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Listening to bad advice

The court martial of United States Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada begins today. The charges Watada faces, in military/legalistic lingo, are "missing movements" and "conduct unbecoming an officer." In plain English, he is accused of refusing to deploy to Iraq and criticizing the war.

Watada has said, repeatedly, that he believes the war in Iraq is illegal, and as such he is not only entitled to refuse to serve in it, but obligated. He has requested that he be allowed to serve in Afghanistan or somewhere else, but not in Iraq.

I am no military lawyer or even an expert of military justice (and no, despite the oft-repeated joke, "military justice" is NOT an oxymoron), but I have read up a bit about how the Uniform Code of Military Justice addresses the concept of "illegal orders" -- and that is the crux of Watada's defense.

In the military, discipline is an absolute requirement. Service members MUST obey the orders of their superiors, or the organization itself will crumble. It is, literally, the cornerstone of the military.

However, the requirement is not that they obey all orders, but all LEGAL orders. This has always been the case, but was reinforced after World War II and the war crimes trials thereafter. "I was just following orders," as David Gerrold put it, is not a defense, but an indictment. The moral duty and obligation of service members to refuse illegal orders was literally graven in stone, as many former German and Japanese service members found that argument ended at the end of a noose, or in front of a firing squad.

But the bar for an "illegal" order is very, very high. It has to be something that is, on its face, clearly and flagrantly a crime. "Execute those prisoners." "Round up the townsfolk and shoot them." "Burn down every building in that village." "Shoot the private next to you." "Take down the US flag and run up this Nazi one." "Bomb the headquarters of CBS."

But Watada's orders were nowhere near so clear-cut. "Report with the rest of your unit, prepared to deploy to Iraq for duties for the foreseeable future."

Watada says that the war is illegal. But he's literally in no position to make that argument.

The war is being fought under a legally-passed Act Of Congress, called an Authorization for Use of Military Force. The Constitution grants Congress the sole power to declare war, and as such only Congress can clearly state whether or not it intended the AUMF to amount to a declaration of war or not. And considering that their tangible actions have been to reinforce the notion that they did, indeed, intend such, Watada's argument falls flat on its face.

If Congress wished to make the war illegal, it has numerous options available to it. It could repeal the AUMF. It could pass a new law saying that the AUMF has been completed and is no longer valid. Or it could declare that an AUMF is not to be considered equivalent to a declaration of war.

If Congress were to take such action, then -- and only then -- would the war in Iraq be considered equal. But only Congress can take such action -- not an Army 1st Lieutenant.

Lt. Watada is, much like former US Navy Petty Officer Pablo Paredes, just another tool in the anti-war movement. And like any tool, Watada will be used by them to suit their own purposes. Once his usefulness is over, he will be discarded, left to face the consequences of the actions they egged him to all on his own. Watada (and any others considering following their lead) should read this letter by a Naval Reserve officer who's been deployed to the Middle East at least a couple of times.

Lt. Watada volunteered for service after the United States invaded Iraq. He, of his own free will and of his own volition, agreed to serve in the United States Army and pledged to obey the lawful orders of his superiors for the duration of his service.

And then he refused, putting his own political beliefs above his word of honor.

Lt. Watada faces a maximum sentence of four years in military prison, followed by a dishonorable discharge. I hope he thinks it's worth it.


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Comments (75)

If you ever needed proof th... (Below threshold)

If you ever needed proof that being a blithering moonbat can actually ruin your life, this is it.

Must be rough...hope he doe... (Below threshold)

Must be rough...hope he doesn't follow the same path of Jesse Al-Zaid aka Jesse MacBeth.

Then again, Watada is the only type of soldier the left likes, so I'm sure he'll have plenty of those types of friends.

It's hard to quantify what ... (Below threshold)
Jim Lucero:

It's hard to quantify what "ruin your life" means in this case. Some people might say that spending 2 years in the desert and maybe getting your legs blown off is slightly more ruinous than 6 months in a military prison and a dishonarable discharge. At least he'll still be able to provide for his family. Either way Iraqis will still be killing each other.

Jay:There you go a... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Jay:

There you go again and again and again......

Your write what is, for the most part, a thoughtful interesting post. But then you just can't help yourself and you have to take your snarky, unsubstantiated personal shot. What evidence have you that Watada is "just another tool" in the anti-war movement? The inference, of course, is that he has no ability to think for himself or to act on his own conscience or make his own decisions for whatever reasons they may be.

Agree with him or not but try at least recognizing, if not the courage of, at least his willingness to stand by his own convictions.

Hugh, the issue is how Wata... (Below threshold)

Hugh, the issue is how Watada is being SEEN by his supporters, not how he perceives it. To them, he's a useful tool. Once he's convicted, he becomes a martyr. And once he's served his sentence, he's old news. They've done it before, after all.

How Watada feels about it, and whether he acknowledges it or embraces it or doesn't even realize it, doesn't matter one whit.

J.

Jay - I'm also curious abou... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Jay - I'm also curious about your statement that Watada is a "tool" of the anti-war movement. Your comment to Hugh seems to ignore completely the headline you wrote on this post.

Lt. Watada is, much like former US Navy Petty Officer Pablo Paredes, just another tool in the anti-war movement. And like any tool, Watada will be used by them to suit their own purposes. Once his usefulness is over, he will be discarded, left to face the consequences of the actions they egged him to all on his own.

Your post headline Listening to bad advice set the stage for the rest of the post.

What's the basis for your statement that Watada was pushed into this choice by others? From what I've read in interviews with Watada he hasn't stated that, and I haven't seen any claims from anti-war activists or others that they helped convince him to do this. His actions, based one what I've read, have the appearance of being nothing less than an honorable and honest decision of conscience. What factual basis do you have for your statement and headline stating that isn't the case, and that he instead "listened to bad advice"?

What you republicants do no... (Below threshold)
Mark Blahut:

What you republicants do not seem to understand is,
Being a volunteer means that you can volunteer in
or OUT - That is what a volunteer is.
If you volunteer anywhere in the country , you can also stop being a volunteer at any time .
If your leader had not mismanaged things , we would
not be having this discussion .
Please look up the meaning of volunteer , and stop
sipping Koolaid.
This site is the worst one on line - way to many spinners

Mark, that is perhaps the m... (Below threshold)

Mark, that is perhaps the most ignorant comment I have ever read. You may understand the simple definition of "volunteer," but you completely ignore the terms upon which one "volunteers" to join. You voluntarily become a member of the armed forces. Once you are a member, you are obligated (legally) to follow the rules until your term of service is at an end.

