BY KEN MOCHIZUKI
Examiner Assistant Editor
International Examiner: What is your current assignment at Fort Lewis?
Watada: My current assignment is serving on the main base which is I Corps or 1st Corps. There’s no other way to put it – it’s an administrative position. I help out in any way I can, and I told my commanders, I mean my supervisors, that I’m just here to work. They’ve been pretty fair and professional to me since I’ve joined that unit. 1st Corps is a headquarters unit, so a lot of civilians, Department of Army civilians work in 1st Corps. It kind of gives you the difference between the ground unit, the infantry guys, the grunts, they go out and do their training, as opposed to the headquarters unit, which is primarily the bureaucracy, the administrative work, so that’s what they have me doing right now.
IE: Are there differences in their treatment of you, when you were on the base, and what you’re doing now, with a mix of civilians also?
Watada: I think everybody just tries to keep their distance. One person I work directly with, she’s a civilian, and what ever is going on with you, it’s not my business, so I’m not going to get involved, but she’s been very nice and cordial to me. As opposed to when I was with the maneuver, the combat unit, I work with a lot of high-ranking officers, and nobody says anything to me – they’re all just professional, and they don’t broach the subject. And that’s fine by me. I don’t try to boast around the post. I’ve been very lucky in that nobody has come up to me, on base or off base, and has been hostile toward me. During the pre-trial, when I went off-base, some of the officers recognized me, but nobody said anything. Several soldiers and I think they were dependents approach me on base and off base, and gave me their overwhelming support. That’s surprising to me. They either support me or at least respect what I’m doing. And this is coming directly from the military.
IE: Either they support you in private, or they don’t say anything at all? Has that been the pattern?
Watada: Yes. I’ve had officers and enlisted approach me and say I support what you’re doing. And I’ve had some people who say I respect the stand that you’re taking, it takes a lot of guts, not a lot of people do that kind of thing, or are willing to put themselves out there.
IE: Trevor Fitzgivens – what would you call him, your publicist?
Watada: For what reason are you asking?
IE: It leads to this next question: he was telling me you can only talk after 5 p.m. and that’s when your job ends and you are out of uniform.
Watada: I would call him a paid media consultant.
IE: So, is that a stand you’re taking, something you’re fighting for? When you take off your uniform, you can say what you want?
Watada: Usually since Vietnam, that has been the standard. You can go to protests, you can go to political rallies, but you can’t do it during duty hours, and you can’t do it in uniform. The protocol has been that the Army allows First Amendment rights as long as they don’t do it in any way that gives the impression that they are representing the Army.
IE: Is it called a court martial trial?
Watada: General court martial.
IE: You’re facing this, you’ve had your pre-trial hearing, could be possibly facing six years in a military prison – so, how are you doing? Is there a lot of stress right now?
Watada: There’s a little bit of stress because there is just so much to do. And, the main effort right now is to just to get the word out about my case and getting the awareness out to the American people. It’s been very difficult to get it out to mainstream America, to the mainstream press, but I think Trevor is trying to help out with that. I’ve also done a lot of these interviews for smaller papers – which are good – which I think are equally important.
IE: Why is it difficult to get it out to the mainstream press?
