Larry Kerschner Writes

Lt. Watada is a true patriot

Editor, The Chronicle,

       I would like to applaud the stand taken by Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada.  He is the first U.S. Military officer who has refused to be deployed to Iraq .  He is an artillery officer with the Stryker Brigade stationed at Ft. Lewis.  He joined the military because he believed what the U.S. Government was saying about Weapons of Mass Destruction and Iraqi ties to Al Qa’ida.  He has subsequently learned that all the Bush administration claims were pure and simple lies.  He notes in his public statement that he swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people.  He did not swear an oath to blindly follow illegal and immoral orders. When I met him he struck me as an honorable and idealistic young man.  He, unlike me, is not a pacifist.  He would be willing to serve in Afghanistan as he believes that is a legal military action.

      In the United States , the legal war authority for the military depends solely on a declaration of war by the U.S. Congress.  Congress cannot transfer that war making authority to the Executive Branch.  Even if Congress could give President Bush the ability to declare war, under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution “all treaties made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby”.  Several of those treaties are the Nuremberg Conventions, the Geneva Conventions, and the U.N. Charter.  Under the U.N. Charter all war is illegal aggression unless it is genuine self defense.  The Bush administration calls the war against the people of Iraq a pre-emptive war which is thus clearly illegal. 

       Under the Geneva Conventions the bombing of hospitals and the forcible transfer of populations from their homes as we have done in Fallujah and are currently doing in Ramadah, mass roundups and imprisonment of non-combatants, destruction of food crops, use of weapons such as cluster bombs and white phosphorus which are indiscriminate  in the death and suffering they cause, the use of economic sanctions after it is clear that they are causing suffering and death, torture of prisoners, dead-checking in which disabled prisoners are shot, and rendition which is torture by proxy are all illegal war crimes of the United States. 

      Lt. Watada is a true patriot who should be honored for his willingness to stand up and say that what we are doing is wrong.  I hope that many other patriots who are currently in the military will join him.  There was a saying in the Sixties.  What if they gave a war and nobody came?

 Larry Kerschner  POB 397  Pe Ell WA 98572  (H) 360-291-3946  (W)360-291-3232