Jeezum crow, where do these idiots come from?

Mark-You clearly h... (Below threshold)
LJD:

Mark-

You clearly have no idea what it means to serve in the United States military. I'll give you a hint- it aint like volunteering to sell cookies for Greenpeace.

Please refrain from expressing your ignorance here.

Lee, Jay Tea is writing a b... (Below threshold)

Lee, Jay Tea is writing a blog opinion piece and not a dissertation.

Expressing the opinion that someone is whispering bad advice into Watada's ear is not a real stretch here, especially considering what a *darling* of the left he has become.

"What you republicants do n... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

"What you republicants do not seem to understand is,
Being a volunteer means that you can volunteer in
or OUT - That is what a volunteer is" Mark

From the above comment I'm going to guess that Mark never served in our military. So, as background Mark, when you enlist (here's your first lesson Mark - voluntarily enter military service) you sign papers (here's your second lesson - those "papers" are a legally binding contract). Upon induction you take one step forward (oops, just volunteered again), raise your right hand and swear an oath (oh dear, you just gave your word as well - a verbal contract). You then live and serve under the terms of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), not civilian laws and the U.S. Constitution.

U.S.N. 11/69-10/73

Perhaps the LT has actually... (Below threshold)
The Grump Old MSgt:

Perhaps the LT has actually saved the lives or those he would have lead by refusing to go and serve in the war. Some people are not cut out to be leaders, I know that if he had been in charge of any of my old units, he would have wound up just another statistic and a name on the wall. My comrades had a very low opinion of cowards and deserters. His claim that The war is illegal is just a fancy name for cowardice. It is not his place to decide if the war is illegal, that is WAY above his pay grade. He should have just sucked it up, and soldiered on. Personally i think he should be busted to private, given a dis honorable discharge and sentenced to hard labor until such time as all the troops come home. Too bad we can't shoot deserters any more.

Hugh writes:<blockquo... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Hugh writes:

The inference, of course, is that he has no ability to think for himself or to act on his own conscience or make his own decisions for whatever reasons they may be.

So, when people like Casey Sheehan volunteer for the military and are killed, the administration is sending our kids to die. The idea that Casey Sheehan, or any of the others, volunteered (in the military sense, not the Mark Blahut sense) is thrown out the window. They were duped. (Well-paid dupes, in the eyes of Bill Arkin, but that's a separate issue.)

But when Ehren Watada is held up as some kind of hero by the anti-war crowd, could he be a dupe? Of course not! No, you see, he's clearly a brave man, a shining example of self-actualizing decision-making.

Gotcha.

And if we're talking about the "courage of his convictions," one wonders whether Hugh and Jim Lucero and company might be willing to give proper due for the "courage of their convictions" to those who do spend two years in the desert, and come home without a limb or an eye? Or is that sneering tone to be reserved for those poor, dumb bastards too shtoopid to realize that they could've "unvolunteered," as Mark Blahut asserts?

(Oh, a dishonorable discharge is something that you have to list on many job applications, and is more than sufficient to keep you from working in a lot of areas, including the law, many parts of governments, many parts of law enforcement, etc. Lying about your discharge status is often grounds for immediate termination of employment. It's the equivalent of a criminal record.

Still so sure it's a small price to pay?)

I hope that Mark Blahut's s... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

I hope that Mark Blahut's silly ideas (above) don't infect our volunteer fire department. When one steps forward and accepts the responsibilites, training, and equipment it is not an option to leave the scene of a accident because there is too much blood or abandon your peers on the fire line because there is too much danger.

I'm certainly glad I don't live on his planet.

Well Mark is partially corr... (Below threshold)

Well Mark is partially correct, one CAN leave. Although then the military is obligated to label that person with desertion, AWOL, et cetera. He should be demoted, dishonerably discharged, and forced to pay the government back for all the training and such he's received.

Perhaps we should allow the... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Perhaps we should allow the soldiers to chat amongst themselves whenever an order comes down and decide whether they all want to follow it, with alternative activities offered to those opposed to the "recommended activities" from the top brass.

Perhaps they could prepare the Kool-aid and cookies for the afternoon snack and lay out the materials for craftmaking for the other troops (on a strictly voluntary basis, of course) on their return from the day's field trip. After the Doo-be's wash the blood from their hands and care for the wounded, of course.

Then it's the afternoon swim and nap time for everyone before dinner and a sing-along next to the campfire and off to bed with you by 9:00PM. One to a bunk, please.

It's hard to quant... (Below threshold)
Mark:
It's hard to quantify what "ruin your life" means in this case. Some people might say that spending 2 years in the desert and maybe getting your legs blown off is slightly more ruinous than 6 months in a military prison and a dishonarable discharge. At least he'll still be able to provide for his family. Either way Iraqis will still be killing each other.

Posted by: Jim Lucero at February 7, 2007 07:59 AM

I'm not sure what jobs you are applying for Jim, but it ain't close to the jobs I've worked in the last 5 years. Every company I know asks about your military background and record and a dishonorable discharge is one of the few guaranteed ways to not get an interview, let alone not get the job.

I expect most companies are like that. They are going to see that Lt. Watada has a felony conviction. (military convictions go on your civilian record) as well as a dishonorable discharge and are going to ask "Do we really want to hire someone with this record. He might quit on us as well."

Sorry, but all for a few moments in the sun and with some anti-war liberals whispering in his ear Lt. Watada has just volunteered for at least a year at Levinworth followed by a lifetime of struggling to find gainful employment.

Definitely a terrible career move.

Lurking Observer:I... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Lurking Observer:

I'm trying like help not to call you an *****. Like Jay you presume what is in the mind of others. In this case me. What you say is just so off the mark it defies reality. I served in the Army from 1970-1976 during an unpopular war.

I've never met anyone in the military who was "duped" nor do I believe anyone currently in the military was "duped".
Assumptions and comments like yours fit Herbert Spencer's comment: "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

Next time when you pretend to speak for me ask what I think first. Try asking and debating rather than "Lurking" and demonstrating your ignorance.

Popularity is hardly one of... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Popularity is hardly one of your concerns, Hugh, if your recent posts are any indication.

