Quantcast

OT: Ehren Watada

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
258
Reaction score
0
http://www.thankyoult.org/content/view/1009/29/

N.B.: The above is an editorial.

Thoughts? I figure this is the sort of place I would get a variety of responses.

I personally thing the guy sounds genuine, and as such, deserves my support so long as I agree with his conclusion about the legality of the situation generally. I think he's been scripted a little by his attorney, but getting past that, I can understand his issues. Most compellingly, I can empathize with him that his beef is with the administration, and not the Army.

Anyone else?
 

Ex-44E3A

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2006
Messages
320
Reaction score
0
Dude... you linked to his mother's website (she's some kind of political activist).

I've heard of this guy, and I did a little reading about him. Something about this deal just doesn't pass the smell test. Maybe this makes me a dark and cynical person... but I, for one, can't help but question his motivations.

His dad is a political protestor who refused to serve in Vietnam... he joined the army after the Iraq war had started, and only then started to read and question the "illegality" of that conflict? Really? Only then? After all the hue and cry during the year run-up to the war's initiation??

Nope. I don't buy it. I can't help but wonder if this guy joined the Army to make a political point, maybe even with the expressed purpose of filing this lawsuit.

And totally as an aside, if you sign the paperwork, you need to fulfill your duty.
 

backrow

60% of the time it works everytime
Lifetime Donor
15+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2005
Messages
1,787
Reaction score
404
This guy should be keel hauled.....too bad he's not in the Navy.

As stated above, he signed AFTER we went into Iraq.....sorry, you lose, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

I saw today that his lawyer had tried to plea to 3mos in confinement and dishonorable discharge and it was denied by the judge. That judge just became my hero.
 

DD214_DOC

Full Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2003
Messages
5,783
Reaction score
896
He signed a contract. He got what he deserved. It's really a shame that an officer isn't willing to put his butt on the line with his enlisted men.
 

colbgw02

Delightfully Tacky
15+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
4,498
Reaction score
2,802
This guy gets a lot of press (and high praise) where I live. He gets treated like a hero, when in reality it's the people who actually deploy who should be getting the praise.

Not only has this guy refused to deploy, but he's turned this whole process into a political spectacle. The count of conduct unbecoming an officer was added after he started making public speeches about his situation.

Lost in all of this is the real point: the military must obey the civilian leadership. Period. If we (the military) are allowed to say that a war is illegal and refuse to fight, then we're also allowed to say that a war is legal and fight one irrespective of what the civilian leaders say.

This guy thinks he's standing up for democracy, when all he's really doing is undermining it. He deserves every second of jail time he gets.
 

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
258
Reaction score
0
Dude... you linked to his mother's website (she's some kind of political activist).

I've heard of this guy, and I did a little reading about him. Something about this deal just doesn't pass the smell test. Maybe this makes me a dark and cynical person... but I, for one, can't help but question his motivations.

His dad is a political protestor who refused to serve in Vietnam... he joined the army after the Iraq war had started, and only then started to read and question the "illegality" of that conflict? Really? Only then? After all the hue and cry during the year run-up to the war's initiation??

Nope. I don't buy it. I can't help but wonder if this guy joined the Army to make a political point, maybe even with the expressed purpose of filing this lawsuit.

And totally as an aside, if you sign the paperwork, you need to fulfill your duty.

Well, unless she fabricated the story attributed to the LA Times, think of it as a colorful frame to a news item. Honestly, it was simply that she'd aggregated a few news outlets in one place. :)

The timing does make it look like he was either delusionally misguided in signing up, or harbored ulterior motives.

However, let me play devil's advocate here. So he signed a contract: what does that entitle the military to? There were a lot of folks sitting in a box in Nuremburg who were following illegal orders. Say the timing was different, that he'd signed up before 2002? Would that make his behavior more credible?

I, for one, admire the stance, if not the man. The circumstances seem all together too perfectly cooked, but does it really matter who says something that makes sense? That the judge has precluded his right to make the argument is a disappointment.

He is, above his military duties, his duty to his enlisted guys, a citizen first, isn't he? And isn't the highest obligation to do right? It's seems like military types are all too quick to excoriate this guy. Why?

I'm conflicted about this case specifically, but I'm not about his message. Obviously, I think the war is a crock, but at least he's not a lemming that's going to follow blindly our leadership over the buffalo jump. I think this discourse is, at a very minimum, important.
 

TX_NFS

Steel melanoleuca
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
2+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
241
Reaction score
0
From what I read briefly before, it seems that he did not request for / want conscientious objector status. With that nugget of info, and coupled with his family's history, it is hard not to see something else going on here other than his individual beliefs. As y'all have said, the timing is somewhat suspect. Then again, it could just be a reflection of the public's viewpoint at large- he waited, with the rest of us, until there was evidence that our initial reason(s) to go to war was not as solid as first thought.
 

resxn

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2006
Messages
912
Reaction score
26
He joined to serve. By refusing to serve, he's betraying the trust placed in him by our nation.

