Thursday, February 08, 2007

1LT Ehren Watada: Mistrial

1LT Watada's trial ended when the judge declared a mistrial. 1LT Watada faced up to four years in prison.

He will likely be retried. His lawyer is attempting to argue that jeopardy has attached, and that the government cannot retry him based on double jeopardy. The military wants to prosecute Lt Watada, and this will probably go to appeals court.

"Military judge Lt. Col. John Head said he did not believe Watada, who is from Honolulu, fully understood a document he signed admitting to elements of the charges against him.

The judge announced his decision after Watada, under questioning with the military jury absent, said he never intended to admit he had a duty to go to Iraq with his fellow soldiers -- one element of the crime of missing troop movement.

Watada told the judge he understood what he had signed but was not admitting guilt since he believed he still had a defense -- that the war was illegal.

"I'm not seeing we have a meeting of the minds here," the judge said. "And if there is not a meeting of the minds, there's not a contract."" - Melanthia Mitchell, Honolulu Star Bulletin (

I will continue to pray for Lt Watada.

Meanwhile, I would like to respond to a comment made on my earlier post ( Sue argues that Lt Watada is being needlessly made into "some sort of poster child" for refusing to deploy.

"If he was wanting to make a stand for his beliefs, he would have done so by filing for his CO status. All I hear in the media is that he is "courageous", FOR WHAT? I will NOT applaud soliders like him, a true CO will not run away, nor refuse they will file thru proper paperwork."

As I replied, CO status is only granted if soldiers declare objection to war in general. Lt Watada thinks that the war in Iraq, specifically, is illegal. In fact, he requested deployment to Afghanistan or another zone, but the Army refused. Only then did he denounce the war and refuse to deploy. Frankly, he has a pretty good chance of going to prison. Sue may be able to make a good argument that he is misguided, but if she thinks Watada is a coward, I would remind her that mental health counselling is available.

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