The Courage of Lieutenant Watada

"Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others" ~ Aristotle

When Lieutenant Ehren Watada's Army unit from Fort Lewis, WA leaves for Mosul in northern Iraq this month, he will not be among them. The 28-year-old Army officer will formally refuse today to ship out when his unit deploys to Iraq.

"I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to watch families torn apart, while the President tells us to 'stay the course,'" said Watada, on a web site supporting his cause. "I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression."

Watada faces being court martialed for refusing to serve as ordered, unless the Army allows him to resign his commission or assigns him elsewhere, in a capacity unrelated to the war in Iraq. The young officer, who attempted to resign his commission in January -- his request was denied -- is not eligible for conscientious-objector status as he does not object to all wars, just the one the Bush administration is conducting in Iraq.

"My son has a great deal of courage, and clearly understands what is right, and what is wrong," said his father, Bob Watada. "He's choosing to do the right thing, which is a hard course."

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