I’d really rather let Janie write this up, but SleepyBelle was up pretty late. She writes better than me, and knows the best way to phrase stuff and this is important. But I’m letting her sleep because she’s been stressing so bad over this whole WordPress thing. Plus, I think I want her well rested for a little later today. 😉 So you’re stuck with me. Grin and bare it, baby. 🙂
I’ll cross post it at both of our blogs.
1Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, of Honolulu refused an order. He was ordered to ship out for Iraq, but didn’t.
That’s a court martial. You have to obey all the legal orders given to you by your superior officers in the military, and I get why that is. It’s important. You can’t run a military where nobody obeys orders. Shit would just break down.
Watada, who joined the Army in March 2003, has called the Iraq war “a horrible breach of American law” and said he has a duty to refuse illegal orders.
Watada, a member of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, requested that his case be heard by a military panel of officers, the equivalent of a jury. A panel of seven officers was selected Monday.
He’s right. And he has the right to argue that at court martial. It’s a valid defense at a court martial. You are not required to obey illegal orders. In fact, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ – it’s the book of military law) specifically gives a Marine, Sailor, Soldier, or Airman the right and responsibility to refuse to obey illegal orders.
That’s so that when things like the My Lai massacre happen, everyone involved is held responsible. If an officer, no matter what rank he has, orders you to kill an innocent civilian or shoot a Prisoner, you are not only allowed but required to disobey that order. And the UCMJ says that you will not be punished for disobeying that order. “My Lt. made me do it” is not a good excuse.
But 1Lt. Watada is being court martialed for disobeying what he believes is an illegal order, and now the military judge in the case, Lt. Col. John Head has hamstrung his defense. Not only is the judge excluding most of the witnesses he needs to properly defend himself, but he has ruled that 1Lt. Watada can’t debate the legality of the war.
Here’s why this is a really bad thing – what happens the next time some whack job officer orders his platoon to wipe out a village of civilians? I’ll tell you what. Nobody speaks up and disobeys the order, because they know that disobeying an order in a combat theatre can be a death-penalty offense. So innocent people die, and United States military personell stand around in a circle jerk saying “My Lt. made me do it”.
Nothing good can come from this.