Watada states his case in Moiliili: Standing ovations greet a soldier facing a court-martial for refusing to go to Iraq
By Leila Fujimori
A highly sympathetic crowd of a few hundred people gave Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada standing ovations before, during and after a speech at the Church of the Crossroads in Moiliili.
Watada, a Honolulu native, faces court-martial in Fort Lewis, Wash., next month on six counts for refusing to deploy to Iraq and for conduct unbecoming an officer, charges that carry a maximum six years’ imprisonment. He was back in Honolulu to meet with his attorney and visit with family.
Watada acknowledged that his actions have divided the community. “That was not my intent,” he said. But upon learning the facts of the war, he said he was in turmoil.
He called the war in Iraq an illegal war of aggression.
He quoted Nazi Germany’s Hermann Goering, who said while the common people are usually not willing to go to war, “all you have to do is tell them they are being attacked.”
Watada said the American people were deceived by the Bush administration, which manipulated intelligence to fit policy and regime change in Iraq.
“We have been lied to, deceived and betrayed,” he said. “A crime has been committed against the constitution.”
He also told the audience that 10 intelligence agencies concluded the presence of American troops in Iraq are “fueling Islamic extremism all over the world.”
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