by Arthur Silber
November 10, 2007
At the beginning of February, I wrote about the profoundly heroic stand taken by Lt. Ehren Watada, in “You’re Either With the Resistance — or With the Murderers.” I said that Lt. Watada “is one of those rare heroes who has said, ‘No’ — and he is prepared to go to jail for four years for his refusal.” So part of what happened this past week is wonderful news:
First Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq, won what his backers are calling a “huge victory” in court Thursday.
US District Court Judge Benjamin Settle ruled the military cannot put Watada on trial a second time unless it can prove such a trial would not violate the US Constitution’s prohibition against “double jeopardy.”
In February, Lt. Watada’s first court martial ended in a mistrial just before he was to take the stand in his own defense. Many observers believe the judge, Lt. Col. John Head, ordered a mistrial in that case because he was worried that Lt. Watada’s testimony would lead to him being found not guilty of “missing [troops] movement” and “conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman.”
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