Jay,Good post. Ha... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Jay,

Good post. Having served in the military and been involved in some UCMJ actions, and seen precedents set in other similar cases, Watada doesn't have a chance. The presiding judge has already ordered that the constitutionality of the order can't be challenged, and acknowledged that military members do have some limitations of freedom of speech. Speech that is considered counter to good order and discipline would be a limit.

Conviction at a court martial of the charges facing Watada will be a federal felony conviction. When a court martial is chosen over non-judicial punishment the accused is facing felony counts, not misdemeanors. Upon conviction, Watada will have changed his life signicicantly forever. The odds of him being maimed or killed in Iraq, is relatively small considering the total numbers of personnel deployed. Watada had choices, he didn't have to enlist in an Army that was at war in Iraq, if he didn't want to go to Iraq.

But the bar for an "illegal" order is very, very high. It has to be something that is, on its face, clearly and flagrantly a crime. "Execute those prisoners." "Round up the townsfolk and shoot them." "Burn down every building in that village." "Shoot the private next to you." "Take down the US flag and run up this Nazi one." "Bomb the headquarters of CBS."

I'd argue the above points a bit. You are correct that the bar for an illegal orders is set high. The bar for illegal orders has traditionally been set by the victor in most wars, when looking at a post war situation. Illegal orders change with society and situation. The U.S. is now much more sensitive than it used to be. Military actions that were doctrine and commonplace in other wars would now be subject to prosecution. During WWII prisoners were executed, villages razed, etc all above board. Often the issue of whether or not an order was legal or illegal has to be decided after the action has occured.

Finally, most illegal orders are small orders, small compromises. Orders to falsify paperwork, orders to acquire supplies illegally, orders to drive a vehicle one is not licensed for etc.

Back in the days before pol... (Below threshold)
stan25:

Back in the days before political correctness took over the United States, if a soldier, sailor, airman or marine was found guilty of desertion in the face of the enemy, they were lined up against the wall and shot by a firing squad. Or in the case of the Navy, the offender was hanged from the yardarm. None of this namby-pamby stockade or brig time was even considered. These two offenders should be taken out and executed in the public square. That would make the next person, who thinks that violating their oath is the way to go, think a bit before they do it.

Oh, please, Hugh. Don't mar... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Oh, please, Hugh. Don't martyr yourself on my account!

I remember reading your "contrite" comments at the end of last year, all about how you were going to take the high road from here on out.

Didn't last long did it?

Do I think those who joined the military were duped? Nope. Doesn't keep folks like good ol' Cindy and company from claiming it, though.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/sheehan/sheehan39.html
http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/60/19770

Seems to me, based on what you wrote, that the person you should be angry at is ol' Cindy and her ilk.

Or you can rant at me. Ooooohhh, that's scary!

"Lee, Jay Tea is writing... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Lee, Jay Tea is writing a blog opinion piece and not a dissertation."

"Expressing the opinion that someone is whispering bad advice into Watada's ear is not a real stretch here, especially considering what a *darling* of the left he has become."

Jay didn't write "It's my opinion that Watada listened to bad advice"" or "I believe that Watada must have listened to bad advice" -- he stated that Watada did listen to bad advice.

Now he either did or he didn't. Jay has provided no factual basis for his claim that Watada did listen to bad advice in choosing his course of action.

If I make the statement "The Statue of Liberty is located in Austin, Texas" is that a fact or a lie? Let me help out jhow66 so he doesn't have to look it up - it's a lie.

So if caught in that lie can I get away with "it's just my opinion!" --- of course not.

Uh hughie do I need to ask ... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Uh hughie do I need to ask if I can call you a stupid SOB? Uh oh what if he says yes!!!!

As to the LT , hang the coward.

Wow, Lee. So, ever... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Wow, Lee.

So, every kid who answers something wrong on an exam is lying?

Every person who repeats an urban legend is lying?

Guess the MSM, blogs, and everyone except you is a liar, then, since I doubt anyone has never made a mistake, ooops, that'd be lied in Lee-world.

Did Watada get bad advice? Unless he came up with this idea completely on his own, never said a word to anyone else, never broached the topic with friends or family, and then, after refusing orders, still never talked to a single other person, I'd venture that he not only received bad advice, but took it.

B/c I have no doubt that the military, beginning with his immediate superiors, informed him of the consequences of his choice and gave him the opportunity to change his mind. That would count as good advice.

Forgot to add that if there... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Forgot to add that if there were 2 ropes, just take care of old p'p' at the same time.

So - these three statements... (Below threshold)
Jlawson:

So - these three statements when put in a blog aren't equivalent?

"I think Coke sucks."

"I am of the opinion that Coke sucks."

"Coke sucks."

Each one is an expressed opinion, and IMHO equivalent.

Hope the young LT likes ins... (Below threshold)
metprof:

Hope the young LT likes institutional chow. He'll be eating it for a long time.

"So, every kid who answe... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"So, every kid who answers something wrong on an exam is lying?

No, they've made a mistake. Did Jay make a mistake? I don't know, that's why I asked him for the basis behind his statement. I've never read or heard anything to back up Jay's claim.

"Every person who repeats an urban legend is lying?"

Knowingly repeating a lie is lying, yes. Unknowingly repeating a lie is a mistake. Do either of these apply in Jay's case?

"Guess the MSM, blogs, and everyone except you is a liar, then, since I doubt anyone has never made a mistake, ooops, that'd be lied in Lee-world."

When I realize I made a mistake I admit it, don't you? Will Jay? In my experience here on Wizbang Kim never does, and neither does Lorie. Jay has in the past - but all I'm asking for is the factual basis Jay used to make his claim. I can't imagine why he wouldn't provide it, so I don't see this as a lot to ask.

"I think Coke sucks."</i... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"I think Coke sucks."

"I am of the opinion that Coke sucks."

"Coke sucks."

How something tastes is a matter of individual opinion.

Whether Watada listened to bad advice in making his decision is either a fact or not -- it either happened or it didn't.

He either was advised badly, and took that bad advice, or it didn't happen that way.

So, explain to us, lee, in ... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

So, explain to us, lee, in your infinite wisdom:

How did Watada not get bad advice?

Tell us how this could possibly have happened.

These two offenders shou... (Below threshold)
mantis:

These two offenders should be taken out and executed in the public square. That would make the next person, who thinks that violating their oath is the way to go, think a bit before they do it.

You think that would be good for recruitment?