It's not up to him to choose how to serve, it's up to the people of this nation to do so. Obviously, there is a dissenting voice in this country, but it is not yet strong enough to create a referendum to abandon Iraq. Perhaps that will happen, but his job is to serve however the people demand. Right now, for better or worse, he is to serve in Iraq.

If he disobeys, he should be attacked with the full force of the UCMJ.

Also, I 100% believe that he is using the term "criminal" not without careful thought; he or his lawyer devised that to be his best option to get out. In other words, they were thinking that it is justifiable for an officer to refuse an "illegal" order. Calling the war "criminal" or "illegal" albeit clever, was inefficacious. The judge just through out of court his ability to use that argument.
 

R-Me-Doc

Now an X-R-Me-Doc
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2003
Messages
330
Reaction score
1
Interestingly, he said he'd willingly serve in Afghanistan, so I don't think this is a case of total cowardice.

Now obviously, we all know that you go where the Army says, not where you want. And I don't think we can let people pick and choose their individual battles once they are in uniform. But still, I think this case highlights something that many, many people in this country have long realized: that Afghanistan was/is justifiable d/t their harboring terrorists, while the Iraq invasion never had any shred of credibility as a real focus in the "war on terror."

X-RMD
 

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
258
Reaction score
0
He joined to serve. By refusing to serve, he's betraying the trust placed in him by our nation.

It's not up to him to choose how to serve, it's up to the people of this nation to do so. Obviously, there is a dissenting voice in this country, but it is not yet strong enough to create a referendum to abandon Iraq. Perhaps that will happen, but his job is to serve however the people demand. Right now, for better or worse, he is to serve in Iraq.

If he disobeys, he should be attacked with the full force of the UCMJ.

Also, I 100% believe that he is using the term "criminal" not without careful thought; he or his lawyer devised that to be his best option to get out. In other words, they were thinking that it is justifiable for an officer to refuse an "illegal" order. Calling the war "criminal" or "illegal" albeit clever, was inefficacious. The judge just through out of court his ability to use that argument.
But again, isn't this the worst of groupthink at work here? At what point is his personal morality allowed to come into play? Is there some sort of Mendoza line when it comes to what the will of the people is? If he well and truly believes what he says (and as noted elsewhere here, he seems genuine enough in his desire to serve, just not in this specific arena), when does he owe himself a duty to question his leadership?

Obviously, there is a point where one would have a duty to reject an order out of hand because carrying it out would be illegal: killing civilians, torturing POWs, etc. In his own histrionic way, he's doing the same thing. I guess I'm wondering at what point he would be "allowed" to reject an order he believes to be in the same vein.
 

Ex-44E3A

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2006
Messages
320
Reaction score
0
Was that an ends-justifies-the-means argument you just made, West Side? Are you OK with an attorney lying under oath or fabricating evidence to get a client off, if he's convinced his client is innocent?

Personally, I don't have much respect for the young LT... but that goes for pretty much any oath-breaker. This whole thing smells like a political operation from the very beginning. If that's the case, it makes the young LT anything but a noble, conflicted dissenter. It instead makes him a cynical, manipulative, and dishonest political operative, who donned a uniform he had no intention of wearing, and stepped into a role he had no intention of filling.

If this was all a setup, then the young LT is a liar. He entered with service with mental reservation AND purpose of evasion. He is not "well and faithfully" discharging the duties of the office he was to enter. If, however, he went into the service honestly and is just trying to save his own skin from the combat zone, then he's a stone-cold coward, and all this political posturing should earn him nothing but scorn, and a prison cell.

I'm sorry, but I don't believe that mendaciously pledging allegiance is OK, particularly to a venerated, honorable institution like the military. Then to do so with the intention of undermining it from within as some kind of political agent provocateur? Nope... flag on the play. Neither should we regard lying, dishonesty, and filing lawsuits as appropriate tactics to express opposition to the war. There is plenty of room to disagree on what's happened during OIF without all that crap. The whole "greater truths" argument smacks of rationalization, and a mighty thin one.

It may be that I'm misreading the young LTs intentions, and judging him too harshly, but a decade in the ER has honed my cynicism to a razor-edge, and I just don't buy it.
 

orbitsurgMD

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
2,121
Reaction score
210
He joined to serve. By refusing to serve, he's betraying the trust placed in him by our nation.

It's not up to him to choose how to serve, it's up to the people of this nation to do so. Obviously, there is a dissenting voice in this country, but it is not yet strong enough to create a referendum to abandon Iraq. Perhaps that will happen, but his job is to serve however the people demand. Right now, for better or worse, he is to serve in Iraq.