Watada: I think it’s because this issue is beyond just me. The media hasn’t been too sure what to think about it, and people, too. The issue is hard to comprehend, and I think people and the media, like in Hawaii, have been trying to make it a personal issue. I’ll give you an example: the Japanese Cultural Center in Hawaii wants to do some kind of educational panel about my issue. And the title of it is Lt. Ehren Watada: dissenter or deserter? That was going to be the press release that was going out to the public. One of the organizers from the Japanese American Citizens League, who will be speaking on my behalf, asked about how I felt about the press release. When you put dissenter and deserter in there, it’s an inaccurate representation of what the issue is because I’m not a deserter. The military defines desertion as somebody who leaves the Army and has no intention to come back. That’s not the case. I’ve said publicly that I’m willing to face the consequences for my action. But, I would ask that I be given a fair trial. So, there’s no desertion there. And, when it comes to dissension, I have dissented, obviously, against the orders I’ve been given. A better title, a better dichotomy would have been, “patriot or traitor.” That’s what I wrote to her, and I didn’t even like that because it didn’t define what the issue is, and issue is, is the war legal or not. And, two, what is the responsibility of the American citizen? And if the war is illegal and immoral, what is their responsibility to end it? And, three, how the illegality of the war puts soldiers into a moral and legal quagmire in which they have to make a difficult decision. To they just do what they’re told, or do they do what their conscience dictates to them, knowing that it comes with pretty horrible consequences? Like prison, like if you have a family, loss of income, benefits, and things like that. So, those are the issues, and it’s been hard to get the media to define it as such when they talk about the story. It’s more of a personal thing – here’s this soldier that refuses to go, and do you think he’s right or wrong? And, it’s pretty much split down the middle as to what people think about the war, and how much people know about me and the issue, and I think a lot of people who would consider themselves against the war, or Democrat or liberal, even they would be taken aback at first, saying, “Well, he signed up, he should go.” But, when I talk to them and say this is the responsibility of officers to follow the Constitution, and not to just blindly follow whatever orders you’re given, even those to go to war, then people kind of understand that and say, “Yeah, I guess I can see that and understand now.” That’s been the growing support I’ve been getting, but it’s coming slowly. The first thing is getting the story out to people all over the country. And I think that’s important not just for myself and my court martial, but also for the country in terms of, if this war is illegal and immoral, do the citizens of this country have the responsibility to do everything in their power to stop it? And not rely simply on their elected representatives or that one person who’s in charge of everything?
IE: And while we’re on that subject, did you listen to the president’s speech last night?
Watada: No, I did not. I just read the commentary about it after.
IE: What do you think of his proposal to increase the troop level there, the “surge,” it’s called?
Watada: I think in one part he’s getting bad advice from these guys from The Weekly Standard, a conservative publication, so-called neo-conservative, and the American Enterprise Institute. These guys were the architects behind the push to invade Iraq in the first place. President Bush is ignoring the advice of his commanders on the ground, who said, No, we do not need more troops. We need to train Iraqis and then plan for withdraw. He’s pretty much ignoring them, he’s ignoring the Iraqi Study Group’s recommendations. He’s going with the opinions of these guys who got it all wrong in the first place. Furthermore, it’s been shown in the past – Vietnam and other wars where they just escalated it – nothing changed, and they have had 20,000 more troops at different periods throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom and it hasn’t helped at all. It’s just fueling the insurgency. I think it’s a horrible mistake, and it’s going to detrimental to the military, to the Army because it’s being stretched more and more thin with this escalation of troops, this surge. I did look at it, and there is a point there, and it’s been proven that it didn’t work in the Vietnam war and this war. And the Vietnam war was another war that was illegal and immoral and started on false pretenses and there was a deception waged on the American people throughout the conduct of that war, all 10 years of it. But there is a point, he’s saying that we have to go in there and secure or stop the sectarian violence and that we have to continue the reconstruction effort. However, he fails to mention the Congress stopped the reconstruction money a long time ago, and that the reconstruction effort failed miserably, although we have already wasted billions in American taxpayer dollars that have gone to waste, fraud and corruption. Twenty thousand soldiers is not going to secure a city of six million – now they’re going to have 37,000 soldiers and, hopefully, they’re going to get more brigades of Iraqi soldiers. I think what the generals were saying at the beginning of the war, like Shinseki and Wesley Clark, they were saying, from past experience such as Yugoslavia and the Balkan wars, you need a certain ratio of troops to people. And for a population the size of Iraq, which has, I don’t know, 24, 30 million people, we’re going to need about a half million soldiers on the ground, per people. And, you have to understand, the way the military works, you may have only about 150,000 of those as combat soldiers – the rest are all going to be support soldiers, you need your logistics and communications and intelligence, etc. You’re going to need massive amounts of troops, and they’re just to police the country. I was reading today about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, called the Soviet Union’s Vietnam. And it was the same thing. They had over 500,000 troops there. And you look at the invasion of Afghanistan, Vietnam, Iraq, there are many, many parallels there. If you look at what they did back then, you will know through history and lessons learned that a surge of 20,000 troops isn’t going to do anything at all. And there’s one other thing to note that in a few days or they might have already passed it, that the Iraqi parliament has already passed a law to give almost complete control of the oil preserves to BP, Shell, Exxon indefinitely. The oil companies will get 75 percent of the profits for an undetermined amount of time. And even when that time period ends, they will get 20 percent of the profits, which is double what any foreign oil corporation gets in another country from the oil profits. And you have to think, what are we doing in Iraq? They determined a long time ago that our mere presence in Iraq is fueling extremists all over the world. So, in essence, it’s not protecting America, our occupation or war in Iraq. So, who is it protecting? With the passage of this new law, which had been engineered by the Bush administration, it’s clear that the American military is there to protect the corporate interest of American and European oil companies.
