Sunday, January 21, 2007

Watada article in Kitsap Sun invokes "internment" injustice!

It was only a matter of time for the "internment" to be invoked in defense of disgraced Lt. Ehren Watada in an awkward pair off with the Japanese American reparations movement.

The JACL has been treading lightly on this one. They know Watada is potential liability to "the cause". The Kitsap Sun does not however.

I predict an association between Watada and the Japanese American Reperations jugernaught will be a liability.

Mary Abo, from Bremerton, said she admired that Watada was trying to make a change.

"I especially admire him because I share his cultural background of the Japanese internment in World War II, and it is very important that if you feel that there is an injustice to speak out and not be silent," she said.

Abo, 66, was taken to a camp in Idaho for three years when she was a toddler.

Iraq War Deserter Critical of U.S. Policy at Bremerton Event

Lt. Ehren Watada, likely to be court martialed on Feb. 5, says he did not report for Iraq duty because of beliefs.
By David Vognar, David.Vognar@kitsapsun.comJanuary 21, 2007

BREMERTON

Even with charges looming that could send him to prison for six years, Army Lt. Ehren Watada faces the future confident in his actions.

"Yes, I have broken ranks. I have not been a good lieutenant ...," he said. "Otherwise, like those lemmings, we could all march off to our doom."

Speaking Saturday before more than 70 people at the Kitsap Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Watada explained why he refused to go to Iraq, a decision that has him scheduled for a court martial on Feb. 5 at Fort Lewis. Since his decision last summer to purposely miss his Army unit’s deployment on June 22, the 28-year-old from Hawaii has gone from thinking he "never could or should do this" to becoming a vocal spokesman for raising public awareness against the war.

"We all do what we believe in," Watada said.

The odds of being convicted are likely because a judge at Watada’s Jan. 4 pre-trial hearing ruled that Watada’s lawyers cannot present arguments saying the Iraq war is illegal, which is Watada’s defense.

"You can convict me and send me to prison," Watada said, "but in the grand scheme of things it changes nothing."

According to his Web site, www.thankyoult.org, Watada swore allegiance to the Constitution and "not to those who would issue unlawful orders." He said that he is a servant of the people and public opinion has turned against the war.

Watada also said the war is illegal because the reasons for beginning it and continuing it have been deceptive. "All soldiers in a free society must know the true reasons for why he or she is going to sacrifice their life," Watada said. "Do you think the American military will ever leave when there are profits to protect?"

Though he still works at Fort Lewis — and tries to stay out of public places because of the hate mail he has received — Watada is using his role to encourage others to oppose the war.

"It is the American people who have the power to end this war, but only if they have the will to do so," Watada said.

Watada also said he has received a lot of support from both civilians and military members.
Watada, who served in South Korea until he was transferred to Ft. Lewis in 2005, tried to resign from the Army in January 2006 but was turned down. Later he volunteered to go to Afghanistan instead but was denied.

According to support coordinator Carrie Hathorn, Watada is the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq.

Mary Abo, from Bremerton, said she admired that Watada was trying to make a change.

"I especially admire him because I share his cultural background of the Japanese internment in World War II, and it is very important that if you feel that there is an injustice to speak out and not be silent," she said.

Abo, 66, was taken to a camp in Idaho for three years when she was a toddler.

Thomas Sorensen, 77, said he was impressed by the speech. "I thought it was very good, very eloquent," he said. "He’s a person who is very committed."

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