You think that wou... (Below threshold)
stan25:
You think that would be good for recruitment?

Damn right I do. It will keep the riff-raff, like these two out of the military.

"How did Watada not get ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"How did Watada not get bad advice?"

I can't (and didn't) state for a fact that Watada did not get bad advice, but that fact that I can't prove he didn't doesn't prove that he did.

I can't prove the moon doesn't have a creamy filling like a twinkie either. That I can't prove it doesn't -- certainly doesn't prove that it does.

Jay stated that Watada did receive and act on bad advice, so it's up to him to back up his claim that it happened that way, it isn't up to me to prove that it didn't.

Damn right I do. It will... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Damn right I do. It will keep the riff-raff, like these two out of the military.

Don't you think it would keep others out as well? After all, when deserters/mutineers were shot or hanged from yardarms, we didn't have volunteer armed forces, now did we?

mantis: Actually, ... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

mantis:

Actually, yes, we most certainly did. The history of the United States armed forces (and that of the UK) is dominated by a history of a volunteer military.

The periods of conscription have generally been limited to wartime (Civil War, World War I). A peacetime draft has been the anomaly:

1940-1941, as the prospect of war loomed.
1945-1973, in the wake of WWII.

Even in the Civil War, btw, the draft only occurred after several years of fighting---but executions of deserters occurred from the very beginning.

Mark Blahut, of course, can tell us all about the folks who decided to "un-volunteer" during those periods, but somehow, I don't think that quite jibes with history.

And considering how the anti-military-recruiters want military recruiters to talk about the prospects of maiming and death, telling folks that desertion in the face of the enemy would seem to merely be another laudable step towards truth in advertising.

Not that it matters either way. I doubt very much you want people joining up who think that they can get away with disobeying orders, deserting in the face of the enemy, or rank cowardice in combat is acceptable.

Lee: If you claime... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Lee:

If you claimed that the Moon was filled with creamy filling, it would contradict a host of other indicators (say, the density of the Moon and the observed behavior of lunar tides).

Therefore, disproving said statement can be left to those with more time and inclination to debate nonsense.

The idea that Watada did not get bad advice is comparable to your Moon-w/-cream-filling comment. It contradicts a host of other indicators.

By contrast, JT's comment is the opposite. It is consistent with other observed indicators, and is more likely to be true. Just as one who said that the Moon is NOT filled w/ creamy filling need not go to the Moon to prove it, but can do so through other means, JT's observations are the better fit to the facts than yours.

The periods of conscript... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The periods of conscription have generally been limited to wartime (Civil War, World War I).

I know, my point is that incidences of execution for desertion/mutiny occurred predominantly, if not exclusively, during those periods of conscription and war. Even then it was rare. For instance, during WWII, 21,000 servicemen were convicted of desertion. Only one was executed.

Furthermore, according to USA Today, there have been 8,000 desertions since the beginning of the Iraq War (as of 3/06). Interestingly, the number of desertions is actually down from before the war. That's an awful lot of people to execute.

I doubt very much you want people joining up who think that they can get away with disobeying orders, deserting in the face of the enemy, or rank cowardice in combat is acceptable.

No, I don't, but I doubt that public executions are the right way to prevent that.

In the public court of opin... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

In the public court of opinion, the fact that the leaders of Not In Our Name! and Courage to Resist were at his original press conference last summer and have been a presence at every one ever since (hell, go to NION's site, they have "reporters" following Watada's case), and the likes of Sean Penn, Susan Saradon, Tim Robbins and other Puget Sound-area anti-war groups have also been around the case, guilt by association is a reasonable assumption to make. Couple that with the fact Watada's father, who refused to serve in Vietnam (instead he served in the Peace Corps in Peru), was a long-time anti-war advocate before his son ever joined the military, and has been hanging out anti-war activists ever since last summer, something begins to smell rotten in Denmark. To top it all off, now his mother is an anti-war activist, too. (It's a family affair!)

Is any of that concrete proof that someone was bending Watada's ear? Well unless someone was taping their conversations, no, of course not. But these associations and relationships bring into high probability that somebody could have been and was likely bending his ear--and my guess is that's been happening from the get-go.

Like someone said before here on Wizbang regarding Watada, he's going to be breaking big rocks into little rocks for some time to come. Let's see if these groups are there for him after his likely sentencing tomorrow. ...

Not sure where you're going... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Not sure where you're going w/ this, mantis.

Your initial comment was whether executions weren't during periods of conscription. The answer clearly is "No," since execution of deserters occurred even before conscription.

Seems to me that whether execution for desertion has generally been rare is true but irrelevant. Desertion is most egregious a crime in wartime, hence the predominance of executions for desertion at that time. (Similarly, fleeing in the face of the enemy would be limited, presumably, to wartime.)

Last I checked, this is wartime. Watada, if found guilty, and if he were to be executed, would fall into the range of those executed for desertion in wartime.

Furthermore, Watada is an officer. Officers are different from enlisted, and in his case, clearly he is a volunteer.

I doubt very much if every deserter was shot historically, I'm not sure we can or would want to shoot every deserter now. But your presumption that executing any deserters would somehow affect recruitment is questionable.

Executing an officer who deserts would underscore both the seriousness of desertion and underline that an officer who deserts is even more deserving of punishment than an enlisted.

Your initial comment was... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Your initial comment was whether executions weren't during periods of conscription.

I should have been more explicit in my first comment, but my point, again, was that executions for desertion/mutiny have only taken place during periods of both conscription and war.

The answer clearly is "No," since execution of deserters occurred even before conscription.

Before conscription? I'm not sure what you're referring to.

Last I checked, this is wartime.

Yes, but with no conscription (or no, since we haven't declared war ;). If I'm not mistaken this is the first major war (second if you count the Gulf War) in which we have not had a draft. It changes the dynamics a bit, don't you think? When people are forced to serve anyway, execution wouldn't have much effect. But when the armed forces are dependent on volunteers, isn't it possible that public executions would make some potential volunteers think twice?

But your presumption that executing any deserters would somehow affect recruitment is questionable.

It's not really a presumption, I'm genuinely curious what people think. I imagine it would harm recruitment, but I certainly could be wrong.

Executing an officer who deserts would underscore both the seriousness of desertion and underline that an officer who deserts is even more deserving of punishment than an enlisted.

