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The Trials of Ehren Watada

Full story at Common Dreams
First published on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 by The Nation

The Trials of Ehren Watada (excerpt only)
by Jeremy Brecher & Brendan Smith

As Americans are inundated with revelations about the lies, torture and other crimes that accompanied the US-led war in Iraq, many who resisted continue to be punished for refusing to participate in those crimes. First Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned military officer to refuse deployment to Iraq, won a significant legal victory last week when the US Department of Justice dropped efforts to retry him after a bungled court-martial. But his legal problems continue…

In 2006, Watada, an infantry officer based at Fort Lewis, Washington, refused to be deployed to Iraq on grounds that the war was illegal and immoral and that to participate in it would make him complicit in war crimes…

[The article continues with a history and summary of the Army’s charges and trials against Watada, and then…]

These remaining charges accuse Watada of making such “disgraceful statements” as “Bush had planned to invade Iraq before the 9/11 attacks.” Today everyone from the president to the Senate Armed Services Committee down to the lowliest newspaper reader knows about what Watada called the “deception the Bush administration used to initiate and process this war.” If the Army seriously intends to try Watada for saying that the Bush administration lied America into the Iraq war, the Justice Department will have a strong motive to again assert its “leadership position.”

Apparently the Army is considering charging Watada for such statements as a backdoor way to punish him for his refusal to go to Iraq–exactly what it is forbidden to do under the constitutional principle of double jeopardy…

As America debates what to do with its accused war criminals, isn’t it time to exonerate Ehren Watada and all those who those who stood up against their war crimes?

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