If he disobeys, he should be attacked with the full force of the UCMJ.

Also, I 100% believe that he is using the term "criminal" not without careful thought; he or his lawyer devised that to be his best option to get out. In other words, they were thinking that it is justifiable for an officer to refuse an "illegal" order. Calling the war "criminal" or "illegal" albeit clever, was inefficacious. The judge just through out of court his ability to use that argument.

[Bolds mine.]

I think that is the center of his argument. If you believe that he is obligated to obey any order and should be prosecuted if he does not, then that stands the obligations vis a vis laws of war and the obligation to disobey unlawful orders on its head. Calling an order "lawful" does not make it so. Disobeying an order as "unlawful" invites prosecution and hopefully due process (and lets not be hypocritical here, the U.S. was willing to hang those who committed acts of war that were policy in Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan who, if they had disobeyed their "orders" would have invited a bullet sooner.) Those here who think he should be summarily punished because he "signed a contract" or some other tripe must think that being a contract hire is a blanket excuse for doing whatever you are ordered without consequence.

What is embarrassing for the military is that they cannot sweep this controversy under the rug and they cannot control the information about the case the way they would like. Moreover, the event out of which the case arises, the war in Iraq, appears to ever larger numbers of Americans to be a war incited by our country using the flimsiest of justifications and for the dubious purpose of securing compliance with U.N. declarations, an organization whose declarations the U.S. feels entitled to condemn and ignore at other times when it sees convenient. The officer being charged is questioning the legality of policies set by the President and his administration. In the face of a conflict now broadly thought to be poorly-conceived and even more poorly executed (and not just by a fringe of left-thinking noisemakers, as the administration and military leadership would want you to think) the question of the legality of the campaign in Iraq rises to the place where it came forward--the White House itself. They should worry.
 

Ex-44E3A

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2006
Messages
320
Reaction score
0
for the dubious purpose of securing compliance with U.N. declarations, an organization whose declarations the U.S. feels entitled to condemn and ignore at other times when it sees convenient.

You aren't seriously advancing the UN as a font of virtue and the final arbiter of US policy, are you?

I would never subordinate US national will to the whim of the UN... in my humble, slightly-jingoist opinion, that's complete foaming-at-the-mouth madness; at least with the US congress I can vote my own congressman out of office. Besides, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more useless and ruthlessly corrupt organization than the UN. They don't have America's national interest at heart, and any organization who puts the Sudan on their human right committee should be laughed off the world stage.

If you believe that he is obligated to obey any order and should be prosecuted if he does not

Any order? I don't think anybody has argued that... certainly nobody who has been through Officer Training would argue such a thing.

Those here who think he should be summarily punished because he "signed a contract" or some other tripe must think that being a contract hire is a blanket excuse for doing whatever you are ordered without consequence.

Tripe? Excuse me... what? Where did anyone advocate that?
 

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
258
Reaction score
0
This whole thing smells like a political operation from the very beginning. If that's the case, it makes the young LT anything but a noble, conflicted dissenter. It instead makes him a cynical, manipulative, and dishonest political operative, who donned a uniform he had no intention of wearing, and stepped into a role he had no intention of filling.

If this was all a setup, then the young LT is a liar. He entered with service with mental reservation AND purpose of evasion. He is not "well and faithfully" discharging the duties of the office he was to enter. If, however, he went into the service honestly and is just trying to save his own skin from the combat zone, then he's a stone-cold coward, and all this political posturing should earn him nothing but scorn, and a prison cell.
Well, hold on here. I'll agree with the foregoing. But you never addressed his situation at his word, you simply dismissed his stated motives as unbelievable. Well, take his stance on its face. Then what?

obitsurg elucidated what I was trying to say far better than I could. Far be it from me to make an ends-justify-the-means argument, I'm simply saying every serviceperson has the right and obligation to question and think about every order they receive for reasonableness and as a check against their own morality, precisely because they act on behalf of the rest of us. I would hope you're not advocating an army of drones, incapable of telling right from wrong?
 

Ex-44E3A

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2006
Messages
320
Reaction score
0
I'm simply saying every serviceperson has the right and obligation to question and think about every order they receive for reasonableness and as a check against their own morality, precisely because they act on behalf of the rest of us.

Agreed. Every officer has the responsibility to evaluate their orders. Part of your authority as an officer comes from your moral authority, and an officer absolutely has a responsibility to question immoral or illegal orders.

Incidently, it DOES happen. I saw unethical/immoral orders given while I was on active duty, and the objects of those orders called bullsh*t (as they should have). You have to be very careful when you do so, but you should do so... just be prepared to be severely questioned and/or raked over the coals if your case is anything less than compelling.

