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Watada discharged

Post by Scott Fontaine on Oct. 2, 2009 at 1:49 pm with 25 Comments »
October 2, 2009 1:49 pm
Lt. Ehren Watada, left.

The Army discharged Lt. Ehren Watada on Friday, writing the final chapter on the case of the most prominent military officer to refuse a deployment to Iraq.

Fort Lewis spokesman Joseph Piek confirmed that Watada, who had refused to deploy to Iraq in 2006 with his Stryker brigade because he believed the war was illegal, finished outprocessing shortly before noon Friday.

The Department of Justice dropped an appeal in May against a judge’s dismiss key charges against the lieutenant, effectively leading to Friday’s dismissal. Watada submitted a resignation request “for the good of the service in lieu of general court martial” at the end of June, Piek said.

The Department of the Army approved that request in September, and the remaining pending charges against Watada were dismissed late last week.

Piek couldn’t confirm the type of discharge, citing privacy laws, but Watada lawyer Kenneth Kagan said it was granted under “other than honorable conditions.”

Watada, through his lawyer, declined all requests for interviews and public appearances. Kagan said his client doesn’t fear retribution from the Army and made no agreements to stay silent, but after three years of national attention, he “wants to reclaim his privacy and anonymity.”

“I know it will be disappointing to supporters and media representatives,” Kagan wrote in an e-mail, “but he no longer wishes to be a ‘story.'”

Kagan added that Watada’s actions and beliefs are well-known at this point, and his client has nothing to add.

Watada, a 31-year-old Hawaii native, plans to attend law school. Kagan added that his client wanted to thank his supporters and acknowledges not everyone agrees with his actions.

“He understands, too, that there are multitudes of vociferous detractors, and he realizes that nothing he says or does will change some people’s minds,” Kagain wrote.

Watada grabbed national attention in 2006 when he refused to deploy to Iraq with Fort Lewis’ 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. He believed the war was illegal and that participation in it would make him a party to war crimes.

He was charged with missing movement and engaging in conduct unbecoming an officer, the latter charge for denouncing President George W. Bush and the war in statements to the media. He faced up to six years in prison and a dishonorable discharge.

The charges against Watada languished in the military and federal court system for more than three years.

The breaking point of the Army’s case came in October 2008, when U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle ruled the government could not retry Watada because doing so would violate his constitutional protection against double jeopardy.

The Department of Justice eventually dropped its appeal against the lieutenant in May, but Watada remained in legal limbo. Two charges of conduct unbecoming an officer weren’t part of the legal dispute upon which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, and the I Corps leadership at Fort Lewis had been examining its options, which included a court-martial or non-judicial punishment.

Watada, meanwhile, had been assigned as an operations officer with the I Corps Special Troops Battalion. The 3rd Brigade has since completed a 15-month tour to Iraq and returned this summer for a yearlong deployment.

His first court-martial was ruled a mistrial. At issue was a “stipulation of facts” statement Watada signed before the court-martial. In it, he admitted to missing his flight to Mosul, Iraq, and to making public statements critical of the war.

The stipulation, an agreement between Watada and prosecutors, meant the two sides didn’t need to argue over the facts, but only whether they constituted violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The facts in the stipulation became evidence that could be used against him, and judge Lt. Col. John Head threw out the case over concerns Watada didn’t understand what he was agreeing to when he signed the document.

Head worried that an instruction proposed by Watada’s lawyer – that the lieutenant had a legal defense for missing the plane to Iraq – was inconsistent with the facts listed in the stipulation.

The Army refiled the charges and convened a second court-martial in July 2007, but the federal courts issued an emergency stay and halted the trial.

Leave a comment Comments → 25
  1. uptodate says:

    What a pile of cr…

  2. He should have to pay us taxpayer back for all his room and board allowances. and all the legal. He knew what the job entailed when he signed up and he took advantage of us. What a coward he is to turn his back on his men like that. Maybe he didn’t have a father to show him how to be a real man. Sick and sad!

  3. scott0962 says:

    If Watada had qualms about the legality of the war the honorable course of action would have been to resign his commission at which point he would have been free to go anywhere and say anything he liked. A military officer isn’t just hired for a job, they take an oath that imposes certain obligations of service and conduct upon them. Watada deliberately broke that oath in a fashion calculated to undermine his fellow soldiers and embarass the military. To this veteran his actions were despicable and he is beneath contempt.

  4. Palin2012 says:

    Thank you Lt. Ehren Watada for declaring that the preemptive war on Iraq was illegal and for sacrificing everything so you could stand true to your morals and values. It was very courageous of you to stand up to radicals that would call you unpatriotic because you choose to fight an unjust war. I commend you for a job well done and for serving our country.

    God Bless

  5. Jupiter25 says:

    He is a coward and should have served hard prison time. I don’t know why the Army didn’t handle his prosecution better. Instead, he got off on a technicality. For him to have drawn full pay and allowances for the last three years is a travesty and a slap in the face to all who serve honorably. (From an Army retiree with 22 years service).

  6. imaginetr says:

    I too did not support Bush’s war in Iraq. But I also did not support Watada’s actions. I think he had some ulterior motives (publicity, adoration, celebrity) and then found himself ‘stuck’ between a rock and a hard place. He said he is not opposed to all wars as a matter of principle. But I think that was an attempt to avoid the “coward” label. So, consider him a minor footnote in history that he will have to deal with during his lifetime.