IE: You obviously have a lot of information you’re not going to read about in the mainstream newspapers or other media. Where do you get your information?
Watada: I get it from the Internet, from books. If I’m wrong on any of these things, people can call me out on it, and if I’m wrong, I’ll say I’m wrong. What it’s going to take for people is to have the willingness to study and indeed find out what the facts are. A lot of people say “Yeah.” In the 1980s, the American government propped Saddam Hussein up – even before that. During the Iraq/Iran war, American and European countries sold Saddam Hussein biological and chemical weapons, they gave him other armaments, intelligence and money. So, they supported this dictator at one time. When he committed atrocities against his own people and when he committed atrocities against Iran using chemical weapons, the international community, and particularly the United States, stood silent. And, when you tell this to a lot of people, they’re like, “What? No, I don’t believe that. I gotta read about this myself.” So, yeah, I would encourage people to find out the facts for themselves. What a lot of people do is they just look at what’s going on now as if that defines the truth and the facts. But if you look at what’s been going on in history for the past 30, 40, 50 years, you’ll come to understand that there is a pattern here, and it’s not about freedom or democracy or stopping communism or terrorism. Those are all just covers for what’s really going on. And what’s really going on is using the military for corporate interests or power or, I don’t want to say it, imperialistic greed.
IE: There’s a stereotype that those of us of Japanese or Asian descent don’t want to call attention to ourselves, don’t want to make ourselves a public target. Have you ever encountered that people are kind of surprised that you, a person of Japanese ancestry, is making yourself an international subject?
Watada: By the way, I’m Chinese American as well. That’s a stereotype, but that’s true of a lot of people. People don’t like to get involved, don’t like to put themselves out there. I don’t know if that’s American culture or Asian American culture, but look at those instances when you have the woman on the bridge in traffic, and this guy got road rage and he was threatening her with physical violence, and she got so scared she jumped off the bridge and killed herself. And you had all these people in traffic driving by, and nobody stopped to do anything. But you do have people will take some kind of heroic action, but it’s a mix depending on the situation. For myself, I wasn’t raised to be that extroverted or to be that person that jumps out there and says, “Hey, this is wrong!” I think I’m a very rational person, a careful person that tries to weigh the risk versus the gain. I think throughout my life, I tried to do the right thing, tried to step out when I need to. And there’s been other times when I’ve fallen short. I regret those times and wish I could be that person 100 percent of the time, but I’m human just like anybody else.
I’ll give you this one example: in this one unit, they have these macho, gung-ho get-togethers where there’s a lot of drinking and a lot of these traditions of yelling and swearing and making jokes, sexual jokes, and one guy just yells out the “F” word that corresponds to homosexual. I have a very close friend who is gay, and, at that time, I felt like saying something, “Hey, there’s no call for that, you don’t need to do that.” But, doing so would have put myself out there in front of all these officers in an institution that is overly masculine and homophobic, and it would imply that I may be gay. I didn’t say anything; I felt real horrible about it; I told my friend about it after the fact. He understood – he’s not the type of person who is going to advertise his sexuality or anything like that, and he told me not to worry about it. For myself personally, not matter what, you have to feel good about yourself in the end – it doesn’t matter what other people think. That’s kind of the same here, in that people are going to think I’m a coward, or traitor or disgrace or whatever. They’ve said it to me and e-mailed it to me. It doesn’t matter what they think. It only matters what I think. In the end, I live with my life, and I have those memories of what I did with me. That’s what it came down to. One of the key aspects of why I did what I did, why I came to that decision, is that this is something I have to live with for the rest of my life, nobody else. And I feel that if what I’m being asked to do is immoral and illegal and I will not stand for it, condone it or enable it. And I want to be able to tell myself, tell my children and tell myself when I leave this world that I did the right thing even though I knew there would be consequences. I didn’t want to say, “I knew what the right thing was, but I didn’t want to risk my career, and I went to Iraq anyway and made the best of it.” You go through life trying to make a difference, if not for other people, then yourself.
IE: Because your last name is Watada, have some old World War II stereotypes come into play? Has anyone said to you, “You’re Japanese – no wonder you’re a traitor”?