I'll say it more clearly: if you refuse an order out of simple self-interest or for some hidden agenda, prepare to go down in flames... the military takes a very dim view of that sort of thing.

I would hope you're not advocating an army of drones, incapable of telling right from wrong?

Never.
 

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
258
Reaction score
0
The count of conduct unbecoming an officer was added after he started making public speeches about his situation.
I think this was the other element of this whole thing that rankled me, no matter the circumstances. Suddenly contributing to the national dialogue is unbecoming of an officer? That's a sad state of affairs...
 

resxn

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2006
Messages
912
Reaction score
26
The question of whether it is a lawful order or not should be considered by him as it should all responsible military personnel. However, once an impartial judiciary body (here trusting in the appropriate decision of a judge) decides that this oder cannot be considered unlawful, he has no base for refusal other than his personal objection to the order itself.

I do not have a problem with someone questioning authority. Heck, I do it daily in my clinic when I'm told I have to do some stupid thing.

But, he has no base. The order to serve in Iraq is not unlawful. Is the war itself unlawful? That question cannot be answered constitutionally. Therefore the whole rationale for his argument is moot.

My objection to his position is failure to comply with a lawful order. Sorry he disagrees. But if I work at Dunkin' Donuts and my boss (the corporation, not some local boss) says to add more sugar to the batter because those donuts sell better, but I don't want to because I think that much sugar is not good for people, I may very well get fired. If I do, could I sue? Sure as hell can. Will I win, not very likely. The corporation already has FDA approval to sell what they sell before it hits the shelves. The military (the corporation) already has authorization to be in Iraq (Pres and at least thus far Congress). So can he object? Sure. Can he win? Not likely. If he doesn't and continues to disobey a lawful order he should be prosecuted to the full extend of UCMJ. I stand by that statement.
 

resxn

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2006
Messages
912
Reaction score
26
I think this was the other element of this whole thing that rankled me, no matter the circumstances. Suddenly contributing to the national dialogue is unbecoming of an officer? That's a sad state of affairs...

You would just as soon be nailed by the company you work for if you were out on the street shouting about how bad your company was, how they were breaking the law, and doing something morally/ethically inappropriate.

Probably wouldn't keep your job that long.

Look the guy gets the boot. So he gets a dishonorable d/c. Big deal. If he is with the majority, he's a hero, and it won't hurt his ability to find a job. A risk of taking a stand is that you polarize people either with or against you. If he's in the minority, then yes, he'll be hurting. He chose that risk. He's still subject to the logical conclusion of his decision.
 

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
258
Reaction score
0
You would just as soon be nailed by the company you work for if you were out on the street shouting about how bad your company was, how they were breaking the law, and doing something morally/ethically inappropriate.

Probably wouldn't keep your job that long.

Look the guy gets the boot. So he gets a dishonorable d/c. Big deal. If he is with the majority, he's a hero, and it won't hurt his ability to find a job. A risk of taking a stand is that you polarize people either with or against you. If he's in the minority, then yes, he'll be hurting. He chose that risk. He's still subject to the logical conclusion of his decision.

Ah ha, but if I was doing so, I would probably submit my resignation first. Which is exactly what this kid did. They didn't accept. The military CHOSE to retain this malcontent. What did they expect?!

I don't think the comparison to a private enterprise is appropos, because if I do something they don't like, they can turf my ass. Here, he's facing physical confinement. It's an apples to oranges comparison.
 

Ex-44E3A

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2006
Messages
320
Reaction score
0
I would probably submit my resignation first. Which is exactly what this kid did. They didn't accept.

He went through the process for the sake of some additional window-dressing. He knew before he submitted his resignation that they wouldn't accept it, because he hadn't completed his term of service.

The military CHOSE to retain this malcontent. What did they expect?!

They expected him to live up to his end of the contract. He failed to do so, and the military responded as they always have (no surprise). Watada then chose to add contemptuous statements and conduct unbecoming on top of it. He forgot, or deliberately ignored, the First Rule of Holes: when you find yourself in one, stop digging!

It's why I think this whole thing is manufactured. He's pushed this thing as some kind of earnest, patriotic, wide-eyed-innocent from the start, but everything has played out just like he must have known it would. Watada continues to say/do things that exacerbate his personal situation, but that play well with his supporters. Press conferences, websites, cross-country tours by his parents, and public appearances, immediate affiliation with anti-war groups, big-name attorneys (Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, has also represented Leonard Peltier, right along with Ramsay Clark)

This whole thing reads like a made-for-media event.
 

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
258
Reaction score
0
He went through the process for the sake of some additional window-dressing. He knew before he submitted his resignation that they wouldn't accept it, because he hadn't completed his term of service.



