Tuesday, July 25, 2006

War resister

First Lt. Ehren K. Watada joined the Army after Sept. 11. He was a promising young officer rated among the best by his superiors. Like many young men after Sept. 11, he had volunteered “out of a desire to protect our country,” he said. But now he says he will not serve in Iraq, apparently becoming the first soldier facing the prospect of a court-martial for that decision.
Lieutenant Watada said he also talked to soldiers returning to Fort Lewis from Iraq, including a staff sergeant who told him that he and his men had probably committed war crimes.

“When I learned the awful truth that we had been deceived — I was shocked and disgusted,” he wrote in the letter to his brigade commander.

There were efforts to work things out, Lieutenant Watada said. The Army offered him a staff job in Iraq that would have kept him out of combat; but combat was not the point, he said.

Lieutenant Watada said he had volunteered to serve in Afghanistan, which he regarded as an unambiguous war linked to the Sept. 11 attacks. The request was denied.

The rest of the story is here.