  7. madmike272 says:

    Let us keep a close eye on this traitor! If any company hires him, a boycott is in order!

  8. The only ones that WILL burn in hell are the Butcher Bush and all his corrupt and immoral croonies. POS all of them.

  9. hellomouthbreathers says:

    Rotting in hell? Boycotting businesses? Wow, real level thinking there. Just keep hunting for those that disobey massa, I am sure you’ll catch them all. As for someone calling him a coward, umm, get your round-mound of rear-flesh in gear, pick up a gun, and get over to the war, otherwise, you’re an even bigger coward. What a load of mouthbreathers…

  10. donny253 says:

    He should have been at the working end of a ROPE! When did we go soft? Read what he ready did?

  11. evergreenmom says:

    I’m glad he is finally out of the Army. He is such a disgrace to the uniform and all those that wear it. I would be so ashamed to have him for a son.

  12. ashleyrose says:

    Ugh. This makes me sick. I hope he feels good inside knowing that so many of his soldiers are dying over them for his freedom. What a coward.

    Ps. Love the Olympia comment, considering it’s my hometown ;) haha

  13. stuffysmith says:

    “So, consider him a minor footnote in history that he will have to deal with during his lifetime.”

    He already has one minor “footnote” –

    1. watada 2 thumbs up love it hate it

    “watada”- (wah-ta-dah)
    1. to pose as something you are not

    2. to take tax money freely under contract with the intent of not following the most important terms of said contract

    3. to take an oath and betray it

    4. to bite the hand that feeds you

    5. to pee your pants and scream “mommy!” when the chips are down

  14. knowumsayin says:


  15. knowumsayin says:

    Coward..he’s yellow.

  16. I am rather sure that Lt. Col. Head did not wish to have the wars illegality to be discussed in the court. He is the coward. Lt. Watada is the hero in this case. Thank You Lt. Good luck to you in what ever you endeavor to do.

  17. good riddance to bad rubbish. now he can go home and wear pink. what a rat.

  18. Now he wants to be a lawyer, probably has a job waiting for him with ACLU, he would fit right in with them, he is nothing but a low life coward. Retired MSG

  19. Aveteran says:

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    So he wants to be a lawyer. Real fine; a lawyer that going to have a military discharge under LESS THAN HONORABLE CONDITIONS. I wonder what law school is going to take his sorry azz?

  20. saissingh says:

    He encouraged others to stand up against an illegal war and used his military uniform in a disgraceful manner. That is treason, punishable by death. Damn shame he’ll live. He should ask Michael Moore if he can make a movie about his life.

  21. bobbysangelwife says:

    Once again
    this POS is being raked over the coals for ONLY a couple of reasons.
    A: he refused a direct order
    B: he did not use the proper chain of command for all of this
    C: he decided to pick&choose what he was going to do, therefore making an azz out of himself.

  22. hisarmywife says:

    i can say i am glad he is gone.. i dont want my husband fighting next to this coward… never know when he might turn and run to his mom.

    Take the oath.. stand your ground coward. Grow some D@mn Balls.

  23. hisarmywife says:

    oh and KDK.. if you dont like the way the US is ran.. your more then welcome to leave…. no one is stopping you. Just like Watada is more then welcome to leave.. He signed the dotted line after 9-11 knowing that our country would retaliate and he chickened out at the last moment.. So to those who dont like the way the US military is ran either run for president or leave.

  24. KDK: it’s not about liberty and justice. it’s about fulfilling your contract and the oath that you took to obey the commander in chief and other commanding officers. don’t sign up for something you don’t believe in. complete COWARD.

  25. motorgrader says:

    I note you removed my civil posts yet allow “blind screamers” to rant uncensored. Goes with the dictated agenda, I suppose.

    A local wager said my comments would be stricken from this warmongering rag.
    The ole boys knew …..

    Don’t air the Truth, keep evidence hidden, urge blind obedience to committment no matter what knowledge is discovered along the way, never allow direction to be questioned by reason or morality.

    It works. Fascism advances unchallenged. The Military Industrial Complex like the whore media, dances to the tune of the dark powers. You can bet they won’t be taking the immunity-killing-vaccine. Nor their children. Just the expendable and their children… rapidly infecting others while gradually dying of ‘infection”.

    Control media, bury Truth, campaign with slander not evidence, infect the minds and bodies of the masses with Baxter/Bayer Pharmaceutical’s untested vaccines… like in Africa, only on a grander scale… Human guinea pigs vaccinated with toxins that WILL SHUT DOWN the natural immune system, after excellerating it to “hot levels”.

    Check out the Truth. If you already took the vaccine, you are the infected one.
    Neither touch the sacred cows of power nor expose the criminals overtaking the Republic, (that would demand a responsibility to your oath instead of to orders given) and never, NEVER assert that the INTERGRITY OF YOUR GOD GIVEN MIND should interfere with orders or alter a committment once Truth has been uncovered.

    Nay, rather the remorseful Calley’s than the wisdom of Watada. One slaughtered indiscriminately, the other refused to kill for oil and pipelines.

    Wake up, innocent children. Naivity is no longer affordable. The vaccine is irreversable…. it is deadly… and widely documented. Search the truth…

    You have been notified…. Let those who have ears, hear.

    We do not serve the Constitution while in ignorance. Educate yourselves before you call a man coward.

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