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The Nation on Watada

Watada’s Double Jeopardy

In a video press conference announcing his refusal to deploy to Iraq, Watada noted, “Although I have tried to resign out of protest, I am forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal. 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.”

While evidence of the war’s illegality was barred in Watada’s court-martial, his position is grounded in military law and doctrine. At a National Press Club luncheon February 17, 2006, just a year before Watada’s court-martial, Gen. Peter Pace, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked, “Should people in the US military disobey orders they believe are illegal?”

Pace’s response: “It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral.”

The Army wants to sentence Ehren Watada to six years in the brig for the crime of trying to fulfill that absolute responsibility.

Read entire article.

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