Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Turk, Jun 9, 2006.
He sould have paid for his owneducation so he wouldn't have to serve. They should let him out and let him repay the money (with interest) the military paid for his education.
That's actually a very good solution. Or just assign him elsewhere, although that could become very uncomfortable for him.
I don't necessarily think this is a good thing unfolding, but as I understand it, a soldier is obligated by duty NOT to follow unethical or immoral orders (is that right, military guys?). Of course what is immoral to some is perfectly O.K. to another.
This is a can of worms that the US definitely does not need.
Somebody who thinks he has the right to decide whether the civilian authory is valid or not doesn't belong in the military he would be a danger to any troop he would lead, get him out.
Isn't God kind of an oft-cited person for the right-wingers? Wouldn't someone who strongly believes in God put His law above a Commanders' order that he feels is morally wrong?
I don't understand your objection. I don't think we want an army of soldiers who are blind followers of a de facto monarch.
Well people whoi object to the military and warson religious grounds (like quakers) generally don't join the ROTC. I think this kid wanted a free education and didn't think he would be asked to fufill his responsibilities he entered into when he voluntarily joined the military.
Perhaps you aren't familiar with the oath that members of the military take?
No one made him take the oath, it was his choice. The invasion of Iraq (for better or worse was authorized by Congressional resolution, Individual solders don't get to decide policy that would lead to anarchy.
He doesn't have to obey an unlawful order, like murdering an unarmed civilian for example. Hope that helps.
Yes, you are correct, sort of. We as combatants have an obligation not to obey unlawful orders. Or to put it another way, we can be held accountable for following such orders. But don't use words like unethical or immoral to describe those orders, because as you said, those words have subjective definitions. Unlawful is more objective.
But regarding this lieutenant -- he began his military obligation after the Iraqi war had begun. If he had a serious problem with it, he should have either not initiated his military obligation, or established conscientious objector status at the beginning of his obligation.
As it is, the military simply can't allow someone to publicly object to orders and then receive an alternate set of orders. That would invite chaos, as everyone who didn't want to go somewhere would go find a TV camera and proclaim their moral objections to whatever is happening in the area they are ordered to go. In this case, either the lieutenant accepts his orders, or he goes to jail. That's the only thing that will maintain order.
He signed the papers. He should suck it up and go. Military service is voluntary, but you can't pick and choose which battles you fight!
Agreed. Which is why he can't just get out and pay the government back for his school. . .it would set a bad precedent.
I'm not saying that "moral objection" or whatever is wrong, but every soldier who didn't want to leave his wifey or whatever would try to follow suit. . .Even in peacetime, you've gotta have a heck of a good excuse to get out of a deployment!
Hell everyone would sign up if it were a no lose bet. Sign up for all the benefits but choose not to go if a war breaks out. Nice deal.
Too bad, buddy, you made your choice now do what you're told.
Read the interview below - this is a brave and honorable man. For all you armchair geniuses:
1. This officer enrolled in the military in 2003, AFTER he already earned a college degree, and KNOWING that he would be in Iraq. An excerpt of an interview is included in which he says he wanted to fight because he loves this country and for patriotism.
2. His father is a famous, high ranking official. He did not need money, or a free education. He joined when Iraq was ready for invasion, primarily to fight and protect the United States, for WMD, but not for the twisted reason we have today.
2. This officer previously served an assignment in Korea. He said he would accept an Afganistan assignment. He repeatedly told his superiors ahead of time that he would refuse an Iraq assignment out of moral reasons, sought objectionary status, and they still assigned him.
First Officer Announces Refusal to Deploy to Iraq
By Sarah Olson
Wednesday 07 June 2006
Ehren Watada is a 27-year-old first lieutenant in the United States Army. He joined the Army in 2003, during the run-up to the Iraq war, and turned in his resignation to protest that same war in January of 2006. He expects to receive orders in late June. He is poised to become the first lieutenant to refuse to deploy to Iraq, setting the stage for what could be the biggest movement of GI resistance since the Vietnam War. He faces a court-martial, up to two years in prison for missing movement by design, a dishonorable discharge, and other possible charges. He says speaking against an illegal and immoral war is worth all of this and more. Journalist Sarah Olson spoke with Watada in late May.