Right, it serves as a statement to the enlisted and an example to other officers. I understand that purpose; my question is about the effect on recruitment. It's probably a moot point anyway, since I imagine we agree that there's no way Watada, or any other deserter, is going to receive an execution sentence.

You know what not one of yo... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

You know what not one of you understands about Lt Watada. He was born in Hawaii. Obama was born in Hawaii. Both of them have lived in Hawaii. People who are Hawaiians or have lived there for any period of time and like it are not like the butchers of the mainland.

They simply come from a different perspective. Their spirit is imbued with a whole different set of relationship principles in how they treat others. It's not possible for those who would never leave the mainland to ever understand Lt Watada's or Barack Obama's principles. They will never get it or understand it. It's not possible.

If you have lived and loved the south sea island lifestyle you could never think or act upon the kinds of events in the way that mainland Americans do and the need for treachery that seems so prevalent among the posters here. Here it's always a macho need to display strength through force. The greater majority of Hawaiians find much more more effective ways of solving problematic situations.

Watada is right in his intial assessment as to why he missed movements. The war declared as it was based on false and misleading evidence is clearly a crime against the troops. His actions are only in direct reaction to illegal orders. Case closed.

mantis: In Decembe... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

mantis:

In December 1861, long before there was a draft, deserters were being executed.

http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1861/december/execution-deserter.htm

Note, too, that the story was in "Harper's Weekly," the equivalent of CNN-"Access Hollywood"-FoxNews combined. Yet, folks still volunteered to join the military.

In a 1989 volume focusing on Civil War executions, it was noted that about 150 were shot or hanged for desertion.

Does this mean all deserters were being executed? Of course not. Nor would that be true here. You and I seem to be in agreement on this.

But there were executions for desertion without the military being conscripts. It didn't retard recruiting (long, bloody wars do that on their own).

Such as in the War of 1812:
http://www.correctionhistory.org/hangings/hangdates7.html

Also:

John Hare, "Military Punishments in the War of 1812," Journal of American Military History provides extensive detail on the range of punishments.

Indeed, back then, there were other, lesser punishments also administered on those who were found guilty of desertion, including branding, cropping (of the ears), whipping, etc. So, if you're going to suggest that desertion didn't automatically lead to death, you need to caveat that with the recognition that it did usually lead to mutilation.

And that was a volunteeer military, with no conscription.

civil behavior: Wo... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

civil behavior:

Wonder what Eric Shinseki thinks of Lt. Watada. That would be the same General Eric Shinseki who was born on Kauai, and who wanted more troops in order to devastate the Iraqis in the same "war declared as it was based on false and misleading evidence."

Indeed, given Shinseki's rank at the time, one cannot help but conclude, CB, that Shinseki, a native of Hawaii, was fully aware of the "false and misleading evidence," no?

And why did Watada join the military in the first place, then, CB? Surely he understood that it meant killing people?

BTW, while we're on the subject of more effectively solving problems, could you perhaps enlighten us as to what happened to Kalanikupule and those who opposed Kamehameha? Perhaps you might mention what happened at Nuʻuanu Pali ridge?

I will grant you, that would be one way to solve problems.

The war declared as it w... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

The war declared as it was based on false and misleading evidence is clearly a crime against the troops. His actions are only in direct reaction to illegal orders. Case closed.

Did I miss something? When did Congress (or any legal body for that matter) rule that the Iraq War based on false and misleading evidence and is therefore illegal? Here's your answer: None.

Furthermore, the military judge in Watada's case has explicity ruled out Watada's attorney from using the arguments of whether or not the war is lawful, citing that issue as being political question and not a military question, which this case is.

Case decidedly shut.

Deserters have been execute... (Below threshold)
stan25:

Deserters have been executed long before the United States came into existence. The Greeks, The Romans, Persians and the other ancients did this and so have all of the armies that have followed. Often these punishments were very bloody and brutal. The whole army or legion where the soldier in question belonged to had to watch the proceedings or be executed themselves.

The Royal Navy hung mutineers by the yardarm, but that was a whole different set of circumstances entirely. Most of the sailors that served were pressed into the service by often brutal means and were treated very badly by most of the officers at the time.

George Washington personally ordered the execution of deserters and muntineers at Valley Forge and at other times. He even contemplated hanging Benedict Arnold as traitor, but Arnold had joined the British, before the court-martial could convene.

So the execution of deserters are not totally a new thing in the history of the world. It is now that the sob-sisters, like Lee and his butt buddies and the drive by media, that have any sympathy for this particular officer.

The periods of ... (Below threshold)
stan25:
The periods of conscription have generally been limited to wartime (Civil War, World War I).

The draft was used throughout WW2 also. It is just that so many people lined up to enlist in the days following Pearl Harbor (the same thing happened right after 911) that they did not need any people for awhile. It was after the casualties started to mount that the draft was more wide spread

Alas, I stand corrected on ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Alas, I stand corrected on the topic of executions in non-conscription times of war. Thanks for setting me straight on that one, LO.

It seems to me, however, that our sensibilities have changed considerably since the wars you mentioned, for better or for worse. I wonder how the public and the military would react to such executions nowadays. I guess the question is can we still execute deserters, and do we want to? I know the military can legally do so, but is it a tenable position PR-wise? And if not, what does that say about our society and our ability to effectively fight wars? Are we too soft?

His actions, based one ... (Below threshold)
marc:

His actions, based one what I've read, have the appearance of being nothing less than an honorable and honest decision of conscience. What factual basis do you have for your statement and headline stating that isn't the case, and that he instead "listened to bad advice"? Posted by: Lee at February 7, 2007 09:10 AM

Much of the discussion above, including Lee's quote above, pertains to whether Watada received "bad advise" and allegedly that advice came from the "peaceniks" that have indeed latched onto him, at minimum after the fact.

Based on no one ever winning a case of this type, yes he did receive bad advice no matter who gave it to him.

The question is who gave it to him, was it a personal epiphany or were there outside influences?

He was raised in an environment that may have led to this point in life.

In a confirmation the "apple never falls far from the tree" his father, well known in Hawaiian political circles, is a former Vietnam War protester who supports his son.

From all appearances Watada joined after 9/11 and before the Iraq War, however despite the idiocy of people who have zero concept of what a volunteer is, or a signed contract, he did both and deserves the four year maximum that they are asking be imposed.

But I would guess he would get what Pablo Paredes, who preceded him in failure to deploy got, 18 months.

