Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Watada Report

Well, just came back from the Ehren Watada event. Wow. There are simply no words of invective strong enough to adequately convey an accurate picture of this guy, or of the hippies, socialists, and (I’ll say it) anti-Americans who were there to laud this criminal. Somewhere, members of al Qaeda are laughing. Going in, I strongly suspected he joined planning to desert like this as a political stunt. Having heard him speak, I am now certain of it.

The absurdities of his legal claims have already been discussed on this blog. Indeed – there was really no attempt to refute them at the event (more on that below).

The event was carefully controlled and orchestrated from the beginning. There was no panelist who would be the least bit critical of his actions. There was no opportunity for direct questioning – questions had to be written on a small slip of notecard and passed to the moderator, where they were subsequently censored and/or modified to soften the ball. More on that in a bit. The bottom line is that this was an event supposedly about the courage to state an unpopular point of view, but done in a liberal echo chamber with no opportunity to challenge the speaker.

Said echo chamber was surreal. The aged hippies had come out of the woodwork. Next to me sat a woman with one of those “united socialist” newspapers, printed complete with red ink. She was writing a letter to Watada praising his courage and “real patriotism,” and pledging her support.

[The post continues in the comments section below...]

2 comments:

Orrin Johnson said...

The Intro

The event was sponsored in part by the University’s Racist, er, Ethnic Studies Department. (It was also co-sponsored by the ACS and ACLU, which are 0-for-3 this quarter.) What ethnicity has to do with International or Constitutional law, I don’t know. The opening speaker, not part of the panel, rambled on for awhile about all the other “resisters” who have decided they, not the constitutionally elected President, should make foreign policy judgments. He took special pride that some of them were latino.

The moderator’s introduction noted that Watada was an Eagle Scout (no mention that he must therefore hate gay people) and that his parents were life long “public servants.” (If “public servant” means “virulent anti-war activist,” I suppose that’s right.) It was a glowing endorsement.

Watada

Watada spoke for about 45 minutes, in a speech straight out of a DailyKos post. The standard liberal lies were trotted out – Bush lied (Clinton’s WMD assertions were not mentioned), soldiers are oppressed and uneducated, Saddam was no threat, there was no al Qaeda connection, Abu Ghraib was Bush’s secret policy, Iraqis want us to leave, Iraq is distinct from the broader fight against Islamo-Fascism, etc. The National Intelligence Estimate ("Iraq creates more terrorists") was once again taken out of context, as was the Deulfer Report. How sad that these organizers lacked the courage to invite a panelist who would challenge these wrong assumptions and indeed outright lies. But then, is there anyone who fears honest debate more than an insulated liberal academic?

I won’t bother re-refuting the lies above – you can follow the links I’ve provided. There were other statements, though, that deserve some treatment.

Watada talked about the Constitution, and how his first duty was to it. I’m not sure he’s ever actually read it, though. One of the reasons he gave for his crime was that he felt he needed to “uphold the fundamental foundations of democracy.” Does he not understand that the concept of control over the military by elected civilians is one of those “fundamental foundations”? Clearly not.

His view of history is equally absurd. He said that when “we devastated Europe and ravaged the Pacific,” (not sure if “we” means Americans or all of humanity – at best he’s saying we were no better than the fascists we fought), wouldn’t it have been great if more soldiers questioned their orders and didn’t commit so many crimes? Ah, yes. Back before we chose to lose wars. What dark times those were. Why, it was before we even had NPR!

Indeed, his respect for democracy itself is questionable. He made many references to the American electorate, none of them flattering. Clearly, anyone not running around the anti-war circles with hippies and communists is uneducated and not paying attention. In fact, as Watada put it, Americans have “abandoned” our soldiers by not standing up to our political elite. Towards the end of his speech, he reminded us all that the government works at the expense of the American people, which we also are presumably too dumb to recognize. When pondering the question of “why we stay,” he said flatly that it was because the electorate simply was ignorant, and refused to hold the government accountable.

His respect for his betters still in uniform is equally lacking, although much less consistent. He vacillated back and forth between implications that most soldiers felt like him, but were afraid to speak out, and making wholesale accusations of war crimes, quoting only un-named NGOs. He said that soldiers were merely surviving to get home, and that drug use, alcoholism, and suicides were rampant (never mind record retention rates and frequent random urinalysis…). He sneered at his training as a 14 week hazing exercise. He made no allowance that most enlisted people and officers – especially those who joined after we invaded Iraq – probably have thought about it a great deal, and concluded the right thing to do was to fight our enemies in Iraq instead of New York, and follow the orders of the President as they promised to do.