Sarah Olson: When you joined the Army in 2003, what were your goals?
Ehren Watada: 2003 was a couple of years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I had the idea that my country needed me and that I needed to serve my country. I still strongly believe that. I strongly believe in service and duty. That's one of the reasons I joined: because of patriotism.
I took an oath to the US Constitution, and to the values and the principles it represents. It makes us strongly unique. We don't allow tyranny; we believe in accountability and checks and balances, and a government that's by and for the people. The military must safeguard those freedoms and those principles and the democracy that makes us unique. A lot of people, like myself, join the military because they love their country, and they love what it stands for.
SO: You joined the Army during the run-up to the Iraq war, but you had misgivings about the war. How did that happen?
Watada: Like everybody in America and around the world, I heard what they were saying on television about the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and the ties to al-Qaeda and 9/11. I also saw the millions of people around the world protesting, and listened to the people resigning from the government in protest. I realized that the war probably wasn't justified until we found proof of these accusations the president and his deputies were making against Iraq.
But I also believed we should give the president the benefit of the doubt. At that time, I never believed ... I could never conceive of our leader betraying the trust we had in him.
SO: What was your experience in the military?
Watada: My first duty assignment was in Korea.
SO: So what changed?
Watada: I realized that to go to war, I needed to educate myself in every way possible. Why were we going to this particular war? What were the effects of war? What were the consequences for soldiers coming home? I began reading everything I could.
One of many books I read was James Bamford's Pretext for War. As I read about the level of deception the Bush administration used to initiate and process this war, I was shocked. I became ashamed of wearing the uniform. How can we wear something with such a time-honored tradition, knowing we waged war based on a misrepresentation and lies? It was a betrayal of the trust of the American people. And these lies were a betrayal of the trust of the military and the soldiers.
My mind was in turmoil. Do I follow orders and participate in something that I believed to be wrong? When you join the Army you learn to follow orders without question. Soldiers are apolitical, and you don't voice your opinion out loud.
I started asking, why are we dying? Why are we losing limbs? For what? I listened to the president and his deputies say we were fighting for democracy; we were fighting for a better Iraq. I just started to think about those things. Are those things the real reasons why we are there, the real reasons we were dying? But I felt there was nothing to be done, and this administration was just continually violating the law to serve their purpose, and there was nothing to stop them.
SO: You made decision to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq. What happened next?
Watada: I alerted my commander this January, and told him I would refuse the order to go to Iraq. He asked me to think it over. After about a week, I said OK, I've made my decision. I've come to believe this is an illegal and an immoral war, and the order to have us deploy to Iraq is unlawful. I won't follow this order and I won't participate in something I believe is wrong.
My commanders told me that I could go to Iraq in a different capacity. I wouldn't have to fire a weapon and I wouldn't be in harm's way. But that's not what this is about. Even in my resignation letter I said that I would rather go to prison than do something that I felt was deeply wrong. I believe the whole war is illegal. I'm not just against bearing arms or fighting people. I am against an unjustified war.
SO: You've had about six months to think about this. It's a pretty heavy revelation that you're quite possibly facing prison time. How are you feeling now?
Watada: A lot of people including my parents tried to talk me out of it. And I had to tell them, and I had to convince myself first, that it's not about just trying to survive. It's not about just trying to make sure you're safe. When you are looking your children in the eye in the future, or when you are at the end of your life, you want to look back on your life and know that at a very important moment, when I had the opportunity to make the right decisions, I did so, even knowing there were negative consequences.
SO: What is your intellectual and moral opposition to the Iraq war? What is that based on?