And to flesh out the consequences that other have touched on, he will have a Federal felony on his record and lose eligibility for the GI bill and any veteran's benefits he might have otherwise claimed.

He will also be barred from any job that operates under any gov contract.

And every time he lies on an employment form about his criminal record he's subject to immediate termination or if truthful at the outset never be hired at all.

No matter how much we loath... (Below threshold)
GrimJack:

No matter how much we loathe this little turd, we need to at least give Lt Watada props and thanks. He could have been the next John Kerry. Imagine if after all his publicity, he said "Despite believing this war is illegal, I will go to do everything in my power to safely lead my troops home, something George Bush is not." Every MSM outlet, not to mention all the other lefy outfits, would have orgasmed how great and fantastic he was. A true leader, someone George Bush could learn from. They would have followed him around like puppy dogs. Army brass would have found a safe place to park him (wouldn't want any "accidents" with his "band of brothers) and couldn't afford to let him get killed off (accusations that they did it on purpose because he was so noble, don't you know?). He would have spent his time somewhere relatively safe, not doing much (who would trust the little turd?), and hanging out with MSM bigshots wanting to wrap their lips around his "patriotic" pole. The MSM would have raised him up to the heavens as a magnificient leader (never talking to any real troops, because they're uneducated to know any better, which is why they're in Iraq to begin with). After his stint, he could have returned to Hawaii and either be quietly discharged, or finish out his term of service. Either way, once he was out, he could claim he saw all sorts of war crimes (ala Winter Soldier) and made stuff up, 'cause he had been there and witnessed all that stuff, even though he was never in Iraq (what does that have to do with anything?). He tried to stop it, but was ignored! He would have been set up to run as a liberal, Democrat politician (hard to run as a convicted felon). He would also have been banging tons of lefty chicks instead of being the lefty chick going to get banged by tons of cons. So Lt Watada, for this one small favor, of taking the punishment rather than punishing us with a lifetime of celebrity and your politics as a Liberal Senator, I thank you.

The whole discussion of whe... (Below threshold)
SShiell:

The whole discussion of whether Lt Watada followed good or bad advise is basic bullshit. He either did one of two things:

1) He followed someone elses' advice. Not good. He will be convicted of a felony, serve time at Leavenworth, and be given at least a "less than honorable" discharge upon serving his time.

2) He took it upon himself to make the stand he did without seeking the advice of another. Not good. He will still be convicted, serve time at Leavenworth, and be given a "less than honorable" discharge upon serving his time.

The difference? He was either following stupid advice or he was stupid - take your pick!

As far as how the anti-war advocates will treat him in the long run has yet to be determined. In truth, only time will tell.

From all appearances Wat... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

From all appearances Watada joined after 9/11 and before the Iraq War...

According to Watada himself in an interview with Democracy Now!, he signed up in March 2003. Whether it was before or after the start of the war, he doesn't say. (Though I can't find it in my quick search, I believe he was officially enlisted as of April 2003.)

"The difference? He was... (Below threshold)
marc:

"The difference? He was either following stupid advice or he was stupid - take your pick!"

There's a selection to be made? He's stupid and ignorant in either case.

As for the discussion whether he's been latched onto by the "Illegal war," "peace at all costs" loonbats is debatable, however it's say to say he has embraced the movement by speaking at the Veterans for Peace Convention then posting his speech at truthout[not]

Peter F, I just caught this... (Below threshold)
marc:

Peter F, I just caught this:

"According to Watada himself in an interview with Democracy Now!, he signed up in March 2003. Whether it was before or after the start of the war, he doesn't say."

The Joint Resolution to Authorize the use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq was passed by the House and Senate in Oct 2002.

Wonder what Watada thought was going to happen, drop leaflets over Iraq declaring Saddam a "non-president" and the U.S. going on its merry way.

Hey, where'd "civil behavio... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Hey, where'd "civil behavior" go? I'd like to hear more about that special Hawai'ian view of the world.

Maybe he can elucidate on whether there was "bad advice" given to Watada or not?

Well I see that I still get... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Well I see that I still get under old "pucker puss" (lee lee) (resident turd polisher) (resident moron)'s skin. And why would anyone have to look up something to see if you are a liar? Everyone already knows that p'p'. Which key do you use for the "ditto" key? Would be alot of help to me when I go to type your user name. Hang in there p'p'your mommy will let you out of the house one of these days. Could be sooner then you think as I saw her buying a dog lease at Wally World. It was pink with the letters p'p' on it. Good luck.

Lurking:Yes, perha... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Lurking:

Yes, perhaps 'civil' could advise Watada's lawyer to employ a "Poi Defense"--you know, paralleling the old "Twinkie Defense"--citing how, as a Hawaiian, Watada went just "a little nuts" and was "disoriented about current world affairs" due to the lack of poi in his diet at the time of enlistment. He might have better luck getting his client off...

Just a thought.

Yes, perhaps 'civil' co... (Below threshold)
marc:

Yes, perhaps 'civil' could advise Watada's lawyer to employ a "Poi Defense"--you know, paralleling the old "Twinkie Defense"--citing how,

Looks like Watada and his shyster are both relying on the "we are dumber than a box of rocks" defense.

A mis-trial has been called because Watada didn't understand what he and his shyster agreed to prior to trial start.

In short what he agreed to was to plead guilty to certain facts. Now the claim is he didn't understand what he signed.

Haven't we heard this before? Like when he signed his enlistment papers.

marc:Watada's tria... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

marc:

Watada's trial has already been rescheduled for sometime in mid-March.

According to the Seattle Times: "In a new trial, Watada, 28, could face up to six years in prison if convicted of all the charges against him."

It was likely going to be 4; thanks to his "misunderstanding" the agreement Watada's sentence seems like it could get bumped up 6. Oops.

And it doesn't sound like the judge was buying Watada's excuse in saying the agreement was an admission of guilt.

Lurking,Obviously ... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Lurking,

Obviously from your response I should have qualified my statement about Hawaiians and used the word "most" Hawaiians. People like yourself don't get nuance.

Watada might have enlisted but eventually came to realize what most now know for fact. Lies and deceptions are criminal behavior. For "most" conscience eventually wins out, excepting present right wing posters that is.

For those who enjoy brutality masked in the cloak of imperialism even the Hawaiians lost out to the evangelical barons of the West on that note. As did the native Americans. Even you cannot dispute that history. (or will you find some morsel to spin?)

