Mistrial in the Watada Court Martial

The court martial of Lt. Ehren Watada ended yesterday in a mistrial. A new trial has been scheduled for March 19.

Here’s an article about it at The Raw Story.

The judge [military judge Lieutenant Colonel John Head] said the instructions requested by the defense, which were not immediately clear, could conflict with a pre-trial agreement between prosecution and defense concerning Watada’s motives for not deploying to Iraq.

Prosecutors on Tuesday told the court Watada had brought disgrace upon himself after and the services by deciding to abandon his soldiers and accusing the army of committing war crimes in Iraq.

Although the US Army insists that a soldier has to respect the chain of command and cannot choose which war to fight in, Watada has said that under the US Constitution he has the right to refuse an illegal order.

Watada joined the army in 2003 and was posted in South Korea until 2005, when he was transferred to Fort Lewis to prepare for deployment to Iraq.

Instead he requested to be transferred to another unit and proposed that he be deployed to Afghanistan. That was turned down.

Head ruled on Monday that the issue of the legality of the war in Iraq will not be raised during the court martial, saying the proceeding has no authority to rule on the question.

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