Lt. Watada is scheduled to go on trial at Fort Lewis, Washington on February 5. He will face two years imprisonment for â€œmissing movement,â€ and four additional years imprisonment â€“ one for each count of â€œconduct unbecoming an officerâ€ â€“ for his public statements critical of the Iraq War.
Although he is being court-martialed for comments he made that were critical of the war, the defence has been denied the right to introduce evidence supporting Lt Watadaâ€™s charge that he is not obligated to engage in illegal combat operations. On January 16, Lieutenant Colonel John Head, the judge in the pre-trial Watada hearing, ruled that the defence could not introduce evidence or arguments that would put the war on trial. One would hope that a trial of an individual who has acted out of conscience against a war would permit a vigorous defence on the nature of the war that induced the defendant’s action. It is a show trial when the military tries one of its own officers for having the fortitude to challenge the system of blind obedience and adhere to a higher law of conscience and ethical liberation.
How Blind is Justice When an Antiwar Officer is Tried by Other Military Officers?