Who is Ehren Watada? He is a twenty-eight year old Japanese-American army lieutenant on the brink of facing court martial and prison for refusing to fight in the Iraq war, calling it illegal.
He enlisted in the Army as an officer candidate and was stationed in Korea from late 2004 to early 2005, where his superior officers evaluated and described him as “Exemplary,” with “Unlimited Potential” and “Likes challenges and moves toward the fight.” In early 2005, Lt. Watada was re-assigned from Korea to Ft. Lewis, Washington. Knowing that he would be expected to lead his soldiers into Iraq, he undertook to learn all that he could about the war and what he and those he commanded would likely face. Lt. Watada read widely and researched how and why the Iraq War began and the evidence that was presented to convince the U.S. Congress to approve the war. After a year of study and reflection, Lt. Watada came to the courageous decision to refuse deployment to Iraq.
Watada carries out the legacy of the World War II “No-No Boys,” Japanese Americans who, while interned behind barbed wire, refused to sign a loyalty oath to the U.S.
He will go on trial this February 5th.