Please execute Ehren Watada. Though the Hawaiian native supposedly earned the rank of Lieutenant in our military, it is obvious that he does not deserve the honorific. Watada has committed a cardinal sin – he refused to accept orders to ship out to Iraq. I surmise that for at least three reasons, Watada is the worst that the U.S. military can offer.
- He thinks – about legal principles like Article 90 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and that clause which clarifies the offense of disobeying an order with the caveat that such orders must be lawful;
- He reads – stuff that helps him think that the Bush ordered invasion and occupation of Iraq is illegal, e.g. the Constitution, the Geneva Conventions’ declarations on the supreme crime of aggressive war, and the UN Charter – to which the U.S. is a signatory – which limits the grounds by which a nation can invade another legally (given Article VI of the Constitution, I guess Bush does need a permission slip to order an invasion); and
- He listens – to people like generals who say there is a civil war in Iraq, Kofi Annan who said that the U.S. invasion is illegal (a war crime), and heart-wrenching tales of torture from Moazzam Begg, Maher Arar, Khalid El-Masri, Ruhal Ahmed, Asif Iqbal, and Shafiq Rasul. So what if they were released, they were still terrorists right?
What is the point of billions of dollars in military training, buying cluster bombs, and building super-sized military bases and embassies with Burger Kings and swimming pools, if someone like Watada can slip through the cracks? His country was attacked on 9/11! So what if Bush said that Iraq had nothing to do with that? Why won’t Watada blithely sign up to shoot the Hajjis – they all look alike to me. Just because Watada’s heritage is Japanese, why can’t he just be a regular jarhead and go kill some Sand Niggers?Even if Watada is not one of the few chauvinists in our Christian military – I think Army Chaplin James Yee encountered some – why isn’t Watada chicken enough to obey all orders? There must be thousands of active personnel in the U.S. military who think that the war is illegal, but do you hear them complaining about the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq? Who is Camilo Mejia, Aidan Delgado or Suzanne Swift? They are the exception, not the rule. The rule of the informal code of in the military is to obey all orders or risk having one of your buddies shoot you in the back for being a crybaby. And if your commanders in Iraq doubt your propensity for blind obedience, you can take point when your patrol does the house raids against the Mehdi Army.
President Bush, do not waste time allowing the military to go through their process with the traitor Watada. You are the decider! Send him to Guantánamo. Watada doesn’t deserve a trial. How did you put it in one of your State of the Empire addresses? “Either you are with us, or with the terrorists!” Watada is definitely not on the side of empire – therefore, he is a terrorist. And like so many members of the Senate and House said last session, when they passed the Military Commissions Act, “why should terrorists get the same rights as American Citizens?” I agree. Under the MCA, a defendant has no right to a speedy trial, can have statements extracted through torture used against him, and be convicted due to secret evidence that neither he nor his lawyers can see. The terrorists are not fighting fair, why should we? A regular trial for Watada, be it a Court Martial, would just give him a platform to spew his propaganda. Come to think of it, even some Military Commission in Gitmo might be too good for him.
If you allow Watada to have some type of formal hearing, with witnesses or worse the liberal press (remember Judith Miller is not at the New York Times anymore), Watada and his attorneys would probably cite the Constitution and reference American treaties that are supposed to be supreme law of the land. They would explain how the U.S. is a signatory to the quaint Geneva Convention that was used to convict the Nazis for aggressive war. Then Watada’s defense team would conclude that since the invasion and occupation of Iraq is a war crime, any and all actions by U.S. military personal following such orders is also a war crime. Finally Watada’s legal defense would want to read Article 90 of the UCMJ literally.
Such a defense is nothing more than pre-9/11 thinking. Thank goodness that a military judge, Col. John Head, has already ruled that Watada is not allowed to raise “the war is illegal” defense. Furthermore Mr. Bush, you could prevent Watada’s defense in one fell swoop – like you said, the job of the Executive is to interpret the law. And since the Uniform Code of Military Justice was adopted prior to 9/11, you can just decide that it does not apply anymore.
Let us look at the big picture. Why should anyone in the all volunteer military be free to ignore any illegal and immoral orders? Remember Watada volunteered. That means he cannot quit whenever he wants. When I volunteered for a member of Congress, I could not just quit when I wanted. More importantly Watada’s concern for legality is misplaced. We are in Iraq so we can have freedom at home – free to have our mail intercepted, phones tapped, and internet searches pulled without anyone needing a judicial search warrant. Like you said Mr. President, “Freedom is the Almighty’s gift to the world” and charity starts at home. Does Watada think that people in Iraq are going to worry about law when they kill U.S. mercenaries or take revenge for their daughter or cousin being raped and killed? Did anyone in Iraq bother to consider the law when they hanged Saddam Hussein?
Make an example of Watada, Mr. President. God called you to be the head of the greatest nation in the world for a reason. I have heard you talk about your thoughts and prayers for every American family that has lost a loved one in this crusade. You probably suffer silently for the 150,000 with lost limbs, significant brain injury and those sick from exposure to depleted uranium. If Watada followed orders, and God forbid, something happened to him, I am sure that you would tell his mother that he died for a noble cause. A cause so noble that not just anyone can go – otherwise the twins would be in the Special Forces.
We have to stay the course until the job is done, no matter what Watada, or the fired generals, or John Murtha, or the Iraqi people say. The faster Watada’s case is finished – hopefully through his execution (as the UCMJ allows) – the faster that our troops on the ground can get back to the important jobs like securing Baghdad, re-pacifying Falluja, and launching a nuclear attack on the greatest threat to world peace, Iran.
(I am pretty sure this last part is true because Iran has good relations with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Lou Dobbs of CNN said that Iran is the world’s largest sponsor of terror. When the liberal media advocates any position of the Bush administration and American Enterprise Institute, it must be true).
In closing, thank you for not calling for a draft, nobody wants to see Jenna or Barbara Bush wearing Kevlar outside the Green Zone. And thank you for not pushing for an energy policy that would injure the profits of ExxonMobil, Shell and BP. I know this is what Jesus would want.