Lt. Watada is scheduled to go on trial at Fort Lewis, Washington on February 5. He will face two years imprisonment for “missing movement,” and four additional years imprisonment – one for each count of “conduct unbecoming an officer” – 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 Watada’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?