Watada can’t base defense on war’s legality, judge says

The truth is hard for some to swallow. It’s not OK to desert. (refuse, object, blah, blah) And it’s not OK to encourage others to do so. It doesn’t matter how you choose to justify your decision.

The Seattle Times: Local News: Watada can’t base defense on war’s legality, judge says
In a major blow to the court-martial defense of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, a military judge has ruled that the Fort Lewis Army officer cannot try to justify his refusal to deploy to Iraq by raising questions about the legality of the war.

The ruling released Tuesday sets the stage for a Feb. 5 court-martial trial, where Watada faces up to six years in prison for his failure to join his brigade in Iraq last June and his outspoken attacks on the Bush administration conduct of the war.

…also rejected defense attorneys’ claim that Watada’s First Amendment rights shielded him from charges relating to his criticism of the war.

…there are limits to the free-speech rights of military personnel and that a military panel should decide whether Watada’s criticism of the war amounted to officer misconduct that could have endangered the morale, loyalty and discipline of troops.

And more good news for those who believe that serving your nation doesn’t mean to tear it down.

“We have been stripped of every defense,” said Eric Seitz, a civilian attorney representing Watada.


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