They expected him to live up to his end of the contract. He failed to do so, and the military responded as they always have (no surprise). Watada then chose to add contemptuous statements and conduct unbecoming on top of it. He forgot, or deliberately ignored, the First Rule of Holes: when you find yourself in one, stop digging!

It's why I think this whole thing is manufactured. He's pushed this thing as some kind of earnest, patriotic, wide-eyed-innocent from the start, but everything has played out just like he must have known it would. Watada continues to say/do things that exacerbate his personal situation, but that play well with his supporters. Press conferences, websites, cross-country tours by his parents, and public appearances, immediate affiliation with anti-war groups, big-name attorneys (Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, has also represented Leonard Peltier, right along with Ramsay Clark)

This whole thing reads like a made-for-media event.
So let me get what you're saying straight. He was able to accurately foretell how badly a two trillion dollar war was going to be, managed to time public sentiment perfectly, and manipulated the military as a patsy, thanks to his evil genius? Yet somehow couldn't build in the part where he doesn't face 4 years incarcerated?

I think you're giving him a little too much credit. Just a skotch.

Occam's Razor, sir.
 

resxn

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2006
Messages
912
Reaction score
26
So let me get what you're saying straight. He was able to accurately foretell how badly a two trillion dollar war was going to be, managed to time public sentiment perfectly, and manipulated the military as a patsy, thanks to his evil genius? Yet somehow couldn't build in the part where he doesn't face 4 years incarcerated?

I think you're giving him a little too much credit. Just a skotch.

Occam's Razor, sir.

So what is ok for this guy? And in that case, what's acceptable behavior for someone who signed on to serve, protect, and defend the constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic and doesn't want to do it in the manner he's told?

Should he be simply dismissed from duty? What then for all those currently serving who don't want to go to Iraq, but would go to S. Korea?

I think we all can say he signed knowing he couldn't simply back out if he didn't like what his legal orders were. (I think comparing this to your fiance's situation is indeed an apple to oranges analogy and therefore shouldn't be used in this instance).

So let's take him at face value. He joins wanting to serve, but then decides that he does not want to serve because he doesn't believe in the cause.

Should he be released from duty? Should those in the middle of the desert right now be released and sent home if they decide they no longer agree with the cause? What are the consquences of that action?

I hate AF medicine. I hate the manner in which I'm told to practice medicine. I think the bullcrap which I deal with on a daily basis is ridiculous. I don't agree with the direction this ship is heading. I disagreee with the way it's heading there. I disagree with quite a bit of it, but I don't feel I have a right to say, "not gonna do it." I'll finish the commitment I made, suffer along the way, warn others of making the same mistake, and learn and grow. I won't abandon my patients. I won't abandon my duty.

Why should he be able to? Just because more people are aware of the catastrophe that is Iraq than they are of the catastrophe that is military medicine?

I find it hard to believe that people honestly think it would be ok to voluntarily join the military ad lib and then leave ad lib as well. If we want a national crisis and an impotent defense, that would be a sure way to make it happen.
 

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
258
Reaction score
0
I hate AF medicine. I hate the manner in which I'm told to practice medicine. I think the bullcrap which I deal with on a daily basis is ridiculous. I don't agree with the direction this ship is heading. I disagreee with the way it's heading there. I disagree with quite a bit of it, but I don't feel I have a right to say, "not gonna do it." I'll finish the commitment I made, suffer along the way, warn others of making the same mistake, and learn and grow. I won't abandon my patients. I won't abandon my duty.

Why should he be able to? Just because more people are aware of the catastrophe that is Iraq than they are of the catastrophe that is military medicine?
So your response is, "I'm miserable, so he should be too"?
 

resxn

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2006
Messages
912
Reaction score
26
So your response is, "I'm miserable, so he should be too"?

You failed to respond to the gist of my post which is: what should he be allowed to do? What about those in the desert now who don't agree with the war? Should they be freed to civilian life at their whim too?

Also, please do not patronize me or insult my intelligence. No, my response to him is: Grow up. You made a commitment. Honor it. Don't blow it off just because you don't like it. Don't let down the team because you realized you don't like the way the rules were written before you even joined. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean you quit it especially if you committed to it with your signature. Is there any honor left among people these days?
 

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
258
Reaction score
0
I'm in 100% agreement here. He has obviously orchestrated media events, frequent association with the anti-war groups, and an attorney who is two steps away from being a publicity-hungry ambulance chaser.

What we haven't even mentioned is his father. During the Vietnam Conflict he was a contientuous objector and was very active in the peace movement. So despite growing up with a Pacificist father, this Lt Watada suddenly was struck with a patriotic fervor that caused him become a JO in Army Infantry? And then after being activated, he was suddenly hit with a second crisis of concience that prevented him from deploying to Iraq?

