How Not To Refuse Unlawful Orders
Expect the evening news tomorrow night to be filled with stories of a "brave" Army Lieutenant. The actions he'll be lauded for don't fit the traditional definition of bravery, but you'll see pundits far and wide hailing his actions. Here's what he'll be celebrated for: refusing to deploy with his unit to Iraq.
1st Lt. Ehren K. Watada says, through his lawyer, that he cannot "participate in a war that he cannot justify or support legally and morally". Many of us have probably thought about what we'd do if given what we felt was an illegal order -- we all got training when we first came into the military that we weren't obligated to follow such an order. I always figured I'd explain to the person who gave me the order why I felt it was illegal, and then take it up the chain of command if that was available. If worse came to worse, I'd probably get my Congressman involved. One action I wouldn't take, though, was holding a "coordinated news conference". His parents apparently support his decision; his father is fairly well-known in Hawaiian political circles.
Watada claims that the current war is illegal. Interestingly, he joined the Army in June 2003, after we had invaded Iraq (so the concept that he might have to go there shouldn't have come as a surprise to him); his obligation ends in December of this year. I'm interested to know where he gets the idea that our current occupation of Iraq is illegal; not only has Congress supported the continued action through appropriations, the United Nations Security Council specifically authorized (unanimously) the current coalition military operations in Iraq.
Wizbang and Stop the ACLU have more on the story. As a commenter at Wizbang says, I wonder if he'll refuse to go to Leavenworth, too.
Update 1756 07 June: Michelle Malkin (who was kind enough to send some traffic my way) has much, much more on the story.
Update 2357 08 June: Michelle devoted today's Vent to the story, and once again mentioned this post. I do have one small quibble with her vent, though -- she say that Lieutenant Watada faces a dishonorable discharge, when actually commissioned officers can't get either a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge; the officer equivalent is dismissal.