Wednesday, June 07, 2006

US officer makes a stand on the legality of the Iraq war

From the Seattle Times

In a rare case of officer dissent, a Fort Lewis Army lieutenant has refused orders to head out to Iraq this month to lead troops in what he believes is an illegal war of occupation.

1st Lt. Ehren Watada's Stryker brigade is scheduled to make its first deployment to Iraq this month. His refusal to accompany these troops puts him at risk of court-martial and years of prison time. "I feel that we have been lied to and betrayed by this administration," Watada said Tuesday in a telephone interview from Fort Lewis. "It is the duty, the obligation of every soldier, and specifically the officers, to evaluate the legality, the truth behind every order — including the order to go to war."

In making his decision, Watada has reached out to peace groups, including clergy, students, some veterans opposed to Iraq and others. Some war critics are raising money for his legal defense as they seek to galvanize broader opposition to Bush administration policy in Iraq.