Watada: No, I think it’s great that I haven’t heard it. I haven’t read all the hate mail, but I’m sure there was something in there that had racial connotations. I think I did see a blip of one that said something like, “Go home, gook.” You know “gook” was the derogatory slang against Vietnamese during the Vietnam war. And the new one is “haji” when referring to the Iraqis. There are always going to be people so ignorant and hateful that they are going to say anything. They could hate me for being short, or something like that. I think that says a lot about how far we’ve come as a country. Certainly there’s a lot of racism whether it’s overt or boils beneath the surface, the most recent with that Kramer guy on “Seinfeld.” It’s still there, but I think for most people, it’s not racism in a bad sense – people just joke about it. But I also think there’s a fine line that people cross, also. But, no, nobody has said to my face, “You’re Japanese, and I fought against you during World War II,” or you’re a traitor or something like that.
IE: Is what the mainstream media has been reporting as to why you have judged this war illegal – United Nations laws and Nuremburg trial precedents – are really the reasons why?
Watada: In liberal and progressive media, they do and discuss it as such. But that, of course, is the choir speaking for you. Mainstream media – it’s not a slam against them, but it is true – a lot of journalist will admit that mainstream media is lazy, they’re scared, and they’re subject to corporate interests, and what benefits the CEOs, the company and their political ties. We’ll see what happens when we get more national coverage, but, for the most part, the mainstream media has covered it as, one, either a human interest story; or they pretty much have just stated the facts as they were going along and not delve too deep into it. What I have seen is some op-ed articles in mainstream media have discussed it, but these are people from the choir who are already against the war. I don’t listen to the right wing media, and I don’t know what their discussion is, but I could probably guess, but among mainstream media, hopefully if can change, hopefully we can get that discussion, but there hasn’t been much so far. It’s been a struggle to define the legality of the war.
IE: How does a military trial differ from a civilian trial? Obviously, there are a different set of laws to abide by.
Watada: At first I said the “missing movement” charge is really a technical charge. Did you do it or didn’t you? If you didn’t get on the plane, you’re guilty. End of story. And they applied that charge because, one, they can, and two, if they charge me with the latter, then it would open up at the court martial to define what is unlawful about the order, and they don’t want to do that. They don’t want to have a debate in a public court about how illegal the war is, or how immoral it is. It is the right of any service member to refuse an illegal order under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Civilian court has charges like trespassing – did you do it or didn’t do it? And it is rarely allowed for a necessity defense, which a lot of anti-war activists are trying to use for civil disobedience or entering federal property, for the people who write in blood on the recruiting office, they’re using necessity as a defense. Lately there have been some courts allowing anti-war activists to open up the court and debate the lawfulness of the war and the morality of it. What makes the military different is that the whole court is under this thing called command influence. And usually where federal circuit courts are independent and not under any influence from the governor or mayor or anything like that, a military court is certainly under the influence of the “convening authority” which has control over everything, and is usually a general for a general court martial. And even if they say, “No, no, no, the military justice system works fine and works independently, it’s not true. Certainly a general could say, “I don’t want to have anything to do with this court, I don’t want to be biased.” But, if you want to, you could. And it would be hard for the public or anybody to know about it.
Another difference, of course, is you do not have a jury of your peers, but for myself would be a jury of senior officers – officers who have decided to make a career and life out of the military. They will be the ones judging me. My lawyer said there are some good things about military law in that, for people being charged with murder or capital crimes, the standards for evidence are a lot more strict in the military court than they are in the civilian. There are some other fundamental differences that go towards the defense in capital crimes. But my case is not a capital crime – it’s really a political crime. And when you’re challenging the system, when you’re challenging the people at the top of the command structure, that command influence goes all the way down the chain of command. And when I talk about command influence, there is the possibility of it all the way from the top – those people that I am speaking out against.
Another big difference is that the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the military courts are primarily designed for discipline, not for justice. And therefore you have a 92 or 94 percent conviction rate, and I think that’s lower in the civilian world.
IE: You may be facing time in a military prison. How is a military prison different from a civilian prison?
Watada: I think it’s the same as a federal prison. I haven’t been in prison, of course. A state prison is bad with the infiltration of gangs, drugs, corruption of guards, overcrowding, murders, gang rapes and things like that – prisoners on other prisoners. I don’t think it’s like that in federal prison, and I don’t think it’s like that in a military prison. I’ve heard from my military lawyer that the military pretty much keeps their prison blocked off in that they don’t have the rampant anarchy, I guess you could say, or crimes going on within the prison that they do in a state penitentiary.
