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Military veterans stand behind “illegal war” refuser Lt. Watada
by Jeff Paterson, Not in Our Name (jeff [at] paterson.net)
Monday Aug 14th, 2006 1:12 PM
Hundreds of military veterans welcome Iraq war refuse Lt. Ehren Watada as a keynote speaker of Veterans for Peace convention with chants of "thank you LT!"
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SEATTLE (August 12, 2006) – Hundreds of military veterans rose to their feet this evening in an impromptu chant, “Thank You Lieutenant Watada!” Lt. Ehren Watada publicly refused to deploy with the Fort Lewis, Washington-based 3rd Stryker Brigade on June 22 becoming the first military officer to take such a stand. At least here at the closing banquet of the national Veterans for Peace convention, his courage was clearly appreciated by the 500 attendees of the more than 5,000 member national organization.

As Lt. Watada took the stage to the chorus of “thank you,” three dozen members of the growing Iraq Veterans Against the War filed on stage to stand behind him. All of them members of the U.S. military since September 11, 2001 – most of them Iraq War veterans.

Lt. Watada outlined his case to put the war on trial in the course of the military’s prosecution of his resistance. On August 17th, in a military courtroom on Fort Lewis, Washington the first test of this strategy to help end the Iraq occupation war will be put into play. At this Article 32 pre-trial hearing, the defense will have former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations Dennis Halliday take the stand. Additionally, U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright (ret.) and international law professor Francis Boyle will also appear for the defense.

Lt. Watada also challenged attendees to take up the defense of all members of the military who look into their conscience and find themselves unable to follow illegal orders with greater efforts. Currently facing over five years in a military prison for his speech and opinions alone – contempt of the president and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman – his appearance before the convention held extra gravity. At the end, the hall rose for a final standing ovation.

Many conference attendees supported Lt. Watada battle against the illegal occupation war prior to hearing him speak Saturday night; however, many expressed that they didn’t really understand what “the big deal” was regarding his case until this evening.
§Lt. Watada welcomed to the stage
by Jeff Paterson, Not in Our Name Monday Aug 14th, 2006 1:12 PM
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TOP: Lt. Watada backed by three dozen members of Iraq Veterans Against the War
§Lt. Watada backed by members of Iraq Veterans Against the War
by Jeff Paterson, Not in Our Name Monday Aug 14th, 2006 1:12 PM
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§Lt. Watada backed by members of Iraq Veterans Against the War
by Jeff Paterson, Not in Our Name Monday Aug 14th, 2006 1:12 PM
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§Lt. Watada backed by members of Iraq Veterans Against the War
by Jeff Paterson, Not in Our Name Monday Aug 14th, 2006 1:12 PM
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§Lt. Watada finishes his presentation
by Jeff Paterson, Not in Our Name Monday Aug 14th, 2006 1:12 PM
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§Lt. Ehren Watada with Veterans for Peace National President David Cline
by Jeff Paterson, Not in Our Name Monday Aug 14th, 2006 1:12 PM
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
SupportAl S. AlcalaThursday Aug 31st, 2006 4:53 PM
Support for Lt WatadaDon CurtissMonday Aug 28th, 2006 3:30 AM
SupportPhil DavisWednesday Aug 16th, 2006 3:21 PM