Perhaps the case of Lt. Watada is not strange. But it strikes me as strange. As you must know by now Lt. Watada is the first U.S. military officer to refuse to serve in Iraq. His reason being that he believes the "war" in Iraq is illegal and, if he were to serve in it, he would be party to a war crime. Lt. Watada is no dummy. He knows that both the Constitution of the U.S. and the standard enlistment contract say very clearly that a soldier (marine, sailor, etc.) does not have to obey an illegal order. In fact, it is their duty to disobey an illegal order. As far as I know the
Constitution and the contract do say that. So the basic question should be, is the Iraq "war" illegal.
You might assume that if Watada disobeyed a direct order he could be charged with mutiny, or at least failure to obey a direct order. Perhaps he could be charged with desertion or being AWOL. He did, however, offer to serve in Afghanistan but not in Iraq. He also apparently offered to resign his commission rather than confront the Army over this. The Army refused his offers and he is now on trial.
The officer in charge of his trial has announced that his claim the war is illegal is irrelevant, thus taking away any chance he might have of proving the correctness of his position. Why is it irrelevant? Because he is charged with "missing movements" and conduct unbecoming an officer. I guess missing movements means he didn't agree to go to Iraq. Conduct unbecoming has to do with the fact that he publicly spoke out against the "war" and was critical of the President. So why is he being charged with two relatively minor charges instead of mutiny, desertion, or something more serious? Obviously because the Military does not want to have to discuss or determine whether the "war" is legal or not. If Watada should win with his claim of illegality what might that do to the further conduct of the "war?" How would the rest of our troops react to the knowledge that they were involved in an illegal enterprise? Clearly this would be a big problem. So, if the powers that be (the Army, Pentagon, White House, etc.) think their "war" is legal, why don't they try to prove that Watada is wrong?
Because the "war" is clearly, blatantly, obviously, completely, monumentally, demonstrably, and unquestionably illegal. In a court of law, or even in a court of military justice, they could never argue that what we are doing in Iraq is legal. They know this. So they just arrange it so they don't have to acknowledge it. What they are doing to Watada, with these relatively minor charges, is simply to punish him for telling the truth.
What this means, to me at least, is that our Constitution and our enlistment contracts are basically meaningless. This goes beyond a mere catch 22. As a member of the military you have an obligation to disobey an illegal order, but if you do so the legality is not open to question. This is not the first time this situation has occurred and the military has followed the same procedure every time (there were apparently similar cases during VietNam). The truthfulness of Lt. Watada's claims becomes simply irrelevant. So for trying to tell the truth Lt. Watada will probably serve two or more years in the brig. So much for truth and justice.
It seems there is a little problem of a trillion (TRILLION) dollar Pentagon accounting problem. It seems they simply cannot account for this (taxpayers' ) money over the past few years. This would seem to go beyond the $600 toilet seats and other scandals of a few years back. But what the hell, a trillion dollars is just chicken feed to this administration (the absolute worst in all of U.S. history). But not to worry, Bush wants to give the Pentagon billions more to pour into the pockets of Halliburton, Boeing, GM, Lockeed Martin, and etc. Hey, it takes money to fight those terrorists who at this very moment are building a huge Armada to invade our country (if we don't fight them there they will follow us here). Some of the worst ones are those in Somalia - you know, the ones on the camels. Our country, the United States of America, has become completely insane. We can't even pass a non-binding resolution opposing this madness.
Stop the world! I think I finally want to get off. Cancel tomorrow for lack of interest! For God's sake, DO SOMETHING!