TAKE ACTION on JUNE 27th IN SUPPORT OF FIRST US MILITARY OFFICER TO REFUSE IRAQ WAR

On Wednesday, June 7th U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada became the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to the unlawful Iraq war and occupation. He announced his duty to disobey the illegal order to deploy to Iraq in coordinated press conferences in Tacoma, Washington and Honolulu, Hawaii via a video taped messaged due to a direct military order not to attend the pre-scheduled Tacoma press conference. Regardless, Lt. Watada’s public statement was shown on a large monitor for the national press.



In this Alert:
*Statement of Lt. Watada
*Call to Take Action on June 27th
-Background information
-How to get involved
-Resources for your use
-Why your support is crucial!



Statement of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada
(June 7, 2006)
Family, Friends, Members of the Religious Community, Members of the Press,
and my fellow Americans—thank you for coming today.

My name is Ehren Watada. I am a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and I have served for 3 years.

It is my duty as a commissioned officer of the United States Army to speak out against grave injustices.
My moral and legal obligation is to the Constitution and not those who would issue unlawful orders.
I stand before you today because it is my job to serve and protect those soldiers, the American people,
and innocent Iraqis with no voice.


It is my conclusion as an officer of the Armed Forces that the war in Iraq is not only morally
wrong but a horrible breach of American law. Although I have tried to resign out of protest,
I am forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal. As the order to take part in an illegal
act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must as an officer of honor and integrity refuse that order.

The war in Iraq violates our democratic system of checks and balances. It usurps international
treaties and conventions that by virtue of the Constitution become American law. The wholesale
slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible
moral injustice, but a contradiction to the Army’s own Law of Land Warfare. My participation would
make me party to war crimes.

Normally, those in the military have allowed others to speak for them and act on their behalf.
That time has come to an end. I have appealed to my commanders to see the larger issues
of our actions. But justice has not been forthcoming. My oath of office is to protect and defend
America’s laws and its people. By refusing unlawful orders for an illegal war, I fulfill that oath today.

Thank you.


CALL toTAKE ACTION on JUNE 27th IN SUPPORT OF FIRST US MILITARY OFFICER TO REFUSE IRAQ WAR
“I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to watch families torn apart,
while the President tells us to “stay the course.” …
I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war
against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression.
I wanted to be there for my fellow troops. But the best
way was not to help drop artillery and cause more death
and destruction. It is to help oppose this war and end it so
that all soldiers can come home.”
-U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada

For the first time in the Iraq war, an officer in the U.S. military will
be refusing orders and brought to court-martial this summer.
On Wednesday, June 7th, Ehren came out publicly against the war. The military
has declined his resignation based on his conscience and principles preventing
him from continuing to participate in the war on Iraq.

We expect his deployment orders in late June and encourage you to organize solidarity
actions in your area for a National Day of Action on June 27th
demanding an honorable discharge and no court martial.
Because our support for Ehren must be active and visible,
we are calling for two National Days of Action.


People across the country will take action on June 27th, when
Ehren refuses deployment; and again in August (date to be announced)
if he does he face the court martial, we’ll mobilize nationally, putting
the war on trial! This is a tremendous opportunity to invigorate
the antiwar movement in the U.S., following the leadership
of Ehren and GI resisters.

To demonstrate our solidarity, we call for a
National Day of Action on June 27th
to support Ehren as he officially resists deployment.

These actions will include marches, vigils, protests, nonviolent direct action
or civil disobedience in support of his legal and moral refusal, and
against the war and occupation of Iraq. This is only the first step to
building for mass national actions around the Court Martial days, which
will likely be in August (although June 27th we’ll demand “No Court
Martial!” we’ll begin preparing now in case this demand is not met).

This campaign holds the potential to renew and re-energize our struggle from
within the U.S. to end the occupation of Iraq, and strengthen grassroots
movements for justice and peace. Additionally, a vigorous support movement
is Ehren’s best defense against violations of his civil rights by the
military, including the possibility of forced deployment.

