First Lieutenant Ehren Watada still refuses Iraq deployment orders, calling the war illegal. A six-year prison term could result. Preliminary hearings are set for Thursday.
First Lt. Ehren Watada, a 28-year-old Hawaii native, is the first commissioned officer in the U.S. to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq
. He announced last June his decision not to deploy on the grounds the war is illegal.
Lt. Watada was based at Fort Lewis, Washington, with the Army's 3rd (Stryker) Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. He has remained on base, thus avoiding charges of desertion.
He does, however, face one count of "missing troop movement" and four counts of "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman." If convicted, he faces up to six years in prison.
Watada's court martial is on February 5. A pre-trial hearing is set for January 4, with an added scope of controversy: the Army has ordered two freelance journalists, Sarah Olson and Dahr Jamail, to testify against Lt. Watada at the hearing. Both journalists are fighting the subpoenas.
Kevin Sites recently spoke with Lt. Watada about the reasoning behind his decision, the controversy the decision has caused and how he is dealing with the repercussions.
Lt. Watada spoke on the phone from his family's home in Hawaii. Click here
to listen to the full audio version of the conversation. A transcript of the interview follows.
The interview is located here:
Do you agree or disagree with this man?