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Judge, Not Wanting To Put Legality of War on Trial, Declares Mistrial.

Posted in H.L. News, Main Blog (All Posts) on February 11th, 2007 3:20 pm by HL

Will the Watada Mistrial Spark an End to the War?

The Nation
On the surface, the ruling by Lieut. Col. John Head appears to result from a procedural technicality, but in fact it is a defeat for the Army’s central goal in prosecuting the 28-year-old officer. The judge had gone to extraordinary lengths to try to keep Watada from achieving his objective of “putting the war on trial,” ruling that Watada’s motivations for refusing to deploy with his unit were “irrelevant” and that no witnesses could testify on the illegality of the war.

But in its zeal to exclude the real meaning of the case, the court tied itself up in procedural knots. Prosecutors wanted the judge to find that Watada had agreed to pretrial stipulations that he had violated his duty when he refused to show up for movement to Iraq. But Watada made clear that he believed his duty, under his oath and military law, was to refuse to participate in an illegal war. As the underlying question of the war’s illegality emerged like a family secret in the courtroom, the judge agreed to the prosecutor’s motion to declare a mistrial. But Time.com reported that Watada’s attorney, Eric Seitz, says he will file an immediate motion to dismiss the case on grounds of double jeopardy if the Army tries to resurrect it.

Thank You Lt. Watada for Refusing to Participate in an Illegal War

West Point Graduates Against the War
Dear Lieutenant Ehren Watada: We are pleased to write to you to express our profound respect and gratitude for your refusal to participate in the illegal war in Iraq. We stand with you regarding the illegality of the orders issued to you and fully support your exercising your conscientious duty to refuse to obey them.

As graduates of the United States Military Academy and former officers in the armed forces of this nation we are enormously encouraged by your example. We too have served our country during war and during peace and we agree with your honorable and courageous decision. Your refusal to fight this illegal war in Iraq has heartened us. It is our hope that your example will encourage others to re-examine their own principles of truth, personal honor and the rule of law that are the founding precepts of our democracy, and act as their consciences dictate as you did.

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