He decried our treatment of “Iraqis,” making no distinction between terrorists and civilians. He wailed that our weapons are turned on population areas, dishonestly neglecting to mention that’s where the enemy hides to target civilians, our military, Iraqi cops and politicians, etc. He ignorantly spoke of suspending habeas corpus while we (gasp!) didn’t give terrorist fighters who themselves repudiated the Geneva Conventions ACLU attorneys. He reminded us that (horrors!) we subject those who would saw off our heads to sleep deprivation, loud music, and hoods. Truly, we are the monsters.

He said we are failing in Iraq only partly because of the insurgency. Well, he’s right about that. We’re also failing because he and his fellow travelers work so damn hard to undermine our war efforts by urging soldiers to desert, and by giving our enemies talking points and examples of how America is no longer willing to defend herself. Can anyone think but that Osama bin Laden gets giddy when he sees this guy’s website?

He made unsubstantiated charges that our military contracts were corrupt, while ignoring the Oil-for-Food Scandal of those he insisted we seek legal approval from. He warned us that poor, innocent Iran and Syria may be the next victims. He snidely insinuated that we were only there to be Israeli pawns and to steal oil fields (which we have yet to seize). He decried the money we’ve spent, arguing that it should be used to fund a socialist wish list of government programs (apparently to be benignly and competently run by the same government he’s currently so afraid and contemptuous of).

At one point, he said that because of his decision to join the Army, he was now in a position to stop the war. I took that statement as the admission of his true original intent when joining that it was.

He asked us to consider what we’d be doing if there were a draft. How sad. How irrelevant. The context, of course, was that we should treat current soldiers as if they have been drafted, and speak for they who cannot speak for themselves. (In fact, he implored us to do just that.) Well, since there is no draft, soldiers can and do vote (4-1 for Bush, he also forgot to note), troops are smarter than their civilian counterparts, people don’t have to reenlist but do anyway, military blogs supporting the war abound, etc., I think I’ll not hold my breath for one cowardly junior officer on the socialist circuit to presume to speak for everyone in uniform.

At no time did he acknowledge the real threats we face. The closest he came was a reference to “hiding behind the ‘War on Terror.’”

And then, he reminded us that he was serving us, the people. That he was fighting the government for our sake. Well guess what – the people will choose through their vote who will make the warfighting decisions. Plenty of military coups have been justified with those words. Besides – why would “the people” want his service after he so nakedly reveals his contempt for us?

It was a well rehearsed, well planned bit of propaganda, peppered with lies and omissions. It was given in a style that left no doubt he’d been well managed, well insulated from actual critics, and that he had planned this long before 2003.

Professor Stewart Jay, UW School of Law

When Stewart Jay is far and away the most conservative member of a panel, you can be assured that you aren’t going to have a balanced discussion. But I have to give him his credit – he correctly and bluntly stated the law, until he was cut off by the organizers, that is. It was the only period of sanity in the whole event.

He of course had to establish his credibility with the crowd by agreeing the war was the greatest disaster of our history, but noted that it was not illegal, and even if it was, that individual soldiers don’t have the right to refuse to serve. He flatly told him, “You will lose.”

He gave some history, at one point quoting George Mason that, “A standing army may turn its arm against those who employ them.” Interesting that this is exactly what Ehren Watada is doing. The point was lost on the crowd.

Jay then went on to quote the Congressional authorization for the Iraq war, and note that George Bush had, after all, been re-elected as the Commander-in-Chief. As he was doing so, the moderator was cutting him off. Jay tried to push forward quickly so as to get to the caselaw, and to presumably discuss the civilian control problems, but had the lights raised on him and was essentially bumped from the podium. In all, he’d had about 10 minutes to actually talk about the law. Something tells me that had he been more supportive of Watada’s position, he would have been given more time.

But before he was cut off completely, he showed a picture of an American family looking goofy in front of the TV, and said, “This is who I blame.” The haughty snickers followed, until someone from the crowd said, “That’s pretty condescending.” Jay got mad, and said something to the effect of, “well, yeah – MY generation was out protesting in the streets – what are YOU doing?” Ah, Jay – never disappoints. I wonder if he meant the protests that helped Nixon trounce McGovern 61-39…

The contempt for democracy from liberals who whine about their “lost democracy” is truly stunning.

Aaron Caplan, American Civil Liberties Union

Mr. Caplan wasn’t completely unhinged, but he wasn’t really relevant, either. He discussed 1st Amendment cases that had nothing to do with the military, except that civilians were profanely and violently complaining about potentially having to serve someday. Something tells me he wouldn’t agree with my assessments of free speech...

He did show the relevant UCMJ articles under which Watada will go to jail, but he did so dripping with contempt. “’Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentlemen’ – whatever that means…” (snicker snicker!) That really made me angry. The day I take judgment on what it means to be a military officer from a slovenly ACLU attorney who no more understands what goes into running a military unit than he understands how to find a clean shirt to wear for his public appearance is the day I’m in my grave.

