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Watada,Resister (2007)


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     Originally shown on the internet just prior to Watada's first mistrial in 2007,
and available here in high-resolution video.

"They must remember duty to the Constitution and the people supercedes the
ideologies of their leadership."

In June of 2006, Lt. Ehren Watada officially broke ranks and became the
first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq, citing this
nation's violation of the Constitution.  What followed was a media maelstrom.

Over 60 years ago, this was not the case for dozens of Japanese
Americans who fought against the draft on Constitutional grounds while
they were kept in concentration camps.  Their voices were quickly silenced
and they became ostracized in their community.

"The soldier must be willing to face ostracism by their peers, worry over the
survival of their families, and, of course, the loss of personal freedom."

The Japanese American community has remained divided all these years
about their stance on the draft resisters.  And Watada's situation mirrors
these bitter debates about good publicity versus good law.  Many in the JA
community maintain that the resisters and Watada are tarnishing their
patriotic legacy, and destroying what was so hard-won by the 442nd
Regiment during WW2.

"The American soldier must rise above the socialization that tells them authority
should always be obeyed without question.  Rank should be respected, but never
blindly followed.  Awareness of history of atrocities and destruction committed in
the name of America, either through direct military intervention or by proxy war is

The harsh criticism reflects the myopia of the members of the community
who still believe that every person of Japanese ancestry should be 'Better
Americans for a Greater America'.

Bringing Lt. Watada and the draft resisters together closes the circle for
those who have waited decades for this historical moment.  This is the
passing of the torch by defenders of the Constitution.  That they happen to
be Japanese American only means rancor within the JA community.  In the
big picture, these are the heroic men who are putting their own freedom on
the line for democratic principles.

            -- All quotes are taken from Lt. Ehren Watada's speech on August 12, 2006
                                                                                    at a Veterans for Peace convention.

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