It's sickening that we are spending the amount of money we are trying to prove a little di**head like George W right for his failed incompetent destructive hubris. Send the little man back to Texas where even his little souvenir shop Crawford cronies are losing their shirts.

Time to call a halt to this insanity. Of course it's pretty obvious alot of posters here aren't man enough to admit their mistakes.

Pathetic testosterone rednecks.

Pathetic testosterone re... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Pathetic testosterone rednecks.

Nuance.

Posted by: civil behavior

Irony.

Lack of knowledge of the hi... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

Lack of knowledge of the history of one of the great kings of Hawai'i=nuance.

Right.

Eric Shinseki is not really a Hawai'ian, despite being born there, despite having a museum there, because he disagrees w/ "civil behavior" and Ehren Watada.

Right.

C'mon, CB. Won't you at least educate the benighted folks on this thread as to how Kamehameha eventually unified the islands? Show us some of that nuance!

Describe for them how "People who are Hawaiians or have lived there for any period of time and like it are not like the butchers of the mainland."

Show how Shinseki and Kamehameha must not have "lived and loved the south sea island lifestyle," unless, of course, they don't actually engage "a macho need to display strength through force."

You wrote the words, CB. Is it nuance to throw BS around and then deny what you wrote?

You sound more like some haoli trying to make themselves appear to be more Hawai'ian than the Hawaiians.

Re: CBPuuhaa hewa ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Re: CB

Puuhaa hewa ka honu i ka laa makani.

Nuance.

mantis:Yes, sensib... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

mantis:

Yes, sensibilities have changed. Not only is execution far more controversial, but I doubt very much that we'd be willing to accept whipping, bucking, or cropping of ears.

OTOH, desertion still generates a distinct reaction. The idea that one is abandoning one's buddies strikes at the core of both what makes militaries function, as well as a basic idea of contractual and personal obligation and honor (not that Jim Lucero or Mark Blahut think much of that).

As to the impact of a policy of executing deserters, the most likely impact is a wash. Those who oppose the death penalty will oppose it. Those who oppose war and/or the military (such as civil behavior) will simply have another reason to denigrate the military. Those who support the death penalty are unlikely to find this (and remembering it's on the books right now) especially troubling. Those who support the military or understand that war means killing are unlikely to find the idea of executing deserters of special note.

As for recruitment, remember that we're talking desertion. Do you really think that new recruits who are serious about joining are somehow going to view a distinct punishment for desertion as discouraging? This suggests the following mental calculus:

I want to join the military. Sure, I might get killed/wounded, but that's not a particularly daunting prospect. Whoa! But if I desert I might get executed? Count me out!

Does this ring true to you?

Lurking......Kamehameha hap... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Lurking......Kamehameha hapened to be one of their own........not an imperialist outsider..in their ways kapu was strictly observed......in his eyes George W would defintitely be an infidel....obvioulsy this is the uance you fail to catch.

Cloninger......I repeat, pathetic testosterone rednecks......does nothing to dismiss the civility of the statement for when the truth is spoken make no mistake about it, we are bound to creation for all the mistakes we make.......George Bush failed everyone, including Lt Watada.....for it is the burden of the leadership to use "sound judgement".......again it is very clear to all except for those who are part of his devoted cult, George Bush is incapable of such.

Cloninger......I repeat,... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Cloninger......I repeat, pathetic testosterone rednecks......does nothing to dismiss the civility of the statement for when the truth is spoken make no mistake about it, we are bound to creation for all the mistakes we make.......George Bush failed everyone, including Lt Watada.....for it is the burden of the leadership to use "sound judgement".......again it is very clear to all except for those who are part of his devoted cult, George Bush is incapable of such.

Which makes the routine criticism of Bush here all the more baffling.

You support cowards, civil. Just go ahead and say it. What the left CLAIMS Bush did (incorrectly) in the 70's is EXACTLY what you are applauding Watada for doing now.
-=Mike

So, Kamehameha's treatment ... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

So, Kamehameha's treatment of Kalanikupule is not an example of acting "like the butchers of the mainland," b/c he's Hawaiian? Driving hundreds of your opponents over the top of a ridge, and accepting no surrender, is somehow different, b/c the people doing the driving are Hawaiian?

I see.

You sure he wasn't imperialist, though? Because any person working to unify several islands that had long been independent, I'll bet was seen as "imperialist" by the residents of those other islands (e.g., Oahu, Maui). But then, perhaps you're of the school that only whites can be imperialist?

Which still wouldn't explain Eric Shinseki, who supported the war (just not how it was going to be fought). He reached the level of Army Chief of Staff, which means he had access to all the intel. So, what is your argument for his behavior? Not a real Hawaiian? Didn't spend enough time there?

Lurking ,I'll try ... (Below threshold)
civll behavior:

Lurking ,

I'll try one more time....doubt it will do any good......Shinseki is Hawaiian, one of few who obviously were not quite as imbued with the spirit of aloha and malu as "most" Hawaiians are. And yes, Kamehameha was HAWAIIAN not an imperialist interloper. Aloha Aiana is a notion foreign to the supporters of George Bush, yourself included. George Bush is just another Captain Cook of Iraq. How sad that you somehow find excuse to support such hubris and blind ambition.

Mike SC,

Watada has more courage in his little finger than you could possibly muster in eternity. He is here to teach you what it takes to stand against corruption and liars and thieves who blatantly profess to make peace while destroying the planet. You obviously don't understand the hypocrisy of such blasphemy. These are people who will plunder, rob, steal and pillage at any cost to secure the worlds most profitable resource and say ANYTHING at all to implement their control. It just ceases to amaze me anymore the level of indoctrination that Bush supporters are willing to absorb to not have to admit their mistakes.

Never mind, the rest of us will do what we can to reverse the damage that has been wreaked upon the globe while you sit back and feel entitled to your possession. How bad will it get? Guess that depends on what the universe has planned for those who refuse to listen.

Cowards, my a**.

No, Jay, it's not Mr. Watad... (Below threshold)
Herman:

No, Jay, it's not Mr. Watada's argument that falls "flat on its face," but yours.

