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After an unexpected delay, the Army has announced the forwarding of charges against Lt. Ehren Watada by Fort Lewis Commanding Officer Lt. General James Dubik. Lt. Watada is to be court martialed for missing movement (article 87 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) and multiple counts of "Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman" for his public opposition to the illegal and immoral occupation war in Iraq.
In a pre-trial victory for Lt. Watada, the Army has retreated on all counts of "content towards government officials"-- specifically President G. W. Bush. The last known prosecution of this article was in 1965 resulting from Lt. Henry Howe's opposition to U.S. foreign policy during the Vietnam War. Lt. Watada's defense team believe the military favors the conduct unbecoming charges for their overly broad nature, versus the more controversial "contempt of officials" that would have opened the door to the obvious question, "can speech be contemptuous, if it is factual?"
LT. EHREN WATADA RESPONDS
"The referral of the charges was not unexpected. I'm moving forward as I always have with resilience and fortitude to face the challenges ahead . . . I think the recent elections show more and more Americans are opening their eyes, but we aren't there yet. I hope that actions such as mine will continue to help expose the truth behind the fundamental illegality and immorality of the war," said Lt. Ehren Watada.
"The reason I spoke out, 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."
Lt. Watada told reporters at a press conference last Thursday that "almost every day, someone from the military or the outside sends me some kind of correspondence or approaches me in person to render support or their respect."
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