CODEPINKers at Lt. Ehren
Watada's rally in Vancouver, June 27, 2006
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The future of Lt. Watada's court-martial is now in the hands of the generals at Fort Lewis. Phone calls and letters from around the country could make a difference. Forward this urgent action alert to the members of your group and others who might be interested.
On June 22, U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the unlawful Iraq War and occupation. Lt. Watada was been formally charged with contempt towards President Bush, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, and missing movement. For the first time since 1965, the military is prosecuting an objector for his opinions. He faces more than 7 years in prison - over five years for First Amendment speech alone!
On August 17, U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada succeeded in placing the war on trial during an Article 32 pre-trial hearing in a military courtroom at Fort Lewis, Washington. The investigating officer recommended that Lt. Watada be referred to a general court martial on all charges – including five charges for political speech.
Fort Lewis' Commanding General, Lieutenant General James Dubik makes the final decision on whether to proceed to court-martial on any or all charges. Please take a moment today to phone and write Lt. Gen. James Dubik and respectfully request “no court martial for Lt. Watada.”
Use your own words, but a suggested message would be:
"Along with tens of thousands, I support Lt. Ehren Watada's right to refuse an illegal war. I ask that you not bring court martial proceedings against him. If there is a court-martial this fall, I look forward to visiting Ft. Lewis and letting you know how I feel in person."
Lt. Gen. Dubik can be reached via his aide Lt. Colonel Kamper at 253-967-0022, and/or call the Ft.Lewis switchboard at 253-967-1110.
Or you can write to him at:
Fort Lewis and I Corps
Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik
Building 2025 Stop 1
Fort Lewis, WA 98433
When writing, please consider a handwritten letter on stationary (if available) posted via express or priority mail for additional impact and timely delivery. We expect that Lt. Gen. Dubik will issue his decision next week, but there is no required timeline. Do not delay and take action today. The contact address and phone numbers for Lt. Gen. Dubik may change over the course of this action alert, so check here for these and other updates.
Here is a letter from Ehren's mom, Carolyn:
June 22, 2006
To the Women of CODEPINK,
I am the mother of Lt. Ehren Watada, an officer stationed at Ft. Lewis. He is part of a Stryker brigade unit that deployed today to Iraq. Despite an unflinching commitment to his men and to democratic ideals, he chose not to accompany his men. His decision came through much soul-searching and through research and consultation with experts across disciplines, inside and outside of the military and the government.
After weighing the evidence, he came to the conclusion that he could no longer be silent while atrocities were committed in the name of democracy. He could no longer be a tool of an administration that used deception and lies to make the case for pre-emptive war.
As a member of the armed forces, sworn to uphold the US Constitution, he refuses to blindly participate in a war of aggression, an illegal war that undermines who we are as a nation and violates international law. Implicit in his oath as an officer is the duty to disobey all unlawful orders for; to carry out these orders renders him an accomplice to a criminal act. Furthermore, to order his men to participate in a war of aggression multiplies his guilt a thousand fold. His conscience will not permit him to do so. He believes that he can best serve them by taking a stand against the war. In so doing, he demonstrates that one does not relinquish the freedom to choose what is right, even in the military, and that the freedom to choose what is right transcends the allegiance to man and institutions.
As a mother, I have evolved from fearing for his safety and for his future to the realization that there is a higher purpose to all that has transpired. My son no longer stands at the crossroads. He has chosen “the road less travelled.” Come what may, he is committed to staying the course.
I invite you to affirm your support of Lt. Ehren Watada on June 27th, National Day of Action. On this day, groups across the country will participate in peaceful demonstrations, prayer services, candle light vigils, parades, leafleting, visitations to recruitment stations to provide counsel to prospective recruits, etc. Please contact your local organization for details.
For updates on news and actions regarding Lt. Watada, please check out: www.thankyoult.org or www.couragetoresist.org.
My deepest thanks,
CODEPINK Co-founder Medea Benjamin visited Ehren and his mom, Carolyn, in Portland, Oregon last week. Ehren pledged to join the Troops Home Fast on the 4th of July.
More information from CODEPINK:
To demonstrate our solidarity, CODEPINK participated in a National Day of Action on Tuesday, June 27th to support Ehren as he officially resists deployment. This is only the first step to building for mass national actions around the Court Martial days, which will likely be in August. This campaign of action holds the potential to renew and re-energize our struggle from within the U.S. to end the occupation of Iraq, and strengthen grassroots movements for justice and peace. Additionally, a vigorous support movement is Ehren's best defense against violations of his civil rights by the military, including the possibility of forced deployment.
"A war can end when the soldiers choose to stop fighting it," says Ehren in the spirit of the GI resistance movement that played a major role in ending the Vietnam War, along with civilian support. We need YOU to be part of making this movement rise again.
For more information, to sign a support petition, and/or contribute funds and resources to build his campaign visit: www.ThankYouLt.org or www.couragetoresist.org.