IE: So, if you were to end up in a military prison, would you be in one within Fort Lewis, in a stockade?
Watada: I heard that I would be sent to Leavenworth only because they do not have enough space at Fort Lewis. So I ask, Is there that many criminals in the military? And they said, No, there are a lot of soldiers who serve time and go right back in the military, and they may serve as little as 30 days. They have some Air Force guys over there, because McChord Air Force Base is right next door.
IE: Is this a precedent – the first time a military court has issued subpoenas to journalists and anti-war activists?
Watada: Yes, I think so, the first time a military court has issued subpoenas to anti-war activists, one, and I think the first well-known case for reporters to testify against their sources in a military court. (Judith Miller) I would agree with the reporters in that, not just in support of me because they told my story, but for anybody’s story, you have to imagine that if reporters are compelled to testify in a prosecution of their source, who then will feel safe to get out their story – whatever they say to that journalist will be used against them? It’s a very dangerous, slippery slope, and you don’t want to have it in any political climate. What if we had a left-wing government, and there was right-wing group that made critical remarks of the government, and the government wanted to prosecute them? We have to make it fair and balanced for all sides of the political spectrum and ideological beliefs. That’s what America is about, that’s what freedom of speech, freedom of the press is all about.
IE: Why do you think this military court is going to this extent? Why are they “pulling out the stops” to get you for taking the stand that you are?
Watada: Well, one can say that they are trying to send a message to the anti-war movement. That certainly may be the case, but what’s more essential is that the prosecutors need the testimony of the reporter, if it’s a story, or the videographer, if it’s video, or if it’s a public appearance, they need the people who were actually there to authenticate my statements or videos of me if I was actually at an event. Without that, the rules of evidence states that they cannot present that evidence to the jury. I have a feeling we have some young, inexperienced prosecutors, who in their inexperience and in their zealotry, wanted to bypass that requirement and that rule of evidence, and the judge may have rebuffed them and said, “You’re not going to get away with that. You need to authenticate every statement you have charged this officer with. You need to have the video in court, if you say he was at this public event, you will need people to authenticate that.” And, of course, the danger for the prosecution is a double-edged sword – maybe some people will come forward because they don’t want to go to prison or just don’t want to argue – but there are going to be people who are potentially very supportive of me, and in cross-examination, the defense is going to be able to ask these people what they think I have done, and of the war, and all those kinds of things. And the jury is going to hear that. And that’s specifically what the military does not want to bring into the court, or does not want the jury to hear.
IE: Have you seen how what you are doing is affecting other people, either in the Army or outside of it?
Watada: They make that argument that what Lt. Watada is doing is destroying that “good order and discipline.” And that’s what the prosecutor said. And the judge said, “Offensive to whom?” And the prosecutor hesitated for a moment, and he kind of stuttered, “Well, the Army.” Offensive, disgraceful, honorable – those are all very subjective terms. And as Eric Seitz, my lawyer, argued: when we use subjectivity in prosecuting political speech, then that, too, is a slippery slope. You open that up, we could have a very liberal president, have somebody criticize them to their friends in the barracks, and they could be prosecuted for that. We don’t want to enter into that realm, and when it comes to what is illegal speech, you have to have a definition, a dividing line. And my lawyer and I would agree that the dividing line comes when that free speech urges others to take violent action against others, against the government or against the military. And that’s not what I have done.