Given your limited capacity to think beyond the confined realms of your America-is-the-Center-of-My-World, it's not surprising that you utterly fail to consider that the brave lieutenant has no intention of violating international law (unlike, say, your beloved Bush). The fact that the head of the United Nations at the time, Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan, as well as a German court, the President of France, and at least 95% of all the scholars listed here. No, Jay, it's not up to Congress to wish "to make the war illegal," to use your words. The war has been illegal from the moment U.S. soldiers set foot in Iraq.

Still, though, you feel the onus is on Congress. But, of course, you did not mention that Congress itself had been lied to. Here's a statement from one of the Senators who voted for the AUMF: "If members of Congress and the public had known that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction . . . that there was no sponsorship or other strategic relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, and that Iraq had no capacity to threaten people in the United States, neither Congress nor the public would have approved of a decision to go to war." -- Senator Thomas Carper of Delaware.

The knowledge that Bush & Company had lied the U.S. into war against a country having "no capacity to threaten people in the United States," was not something the brave lieutenant could have known (it hit the newspapers later) when he volunteered to become a soldier. While the renowned Mr. Tea might condemn the lieutenant, Mr. Watada can be comforted by the fact that both Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. (read some of what MLK says about conscientious objection in the Vietnam era) would have stood by him.

that the brave lieutenan... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

that the brave lieutenant has no intention of violating international law (unlike, say, your beloved Bush).

Exactly what international law is that, Herman? Cite it, please.

Just FYI, there is NO U.N. Resolution that prohibited the use of force against Iraq. Certainly under 1441 there were grey areas in that matter, but there was nothing expliciity or unambiguously legal thus creating the grey areas. But grey areas do not an illegal action make.

That said, until you prove it through documentaiton and the like, the hue and cry of "illegal war" is just flat wrong.

Actually, the onus IS on Congress to question the legality of the war, so therefore it IS a political, not a military issue (which the Watdada case is). Since Congress or any other legal body has not done so, Watada would have a helluva time proving it; besides, the judge already dismissed the possibility of Watada using that argument as his defense.

Before you go too far to liken Watada to Ghandi, King, et al, try to recall that Watada did say that he would go to Afghanistan; one can presume to confront and kill as his duty. That ain't something Ghandi or King would be too happy about. So Watada apparently has a double standard when it comes to "illegal" actions.

The simple fact of the matter is that as a military officer, Watada does NOT get to pick and choose to which theater of operations he gets deployed. Furthermore, ALL military personal, forego certain Constitutional rights upon induction--not the least of which is the ability to speak out freely against his superiors. It's simply not allowed.

In the end, if you want to argue that ALL wars by their very nature are "illegal" acts against humanity (not mention God), then you've got an argument I can agree with. But this insistence on calling the Iraq War "illegal" is just baseless.

Amen,Hermman.You'l... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Amen,Hermman.

You'll never be able to make sense of the rationale of these jugheads. Bushism is a cult. Nothing would deter them from their worship and we'll all have to suffer until we rid ourselves of the pestilence.

Only a couple more years of this tragedy of errors.

Only a couple more years... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Only a couple more years of this tragedy of errors.

Yup, and Dems can be voted out once again. LOL

Watada has more courage ... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Watada has more courage in his little finger than you could possibly muster in eternity.

Yes, he took the money and left his fellow platoon members a member short because he suddenly became a coward.

Truly a high point o' courage I can only hope to match.

He is here to teach you what it takes to stand against corruption and liars and thieves who blatantly profess to make peace while destroying the planet.

Which makes him VOLUNTEERING in the first place all the more baffling. I suppose the logic of that will eventually be made clear.

You obviously don't understand the hypocrisy of such blasphemy.

I "blasphemed" Watada? I called the coward what he was. A coward. A useless coward who will have earned every moment he spends in prison and the life of problems he will lead due to his idiocy.

Good riddance to him.

These are people who will plunder, rob, steal and pillage at any cost to secure the worlds most profitable resource and say ANYTHING at all to implement their control.

Which ignores that we could've bought the oil for many times less than we have spent on this and we knew that heading in.

But lionize the cowardly. Knock yourself out.

Cowards, my a**.

I don't know the courage if your rectal area --- but Watada is a coward.

Given your limited capacity to think beyond the confined realms of your America-is-the-Center-of-My-World, it's not surprising that you utterly fail to consider that the brave lieutenant has no intention of violating international law (unlike, say, your beloved Bush).

Which is peachy --- except he never took an oath to uphold international law.

So he's a coward AND a liar.

The fact that the head of the United Nations at the time, Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan, as well as a German court, the President of France, and at least 95% of all the scholars listed here. No, Jay, it's not up to Congress to wish "to make the war illegal," to use your words. The war has been illegal from the moment U.S. soldiers set foot in Iraq.

Yes, we have the corrupt Anna. Chirac, who is President (and will have to get into the French Parliament after he leaves office) PRIMARILY to avoid the jail time he is facing for MANY crimes he has committed. As for the "scholars" and the useless German court --- I will not permit a sovereign country to dictate to us what we do nor will I waste my time and energy listening to people who are so profoundly uneducated that higher education is the only explanation for it.

Still, though, you feel the onus is on Congress. But, of course, you did not mention that Congress itself had been lied to. Here's a statement from one of the Senators who voted for the AUMF: "If members of Congress and the public had known that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction . . . that there was no sponsorship or other strategic relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, and that Iraq had no capacity to threaten people in the United States, neither Congress nor the public would have approved of a decision to go to war." -- Senator Thomas Carper of Delaware.

The Intel Committee got the same Intel Bush received and made their own conclusions based on it. That is simple reality.

While the renowned Mr. Tea might condemn the lieutenant, Mr. Watada can be comforted by the fact that both Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. (read some of what MLK says about conscientious objection in the Vietnam era) would have stood by him.

Yes. Freeing people from oppression is such an EVIL act.

There is nothing a liberal can do that another leftie won't rush to not only defend, but criticize people for finding fault with it.
-=Mike

Mike SC,Exactly wh... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Mike SC,

Exactly where are those same wmd's that we wouldn't have wanted to be a mushroom cloud??

There is another detail tha... (Below threshold)
stan25:

There is another detail that everyone has seemed to forget here. Most of the officers that are in the military are by their very nature are volunteers. There have been a few members of the officer corps that have been drafted, but by and large, most of the draftees did not achieve officer status unless they received a battlefield commission. In the case of today's American military, almost anyone can be come an officer due to the quality of education that is found in the rank and file, but the officers that come from the service academies are very protective of their status and will not let these people have any of the perks.




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