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Lt. General James DubikCommanding General Fort Lewis1 Corps Building 2025 Stop 1 Fort Lewis WA 98433.
Re. Court Martial of U.S. Army Lt. Ehren Watada
Dear Lt. General James Dubik
It has come to my attention that the U.S. military plans to continue the court martial of Lt. Ehren Watada and is currently seeking subpoenas of U.S. anti-war campaigners and reporters in order to prosecute its case against Lt. Watada. I am requesting that you desist from using journalists to prosecute military personnel and immediately dismiss all charges against Lt. Watada's.
In a recent PBS Frontline expose (“The Dark Force”) concerning the scripting of official documents to support the rush to war with Iraq, defense analysts from the CIA and the State Department confirmed that information on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were intentionally falsified in order to bolster the Bush administration’s pre-invasion plan. (The overwhelming evidence against weapons of mass destruction caused the sudden resignation of CIA head George Tenet and the purging of dozens of Pentagon officials.) Such public evidence about the nature of the Bush administration’s attempt to manipulate Congress to hastily convene an invasion of Iraq should not be overlooked and nor should our responsibility to protect those civilians and soldiers who are in harms way from such political deceit.
As a soldier in the U.S. military, Lt. Watada stated, "[T]he reason I spoke out (against the Iraq war)…I saw that what was being done in terms of this war was so illegal and so immoral, and not being checked. It was a danger to our troops and a danger to our country. So, I think what needs to be done is some kind of accountability in Washington (D.C.) and also investigations into how this war was started in the first place." With no WMD’s found in Iraq, with US military higher-ups admitting to lying to justify a rush to war and with no link found between Iraq and 9-11, the question begs to be asked – Why is America occupying Iraq? If it is to bring democracy to the region, your own former Defense Chief Donald Rumsfeld candidly admitted to the contrary in congressional testimony in March 2003 – “I don’t believe that the United States had the responsibility for reconstruction.”
In Peter Laufer’s new book Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No To Iraq – an AWOL Oklahoma private describes US soldiers kicking around the heads of decapitated Iraqi’s like soccer balls during a search and destroy mission in the city of Ramadi. Will such crimes ever be prosecuted or can we expect the U.S. military’s continued silencing of dissenting voices by attacking the very cornerstones your country was founded upon – the right to freedom of speech and freedom of association? What Lt. Watada may be excercising is what he learned in basic training- if given an illegal or immoral order, it is the duty of that soldier to disobey it…the invasion and occupation of Iraq is such an illegal and immoral order.
And maybe what Lt. Watada is asking of himself and the country that he serves is – Who is responsible for such criminal behaviour?…for the torture deaths of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison; of the illegality of detaining prisoners without due process in Guantanamo Bay or the rendering of prisoners (Canada’s own Mahar Arar) to be tortured in secret jails in Syria and Egypt and inevitably, of the relevance of a mounting body of scholarly work surrounding the events of 9-11, specifically the manufactured notion that foreign terrorists attacked US soil. It is with resilience and fortitude that Lt. Watada faces the challenges ahead of him and I believe the recent U.S. elections show more and more Americans are opening their eyes to the questions posed by Lt, Watada and various other servicemen and women who refuse to carry out such illegal orders. As Lt. Watada himself explains, “I hope that actions such as mine will continue to help expose the truth behind the fundamental illegality and immorality of the war,"
As Commanding General at Fort Lewis, you have the final decision on whether to proceed with the court martial of Lt. Ehren Watada on any or all charges. Along with tens of thousands of Canadians and Americans, I support Lt. Ehren Watada’s right to refuse duty in Iraq and I urge you not to bring court martial proceedings against him. With already 3000 of your own troops dead by year’s end, there is no time like the present to support your own military personnel by refusing to put them in harm’s way…supporting Lt. Ehren Watada’s cause to refuse active duty in Iraq may not only save thousands of more lives but bring American troops back home to finally end the illegal invasion of Iraq.
Watada is a really heroic fellow. He is being court martialled for having a conscience.
The following statement by Watada led him to be charged with conduct unbecoming an officer:
"The war in Iraq violates our democratic system of checks and balances," he said. "It usurps international treaties and conventions that by virtue of the Constitution become American law. The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice, but a contradiction to the Army's own Law of Land Warfare. My participation would make me party to war crimes. My oath of office is to protect and defend America's laws and its people. By refusing unlawful orders for an illegal war, I fulfill that oath today."
Watada is also charged with contempt for the Commander in Chief, George W. Bush:
1ST LT. EHREN WATADA: It is my duty as a commissioned officer of the United States Army to speak out against grave injustices. My moral and legal obligation is to the Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders. I stand before you today, because it is my job to serve and protect America's soldiers, its people and innocent Iraqis who have no voice. It is my conclusion, as an officer of the Armed Forces, that the war in Iraq is not only morally wrong, but a horrible breach of American law.
I know that no babbler would dream of being contemptuous of Mr. Bush. But it's hard to understand how telling the truth amounts to contempt.
Message from Davis Mirza
URGENT APPEAL:Temporary Housing for U.S. War Resisters & Conscientious Objectors
Since the news broke that George Bush will be announcing an increased deployment of 20,000 troops to Iraq, there has been a huge response within the U.S. military.
The War Resisters Support Campaign has been inundated with requests from soldiers who are considering coming to Canada.
This is an urgent appeal for housing spots for the new arrivals. If you have room where you can house a resister for a few days, a few weeks or longer, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH US.
Welcoming a war resister here with the offer of temporary housing is a concrete way to help put an end to war in Iraq. Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated!
Please contact:Tom at [email protected]orChristine at 647.393.3096orLeave a message at the War Resisters Support Campaign office:416.598.1222 * [email protected]
I can confirm that we are experiencing a "surge" of war resisters now. I will be seeing three new soldiers today, and am getting lots of email and telephone requests for legal help.
It would be great if Babblers could help with the initial housing of these people.
Jeff, if you want to send some to Northern BC sure no problem! There are lots of DD's around here from the Vietnam War.
Seriously though, good on ya! I hope many step forward to assist you!
If you actually have the possibility of housing someone, please do contact the war resisters support campaign. They are at [url=http://www.resisters.ca/index_en.html]http://www.resisters.ca/index_en.h...
There is an office of the campaign in Vancouver, and I know US soldiers have turned up in Prince George, as well as the more predictable Vancouver (several) and Nelson (plenty).
Originally posted by jeff house:[b]If you actually have the possibility of housing someone, please do contact the war resisters support campaign. They are at [url=http://www.resisters.ca/index_en.html]http://www.resisters.ca/index_en.h...[/b]
Question: Is someone who has already served in Iraq, but is refusing redeployment considered a war resister?
As for putting people up, yes, it's all over the activist lists too (and should be going out soon on the one I maintain) so hopefully you'll get lots of people stepping forward to give these people a place to stay while they're here.
I've offered my spare room but have received no phone call back.
They're probably swamped, and it's a volunteer organization. Be patient, I'm sure they'll call. Or, if they don't, maybe try again - perhaps your message got misplaced or something.
I just sent an e-mail through the website. Thanks Michelle.