We must support soldiers whose resistance upholds principles and
democracy, and who can by challenging the military from the inside
literally end the occupation of Iraq. Ehren joins a growing number of
resisters in this war, building off the legacy of GI resistance that has
historically played a vital role in ending wars. As the antiwar
movement builds its support for these brave people and their
important actions, we hope to encourage more to take their stands
knowing they won’t be alone. Those of us outside the military
must match his bravery by escalating our support for all GI resisters.
They’ve got to know we’re out here for them!

We ask you to begin mobilizing your group, community and networks now.
Whatever solidarity action you can organize for June 27th will help build
the national momentum towards mass actions in response to the court
martial. Also, we encourage people who are able to please join the
mobilization to the Court Martial location (probably Fort Lewis, near
Olympia, WA). As well as educating your organization’s members, please
consider hosting one or more public events to help raise awareness and
funds.

Visit www.ThankYouLt.org for more information, to sign a support
petition, and/or contribute funds and resources to build his campaign!


GET INVOLVED!

Your group can:

1) EDUCATE:
Raise awareness in your organization, networks and communities
about Lt. Ehren Watada’s case and the growing wave of GI resisters. (more
online info at www.CouragetoResist.org and www.TomJoad.org)



2) MOBILIZE: Organize a coordinated action in your community for June
27th supporting Ehren’s refusal of orders. Use this action to build
awareness and momentum for planning an even bigger action for the National
Days of Action around the court martial or the weekend before
(we’ll update people immediately when the military sets the court martial date.)
We urge people to consider engaging in non-violent direct action against a
war and occupation which has killed hundreds of thousands of people, and
which the majority of people in the world—and in the U.S.—want to end.


3) BUILD CONTINUED SUPPORT for soldiers who have the courage to refuse.
You can do this by signing up to participate in the
National GI Resistance Alert Network
that will alert you when and how support is needed.



4) DONATE: Can your organization or community contribute to legal and
organizing expenses? Fundraising events are also a great way to help raise
awareness and build support.
(Contribute at www.ThankYoult.org >donate)


**Please email  supportlt@couragetoresist.org
with your organization, contact info, and which of the above your group will commit to.


RESOURCES FOR YOUR USE:
We will provide a local regular updates and a downloadable mobilizing and
education kit (a flyer and poster with space for your local info/dates, a
sample press release and packet, background materials, everything you need
for a teach in or public event,post your event on our website, etc)

**Check out www.CouragetoResist.org for more resources as this campaign
develops.


WHEN: Tuesday, June 27th is the first National Day of Action. Following
that, we expect the court martial date to be between late July and August.
Sign up for alerts, and we’ll tell you as soon as the date is set. But you
don’t have to wait to start educating your community and organizing for
June 27th!


WHY YOUR SUPPORT IS CRUCIAL:
“A war can end when the soldiers choose to stop fighting it,” says Ehren
in the spirit of the GI resistance movement that played a major role in
ending the Vietnam War, along with civilian support. We need you to be
part of making this movement rise again.

The goals of this campaign are not limited to freeing Ehren. Our vision is
to:

1) Build mass public support for him and others who uphold international,
military and US law by refusing to participate in illegal wars and
occupations.

2) De-legitimize the illegal Iraq war and occupation.

3) Create a social, political and economic cost to prosecuting refusers
and to continuing the illegal Iraq war and occupation.


Your participation in this campaign is crucial to realizing these goals,
as part of a vision that we do have the power to end this war. Showing
widespread support for soldiers who resist is one of the best ways those
of us outside the military can encourage the growing momentum of the GI
resistance movement—a movement that has the direct power to end this war.

“My decision to join the army is one that I will never regret
because my choice to reject unlawful and immoral orders in spite of the
consequences, has taught me the true meaning of sacrifice, democracy, and
freedom. I hope that my example shows other soldiers that they too have
the power to choose right over wrong and that freedom is something that
can never be taken away.”
–Lt. Ehren Watada


Signed,

Action Center for Justice
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors
Courage to Resist
Not in Our Name
Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace
Seattle Draft and Military Counseling Center
War Resisters League
Catalyst Project