The whole situation is little more than a public relations coup. Everything coming from Lt Watada has been carefully crafted for maximum public palatability, intended to evolke sympathy and "awareness". I feel dirty just listening to these folks talk.
I think you've confounded the meanings of patriotism and obedience. We're playing squarely in the hypothetical here, but why couldn't he have been struck with patriotic fervor, only to learn (as we all did!) that the case for war has been built on mendacity. It seems clear , in terms to the leadup to war, that those are the facts, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum. All you can debate is his reaction to those facts.

...

You know what, it doesn't even matter. Really, who cares WHAT his motives were. Would it have been any less valid had Rosa Parks been part of a civil rights movement (as some have suggested recently)? I'm certainly not comparing this guy to Rosa Parks, nor am I suggesting his critics are racists, but you catch my drift. If the absolute worst is true, doesn't that show he'd willing to wager his own freedom for his principals? That's more than those of us that carp about the direction of this country without doing much, or who adhere to the "pay back and get the hell out" mentality can say, hmm?

Maybe he's just media savvy. More likely, he knows people who are media savvy. The alternative conspiracy theory many of you are subscribing to is pretty far-fetched.
 

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
258
Reaction score
0
You failed to respond to the gist of my post which is: what should he be allowed to do? What about those in the desert now who don't agree with the war? Should they be freed to civilian life at their whim too?

Also, please do not patronize me or insult my intelligence. No, my response to him is: Grow up. You made a commitment. Honor it. Don't blow it off just because you don't like it. Don't let down the team because you realized you don't like the way the rules were written before you even joined. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean you quit it especially if you committed to it with your signature. Is there any honor left among people these days?
And I suppose it all comes down, again, to the bilateral nature of honor. We SHOULD require that service people honor their contracts, SO LONG AS we honor their sacrifice. We should not be throwing them in mortal harm's way on whimsy. You military types put up with a lot of crap that would never fly in the real world, and pretty much all you should ask is that we make wise investments of your time and life. I feel strongly that this country has broken its covenant with the military in this specific respect, and as such, I have less of a problem, I suppose, with how Watada is conducting himself now. He's offered to stand and be counted in a cause (Afghanistan) that we can all agree is just.

I suppose we can continue to bicker about the letter of the law, contract-wise. Yeah, he signed to say he'd eat dog feces if his CO told him to. But it's the spirit of the contract that's being violated here, just as the spirit of medical medicine is counterfeit. You deserve, you owe it to yourselves to question why things aren't better, why you're recklessly wasted as people. You'll never get this time back that you're plowing into the Air Force. He'll never get his time back that he'll (most likely) spend in jail, but I will admire someone that's willing to stake his life on saying something I don't have a pulpit to say. Which is, "this is a waste of American resources, and if me refusing to participate/facilitate is a flashpoint for the end of this, then I'll take my lumps." It takes a grown-ass man to say that, so I see no reason for more "growing up".
 

resxn

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2006
Messages
912
Reaction score
26
Again, West Side, thanks for all the rah-rah "fight the man" propaganda. But please offer a better solution.

If Lt Watada gets a get-out-of-jail-free card, what do we do with all of the others? What about those in Iraq right now? What about those on night shift watching for a nuclear attack at Stratcom?

Extrapolate it to our world. What about the doctor who has patients counting on his care tomorrow? My patients that are awaiting surgery in the morning? I don't want to be here, but I have a duty to perform for those I committed to serve. So does Watada.

I too admire a person who fights for his principles, BUT there are right and wrong ways to go about it. I think Watada chose an inapprorpriate way. If he wins, what are the overall consequences? I think they do far more harm then good.
 

DropkickMurphy

Membership Revoked
Removed
10+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2005
Messages
9,729
Reaction score
25
He signed a contract. He got what he deserved. It's really a shame that an officer isn't willing to put his butt on the line with his enlisted men.
He'd fit right in with a lot of the officers (other than docs) I knew in the Air Force. :laugh:
 

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
258
Reaction score
0
Again, West Side, thanks for all the rah-rah "fight the man" propaganda. But please offer a better solution.

If Lt Watada gets a get-out-of-jail-free card, what do we do with all of the others? What about those in Iraq right now? What about those on night shift watching for a nuclear attack at Stratcom?

Extrapolate it to our world. What about the doctor who has patients counting on his care tomorrow? My patients that are awaiting surgery in the morning? I don't want to be here, but I have a duty to perform for those I committed to serve. So does Watada.

I too admire a person who fights for his principles, BUT there are right and wrong ways to go about it. I think Watada chose an inapprorpriate way. If he wins, what are the overall consequences? I think they do far more harm then good.
Well, that presumes that military and civilian leadership continue to blither along. Is that not what you, yourself, are trying to effect, a change in the way medicine is conducted?

