Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Watch the Ehren Watada story

The big news tonight is an Army Officer, Lt. Ehren Watada, who has refused to serve in Iraq. From Reuters:

A U.S. Army officer said on Wednesday that fighting in the war in Iraq would make him "party to war crimes" and he would not go.

First Lt. Ehren Watada's supporters -- including clergy and a military family group -- said he is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq and risked being court-martialed.

I'm not accusing Watada of manipulating the military in an effort to make a carefully crafted statement. At least not yet, anyway. A very bad smell is wafting off of this story, though. Plus, if you do a little search work, you'll find that Watada does not exactly come from a family that is sympathetic to current (or past) U.S. foreign policy. His father Bob Watada, a former member of the Peace Corps (As confirmed by the Hawaii Reporter), and he had this to say at a Peace Corps message board on June 1, 2004:

I am a RPCV 1964 Peru. Last year I visited Peru twice and wherever I went, friends, relatives, and people of all walks of life expressed disgust with "Bushy" and it was impossible to disagree. Their perception of the USA is like a "Rambo". "Have gun, am right." Whatever good the Peace Corps did forty years ago in developing good will has now been destroyed. We eliminated the myth that we were CIA henchmen out to get the communistas.
We are now obsessed with a "terrorist" behind every tree, as we were obsessed with a "communist" around every corner forty-five years ago. We need to start somewhere to make a change. Bob Watada

It's thin gruel, I'll be the first to admit that, but Watada enlisted after this war had already begun. He had to have known that there was a pretty good chance he'd be going to Iraq. I'll give him a little wiggle room on this for now, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this refusal has probably been in the plans for a while. Watch as this story unfolds and more details about the Watadas emerge.

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