I know I’m having an effect on those who have an opinion of the war that it is wrong, that it is unjust, illegal or amoral, and I think they feel relieved. I definitely know a lot feel thankful for what I have done because they have told me that. A lot of soldiers have gone over there and come back regretting that they went over there in the first place. And they saw the illegality and immorality of what was going on day by day. And, I think for me to come out, as an officer and a leader, and denounce what we’re doing as a country – it validates the feelings, the deeply held conscience of a lot of these soldiers. Certainly for those in the military who hate me, it doesn’t have an effect either way. I think, for the vast majority in the military, they are not able to do what I am doing if they had that knowledge and education about the facts over the war. One, it takes a willingness to seek out the facts, and then two, there’s that inability because the vast majority of people within the military these days join the military because they have no other choice. They have no other choice for a job, for education, to feed their families. And, so, one, if you have that person who has the knowledge of what’s going on and knows it’s wrong, and who has the courage to say, I’m willing to face up to the consequences – they also have to face up to the fact that their family will starve, they will go without benefits for two or three years, and once they get out, they’re not going to have any education or have any job skills, and they’re going to have a dishonorable discharge on their permanent record. That’s a lot to ask of people. That’s why you’re not going to see this mass exodus of soldiers refusing. Certainly, I think that when the war progresses on and on you may, but I think in the Vietnam war there was this mass dissatisfaction what went on in the war, the deception being waged on the American public by the administration, and you had a lot of people who were willing because the people of the country were also against the war, willing to refuse … members of the middle class who could go to Canada, who could get deferments. They had a support network. In this war, you don’t have that support network. You can’t ask soldiers to sacrifice everything if the American people are just going to leave them in the dirt. You had a few soldiers who came out, but all of them were AWOL as it stood. All of them committed a crime in the military’s eyes, and I think that what they did was very courageous as well. They were stating why they had gone AWOL and they were coming back to face the consequences. But they wanted the American people to know that they were against the war because the war is illegal and immoral. That’s pretty much the effect that I’ve had in other people following the in the footprints of what I have done. Those soldiers were already AWOL, and came back and simply stated why they went AWOL. You’re not going to have a mass refusal because of what Lt. Watada has done. You’re going to have starting a breakdown of good order and discipline because of the continued policies of this administration. And, unless the people speak up and stand up against this administration – I think people will see in the near future the devastation and the breakdown in the armed forces.
IE: When you’re in prison, I take it that you won’t be able to make public statements anymore …
Watada: No, I won’t. I will be able to have limited communication with my family, and pretty much free communication with my lawyer. But, yeah, no public statements.
IE: If and when that time comes, how do you want to be remembered?
Watada: I think I just want to be remembered … I don’t know how I would want to be remembered. I don’t really think it’s important to me. I think definitely if we see the worst of times, and if this country goes through perpetual war and endless war – more lives are lost, more money is spent, economy goes down the drain, maybe countries the administration wants to provoke a war with will strike back stronger than we expect – if we see this endless cycle, the worst of times, people will remember those who stood up against it. They will not be a part of something that is immoral or illegal. And people will remember that, just like people in Germany today remember those who stood up against Hitler. And I certainly think, in the beginning, those who resisted, they resisted and didn’t know what kind of impact they would have. They did it personally because, like I said, we will not condone or enable this immoral and illegal behavior. I think, as the war came to a close, they were more resistant against Hitler, against continuation of the war. And those people did realize, “Hey, we may fail in this resistance against Hitler, but we need to let the world know that there were Germans who resisted Hitler and genocide and wars of aggression.” I don’t know if we’ll ever get to that point in America, where we become the loser in some great world war like Germany did, but I think there are already people who are thankful and appreciative for those soldiers and service members who have, in whatever ways they could, resisted the policies and orders of this administration concerning the Iraq war.
It doesn’t matter how I’m remembered, but how we’re remembered as a country. And it has a lot more to do than with what one person can do. Because, really, I can’t do much except raise awareness and speak for the soldiers who can’t speak, or who are unable or unwilling. A lot of soldiers said, “Don’t do this for me” because I guess they’re angry, but I’m speaking for the soldiers because that’s what an officer and a leader does. And that’s all I can do. And I took an oath to this country, and I’m trying to protect it in the best way I know how according to my knowledge and training. And my oath. The people of this country really have the power, and they have that obligation to each other, to do something. And you don’t have it today. People are more interested in the NFL playoffs and “Dancing With the Stars” and “American Idol.” You had more people vote in “American Idol” than you had in the last election. That’s a testament to how detached American people are from politics and foreign policy and thing that govern their lives now and in the future. I just want our country to be remembered for having a citizenry, people who were aware, who fulfilled their civic duty and held their government accountable. Government in a democracy is of the people, by the people, for the people. So, whatever our government does, those are the actions of the American people. So, people should not be surprised when people of the world strike back against all Americans.
IE: So, spending six years in military prison will be worth it to you?
Watada: It would be worth it? No. I’m not trying to be a martyr. It’s definitely not worth it at all, because I sincerely believe that what I am doing according to my oath, to my country, to my soldiers, is to do everything I can to protect life. And going to Iraq, jumping over the cliff with the rest of the lemming, is not in the best service of my country and my soldiers. I want to raise awareness in those who can do something – is the best way to serve them..