When I Escaped I Didn't Feel Like I Got Away
I had not seen this.
My man Coturnix provides that link to a....well, I don't know what you would call it. Conscientious objector of a sort, I suppose.
SEATTLE (July 23) -- When First Lt. Ehren K. Watada of the Army shipped out for a tour of duty in South Korea two years ago, he was a promising young officer rated among the best by his superiors. Like many young men after Sept. 11, he had volunteered “out of a desire to protect our country,” he said, even paying $800 for a medical test to prove he qualified despite childhood asthma.
Lieutenant Watada said that when he reported to Fort Lewis in June 2005, in preparation for deployment to Iraq, he was beginning to have doubts. “I was still prepared to go, still willing to go to Iraq,” he said. “I thought it was my responsibility to learn about the present situation. At that time, I never conceived our government would deceive the Army or deceive the people.”
He was not asking for leave as a conscientious objector, Lieutenant Watada said, a status assigned to those who oppose all military service because of moral objections to war. It was only the Iraq war that he said he opposed.
Military historians say it is rare in the era of the all-voluntary Army for officers to do what Lieutenant Watada has done.
“Certainly it’s far from unusual in the annals of war for this to happen,” said Michael E. O’Hanlon, a senior fellow in military affairs at the Brookings Institution. “But it is pretty obscure since the draft ended.”
Mr. O’Hanlon said that if other officers followed suit, it would be nearly impossible to run the military. “The idea that any individual officer can decide which war to fight doesn’t really pass the common-sense test,” he said.
An impossible choice. Of course officers have to follow orders. Yet the "I vass chust following ze orters!" didn't carry much water at Nuremberg. I guess I am on the side of the military here. But you have to admit that Lt. Watada is not a coward, not by any stretch.