Watada: First, the war was based on false pretenses. If the president tells us we are there to destroy Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, and there are none, why are we there? Then the president said Saddam had ties to al-Qaeda and 9/11. That allegation has been proven to be false too. So why are we going there? The president says we're there to promote democracy, and to liberate the Iraqi people. That isn't happening either.
Second, the Iraq war is not legal according to domestic and international law. It violates the Constitution and the War Powers Act, which limits the president in his role as commander in chief from using the armed forces in any way he sees fit. The UN Charter, the Geneva Convention, and the Nuremberg principles all bar wars of aggression.
Finally, the occupation itself is illegal. If you look at the Army Field Manual, 27-10, which governs the laws of land warfare, it states certain responsibilities for the occupying power. As the occupying power, we have failed to follow a lot of those regulations. There is no justification for why we are there or what we are doing.
SO: One of the common criticisms of military resisters is that you have abandoned your colleagues, and that you are letting others fight a war in your place. What's you're response to this?
Watada: My commander asked me, if everybody like you refused to go to Iraq, what would that leave us with? And I guess he was trying to say we wouldn't have an army anymore, and that would be bad. But I wanted to tell him if that happened the war would stop, because nobody would be there to fight it.
When people say, you're not being a team player or you are letting your buddies down, I want to say that I am fighting for my men still, and I am supporting them. But the conscionable way to support them is not to drop artillery and cause more destruction. It is to oppose this war and help end it so all soldiers can come home. It is my duty not to follow unlawful orders and not participate in things I find morally reprehensible.
SO: Are your feelings common among people in the military?
Watada: The general sentiment of people within the military is that they're getting a little sick and tired of this war. You can tell with the recent Zogby poll that said more than 70% of people in the military want to withdraw the end of this year. That's a powerful statement from people within the military who aren't really given the chance to speak out publicly.
SO: What do you think the US should do in Iraq now?
Watada: I think the US should pull out all troops immediately. The outbreak of the civil war is something that we caused with our invasion and our war. I don't think it's at a point right now where we can fix it.
The legitimacy of the war is not a decision he gets to make.
You make it sound like the people he talked to were the people who wrote his orders and assigned him to Iraq, and that they did it out of spite. He can make his desires known, and he can have all the conversations with his superiors he wants, but where he gets assigned is determined by the needs of the service, and there are people in Washington D.C. whose job it is to analyze the service requirements and assign people accordingly.
You can call him "honorable" all you want to, and that will probably play with people who haven't served, but I'm raising the Bu||$h*t flag.
These two situations are obviously vastly different, but let me ask you a question: do you blame Nazi soldiers who felt what they were doing was wrong for not standing up? Do you agree with what happened at Nuremberg, and the punishments that were given out after the war?
I am assuming that you're refering to the guards at concentration camps, as opposed to those fighting the war. And your question assumes that there were Nazi soldiers who felt what they were doing was wrong. There were Nazis, and there were German soldiers who were not Nazis. When the SA (Brownshirts) and SS were being organized into a paramilitary force, who do you think it was that was being recruited? Thugs and anti Jewish bigots!
The SA (Sturmabteilung) or Storm Troops, the private army of the German Nazi party, who derived their name from the colour of their uniform.
Nazi elite corps established 1925. Under Himmler its 500,000 membership included the full-time Waffen-SS (armed SS), which fought in World War II, and spare-time members. The SS performed state police duties and was brutal in its treatment of the Jews and others in the concentration camps and occupied territories. It was condemned as an illegal organization at the Nuremberg Trials of war criminals.
But even if any of them had had attacks of conscience, they could always apply to go to the eastern front. Since the concentration camps were cush duty, such requests would have been an obvious statement. So, I would disagree with the premise on which your first question is based. With regards to your second question, yes I agree with the results of the Nuremburg trial and the subsequent punishments.
Intentionally killing civilians is UNLAWFUL. THis guys orders are not unlawful. If someone told him to shoot a prisioner in captivity (without a trial and conviction) that would be unlawful. He doesn't get to decide what the right war is the civilian authority does. anything else is anarchy.
Separate names with a comma.