Oddly, he made no real attempt to give a coherent legal position that would justify Watada’s actions or the ACLU support of them. The best he had was, “Hey, the Constitution should be for everyone, right?” The lack of context was ridiculous, but not surprising, considering what he had to work with.

Nikhil Pal Singh, UW Department of History

What this guy had to bring to the table was beyond me. I’d read his bio, and it made no sense. But it was clear he was the cleanup batter for “Team Bash-America,” there to inject the requisite race baiting and conspiracy theories that are apparently the hallmark of any serious program in modern academia.

He went on what can only be described as an unhinged rant about the need to stand up against the “Civilian-Political-Military-Media-Complex Establishment.” What exactly that is exactly is tough to say, but apparently I’m a part of it, as are Democrats, Republicans, Big Oil, Dan Rather, Ted Turner, the Federalist Society, Elvis, Freemasons, the Knights Templar, and the head of Adolf Hitler in a jar controlling everything. He claimed that we in fact COULD prove that Abu Ghraib was part of Bush’s sinister plan, but of course declined to back that up.

He decried that we’d never seen the promised peace dividend after the Cold War, ignoring that our military if far smaller now than it was during the first Gulf War, which is part of the current problem we find ourselves in. He told us, “Don’t be fooled” by the promises of “redeployment” of troops (what promises?), but warned us that the secret plan was to begin our empire there.

He said that the voters were held hostage because our political masters refused to put forward an “honest security platform” which apparently includes surrendering to all comers and retreating behind our borders, preferably sitting under tables with out thumbs in our mouths. Apparently, we’re all fooled, and too dumb to save ourselves with out votes (although this latest election "gve him hope"). I couldn’t help but wish every American voter could hear what contempt this poster-child liberal had for them. It’s a shame, but no wonder he suckles on the taxpayer’s teat – no employer that actually had to produce anything could possibly take this guy seriously.

The Q & A

As noted earlier, we weren’t allowed to ask questions directly, but had to write them on a piece of paper and turn them in to the screener. I’m certain the irony was lost on the crowd. The result was a series of softballs that he still couldn’t really answer honestly or directly.

My question (similar to at least 3 others turned in) was “Some officers sincerely believe it is immoral to NOT torture a suspected terrorist if it will, in their estimate, save thousands of lives. If your moral judgments are to be excused, why shouldn't theirs? Or the General who believes bombing a town against orders is vital to national security? Isn't this the road to a coup?”

This, of course, didn’t make it past the censor. The toughest question he got was “Aren’t you worried this will weaken the military?” He didn’t really answer it, saying only, “I don’t advocate people do this in ‘normal circumstances,’” then going on to complain about how oppressed he was for awhile. He answered another one about why he didn’t apply for conscientious objector status by complaining the term was defined too narrowly.

He said that it was every soldier’s responsibility to evaluate all their orders from the entire chain of command, elected civilians included. Now, military people aren’t robots, nor are we expected to be. But neither is it the case that we can make our own macro-level policy decisions from day to day.

Worse, he said that since the voters hadn’t held the politicians accountable (must have been an old memorized talking point), the military needed to. Specifically, he said, “We need to ask ourselves, ‘Are we soldiers going to allow this to happen?’” That chilled me to the bone. When military officer think they know better than the voters, we live in a military junta, not a representative democracy. And Bush is the threat to our civil liberties?

Someone asked him why he joined in the first place. In the biggest whopper of the night, he said with almost a straight face that back then he NEVER believed the government would EVER lie about anything, ESPECIALLY war. Since he grew up with 60’s radicals for parents, who no doubt told Nixon stories around the campfire to scare their kids, I somehow find this difficult to believe. You don’t join the Army in 2003 and not consider the probability that you’ll be headed to Iraq sooner or later, nor have you been blind at that point to the cacophony from the left about “illegal wars” that was already well underway.

He finished imploring us to take action, which of course meant giving him money. That, and going to the “People’s Tribunal” on the legality of the war to be held next month at Evergreen State College.

The moderator thanked us, and solemnly said, “Naive or courageous, we thank LT Watada for coming to give us a unique perspective.”

---

Watada is, of course, neither naive nor courageous. He is 28 years old. He is a traitor, a liar, and a coward who emboldens our enemies and who planned this from the beginning. His perspective was as far from unique among his leftist adorers as could be imagined. He is a good looking, well spoken tool of a militant anti-war establishment that sees America (and the stupid American people) as the force of evil in the world, and thus seeks to destroy it. He is contemptuous of democracy and an enemy of freedom.

I can only hope the military, which has already cut him tremendous slack for not charging him with attempting to foment mutiny or insurrection, and which has mysteriously allowed him to freely hit the speaking circuit, gives him no more breaks.

ModMilq said...

Well, I sure am glad I opted to study Evidence rather than attend this...