Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ehren Watada - Objections to War ?

Ehren Watada, an officer the the U.S. Army, has taken a courageous stand in refusing to go back to Iraq, contesting the legality of this War. He has appeared at various protests against the War in the Pacific Northwest. Watada had offered to go to Afghanistan instead, indicating that he wasn't opposed to wars in general. Now he faces up to six years in military prison, facing a certain military court conviction, after the military judge has indicated that he can't contest the legality of the Iraqi War in his court defense.

In this case strangely I find that I agree with the court position. The place where this War should be contested should be in protests in the streets as well as in Congress. The military is not the place for individual soldiers to Not Face Consequences when they refuse military orders. If Watada's resistence leads to others doing similar, perhaps politicians will finally take strong enough action to stop the War. I admire his stand. I think that he should do as he is doing and face his trial standing up for his beliefs.

Watada is doing an admirable thing! He will pay for his convictions in part. He also is growing as a person and hopefully will be a better person for his actions.

Watada apparently though doesn't see the clear pattern of U.S. foreign policy which includes Afghanistan, Iran, Venezuela and elsewhere today as well as Nicaragua, Cuba, The Phillipines, Iran (again), Mexico and many other countries. Native Americans were lied to and conquered as the U.S. was "settled" and our country has a shameful history since then.

We are not "bad people" or a "bad country".

We do need to recognize that our foreign policy intends to support what are labeled "our interests". Such interests often represent a narrow view of the world which at various times ignored and ignores the interests of most people in other countries as well as in our own country.

Seeing the similar patterns over time and working to change the system as a whole is most important! Labeling other countries such as France negatively when they refuse to support our aggression is not helpful. Recognizing how our foreign policy often represents powerful U.S. and increasingly multi-national economic interests is important.

It is said in the media now that there is a political divide between:

1.) some Republicans (primarily) who remain scared of "terrorism" and support an aggressive foreign policy largely supportive of Mr. Bush (or at least his aims) and

2.) most Democrats (primarily) - whose voting public wish a withdrawal from the international arena (not just Iraq and Afghanistan) including not supporting a hypothetical future military action in a country where there is a known terrorist threat to the U.S.

The "War on Terrorism" represents a political effort of Mr. Bush and his allies to paint many groups opposed to U.S. policy as somehow in a united effort against us. Ignorance and scare tactics help make people believe that Sunni and Shiite bitter enemies of each other are somehow united against us. Individual efforts elsewhere are bunched together generally totally inaccurately.

There are serious threats of nuclear war and terror particularly with countries like North Korea. Iran is certainly a potential threat to the U.S.

We should be talking, talking, talking with our "enemies" and others. We will disagree with others, but we can respect them and respect the threats they may pose to us by talking with them and keeping communication open.

The efforts of the Bushites help create new real threats and build a state of perpetual war efforts. As people in other countries are not listened to and are labeled "the enemy" by the Bushites, more and more people do in fact turn to Islamic fundamentalism and other efforts that do in many cases become real "terrorist threats".

The reaction to this among many U.S. citizens unfortunately is not to learn the deeper meanings of what is going on. People generally don't see much of this! They react in some ways similar to popular U.S. reaction after World War I - putting their heads in the sand and wanting no part of what is going on in much of the rest of the world.

After World War I the rise of Hitler and facism was heavily influenced by how the U.S., England and France tried to punish the Germans and ignored the effects of their actions until it was too late.

It is unclear what the effects may be of U.S. efforts to disengage from foreign conflicts. Some politicians are trying to work on a middle ground which might help. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico brokered a peace agreement in Somalia. Jimmy Carter, despite his age, works for peace in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Hopefully over time U.S. citizens will begin to be more aware and help push our politicians in good ways. - is a good source of self-education on Israel-Palestine issues.

Howard Zinn ( - wrote a wonderful book (available in paperback) entitled "A Peoples History of the United States" which is a great primer for understanding the present state of the U.S. as being a continuation of the past.

There are many similar good sources of information on the internet related to other important issues.


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