Watada and his Honolulu attorney, Eric Seitz, contend his comments are protected speech, but Army prosecutors argued his behavior was dangerous to the mission and morale of other soldiers.
"He betrayed his fellow soldiers who are now serving in Iraq," Capt. Dan Kuecker said at one hearing. Kuecker has not commented on the case outside of court.
As our dear Jingo would call him an execrable piece of dog squeeze, I'll refrain... However, I hope this traitorous, cowardly, rat bastard gets court-martialed and spends some serious time in prison. I hate deserters more than almost anything else in the world.
You don't sign up and then say you don't 'prefer' to fight--and then think up some childish, damnably ridiculous reason in order to excuse your own cowardice. A real man most especially does not then blame the whole predicament on the President of the United States! I hope he rots.