At that point, it becomes a problem of "flows". Let's say it becomes a jailbreak. There would be a sudden dearth of officers, you assume. They probably wouldn't return until the current state of affairs have changed, and the military would probably have a tough time recruiting fresh meat for the grinder until they shape up.

Seems to me we had a lot less of a problem getting people to sign on when we were fighting for causes we all believed in. I submit you probably didn't have this sort of problem in Afghanistan, let alone WWII.

The military seems to think it can operate outside the bounds of human nature. Incenting people with something as simple and basic as the ability to feel good about themselves goes a long way.
 

resxn

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2006
Messages
912
Reaction score
26
Well, that presumes that military and civilian leadership continue to blither along. Is that not what you, yourself, are trying to effect, a change in the way medicine is conducted?

At that point, it becomes a problem of "flows". Let's say it becomes a jailbreak. There would be a sudden dearth of officers, you assume. They probably wouldn't return until the current state of affairs have changed, and the military would probably have a tough time recruiting fresh meat for the grinder until they shape up.

And let's assume that happens. Is that ok? Is it safe? Is it right to let those who desire to continue to serve in their capacity, who believe in the cause, to suddenly find themselves at greater risk being abandoned by the very people on whom they were relying?

Seems to me we had a lot less of a problem getting people to sign on when we were fighting for causes we all believed in. I submit you probably didn't have this sort of problem in Afghanistan, let alone WWII.

Sure. You saw a lot more American flags in September 2001 than you do now. Doesn't make it any less appropriate to abandon a commitment.

The military seems to think it can operate outside the bounds of human nature. Incenting people with something as simple and basic as the ability to feel good about themselves goes a long way.

I both agree and disagree with this. I think for any military to be successful it sometimes has to operate outside those bounds. I don't think it's human nature to kill another human (it's the very reason we have a collective conscious telling us it's inappropriate). Yet, war demands it, whether we agree on the reason for the war or not.
 

DropkickMurphy

Membership Revoked
Removed
10+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2005
Messages
9,729
Reaction score
25
I both agree and disagree with this. I think for any military to be successful it sometimes has to operate outside those bounds. I don't think it's human nature to kill another human (it's the very reason we have a collective conscious telling us it's inappropriate). Yet, war demands it, whether we agree on the reason for the war or not.

Well, if you reward them for doing what you ask, then they will do it with less complaining. The military needs to learn to use a little more carrot and a lot less stick.
 

texdrake

Stand-Up Philosopher
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2003
Messages
673
Reaction score
8
Dude... you linked to his mother's website (she's some kind of political activist).

I've heard of this guy, and I did a little reading about him. Something about this deal just doesn't pass the smell test. Maybe this makes me a dark and cynical person... but I, for one, can't help but question his motivations.

His dad is a political protestor who refused to serve in Vietnam... he joined the army after the Iraq war had started, and only then started to read and question the "illegality" of that conflict? Really? Only then? After all the hue and cry during the year run-up to the war's initiation??

Nope. I don't buy it. I can't help but wonder if this guy joined the Army to make a political point, maybe even with the expressed purpose of filing this lawsuit.

And totally as an aside, if you sign the paperwork, you need to fulfill your duty.

Personally I think if he want's out then he should serve some time for breaking his contract (a year?) and then be required to give repayment in full of ALL funds paid to him or any educational benefits he received as well. After all that...I would give him a dishonorable discharge. I bet his tune would change a little if he suddenly had a $200,000 loan to the government, another year in jail, and a dishonorable discharge (which essentially bars him from any veteran benefits and any future job with any form of the federal government.)
 

West Side

Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
258
Reaction score
0
Personally I think if he want's out then he should serve some time for breaking his contract (a year?) and then have the option of further years in prison or repayment in full of ALL funds paid to him or any educational benefits he received as well. After all that...I would give him a dishonorable discharge.
I believe, like HPSP, they can't request the officer pay back, but they could, and should, request payment in full for his schooling.
 

changhe

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2006
Messages
21
Reaction score
0
if he suddenly had a $200,000 loan to the government, another year in jail, and a dishonorable discharge (which essentially bars him from any veteran benefits and any future job with any form of the federal government.)
That's pretty much what he deserves. I hope he gets something similar.
 

orbitsurgMD

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
2,121
Reaction score
210
Personally I think if he want's out then he should serve some time for breaking his contract (a year?) and then be required to give repayment in full of ALL funds paid to him or any educational benefits he received as well. After all that...I would give him a dishonorable discharge. I bet his tune would change a little if he suddenly had a $200,000 loan to the government, another year in jail, and a dishonorable discharge (which essentially bars him from any veteran benefits and any future job with any form of the federal government.)

To make him serve time, they have to convict him of something. Breaking a contract is not a crime. They would have to pursue a civil case against him over monies in dispute. That is why the utter weakness of the Army's position by charging him with "conduct unbecoming" is so ludicrous. He has disobeyed an order on the justification that the order is unlawful, vis "go participate in an unlawful conflict." The defendant missed movement as a result of his refusal to obey the order in dispute. Conduct unbecoming is a transparently weak-kneed attempt to dogpile the charges and squelch the defendant's right to discuss his case and to try to keep the facts away from the media. That is a typical ham-handed bureaucratic use of force. Usually is blows up in the faces of those trying to use it, a lesson seldom learned by the lowbrow commanders and career legal hacks who try to use it. It is particularly offensive to the sensibilities of many Americans who have a more generous sense of entitlement to free speech. And no, the argument that "the military is different" does not sell on this; most people know it is different, but don't agree the military has an unlimited right to be as different as it pleases. Many Americans still expect their military forces to behave as Americans and to broadly respect American values, not just strange distillations of those values.
 

VolatileNavyDoc

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
May 23, 2006
Messages
112
Reaction score
3
[Bolds mine.]

Disobeying an order as "unlawful" invites prosecution and hopefully due process (and lets not be hypocritical here, the U.S. was willing to hang those who committed acts of war that were policy in Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan who, if they had disobeyed their "orders" would have invited a bullet sooner.)

I'm not really a WWII buff, but I didn't think we hung junior infantry officers who fought against our soldiers on the front lines. Also, there were huge protests about the entrance of our forces into the European theater. But people back then had a stronger sense of national pride and duty, so they did what they were asked by their government, and it turned out to be the right thing.

As far as the legality of the order to go to war in Iraq... Historically, it's an interesting dilemma, because military officers (usually higher ranking commanders) can be held accountable for their actions, even when following orders from the president. I think everyone wants us out of this war in Iraq, but nobody knows how to get out of it safely. The solution is not for some cowardly infantry officer to try to weasel out of his obligation by claiming that a declaration of war is illegal. You can argue the finer points of his decision, but I think that the decision to go to war is now a general order, and it's not really up for interpretation by junior officers. I have zero respect for this guy, and I think he is either (a) long entrenched in a media ploy or (b) just scared and I don't believe his claim that he would willingly participate in a war in Afghanistan.

I don't know the details of his "missing movement," but it's important to take into account the ramifications of this. Let's assume he was a platoon leader who had been training with his platoon for a year before deployment. Now that platoon has a new leader who is not familiar with their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities. From his actions, I imagine it was good that he was not with them, but now they are conducting combat operations with a new guy and therefore increasing their risk of harm. If he was an officer worth his salt, he would have deployed with his guys, led them, trained them, and made sure that they did the best and most honorable job possible given the circumstances. Then he would have come back and made his case.

West side, I disagree with your points, but I think that it's difficult for non-military people to really understand what it's like to serve in the military, especially in combat. Very few people ever want go to war, and no platoon leader will ever tell you that an objective is worth losing one of his Marines' lives. It always seems criminal when one of your guys is lost trying to save some dirty middle eastern country from itself, but they still do their best trying to make sure their guys are set up for success. Really, good military leaders don't do what they do for the political objectives of their country. They do it to try to keep the politicians from getting their guys killed. This guy is not of that ilk, and he's a coward. I think the best course of action would have been to get him out of the way as fast as possible and move on. He knew they wouldn't do that though when he made the "unlawful order" claim.
 

backrow

60% of the time it works everytime
Lifetime Donor
15+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2005
Messages
1,787
Reaction score
404
A mistrial has been declared, read a short blurb this morning

It was reported that it was decided he had signed something without the full understanding of the document because it stated that he knew he had a duty to go or something like that.
 

solumanculver

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2005
Messages
364
Reaction score
0
First of all, there is a big difference between a war that is unjust with respect to its political underpinnings and a war that is unjust with respect to the conduct of the soldiers in fighting it. We can question orders that compel us to commit immoral acts in the course of the war, but we can't question the morality of the national policy itself... that would lead to anarchy.

Soldiers have an obligation to go where they're told to go and complete the missions that they're told to complete, regardless of the justification. In the course of completing the mission, however, the role of a commissioned officer as a professional gives him the obligation to use his professional judgment in the details of how he prosecutes it.

I guess that it's kind of like medicine. Physicians have an obligation to treat their patient to the best of their ability regardless of whether he is a criminal or a saint, there is no ethical room for them to do otherwise, but once they commence treatment they have professional discretion to do it however they deem necessary, regardless of what they're told to do by idiots above them...
 
Top