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August 30, 2006

Lieutenant Watada...

Got the following comment to my post at Milblogs.

Rick (coming in from a [bogus] Yahoo Germany email address) left this:

The trial is certainly a show, but because that's the only way to wake up some Americans from their materialistic comas. You don't see much coverage in the media about this guy, but you certainly see how people complain about waiting 6 hours for fuel standing next to their gas-guzzling, ozone corroding SUV.

And you people always find it so easy to find some hidden agenda to attribute such actions. What about good old fashion patriotism? The kind this great country was founded upon. I don't see you people questions Bushy boy’s hidden agenda. Where are the WMDs?? Where is Bin Laden? LOL you people...

My reponse? This:

Rick - I was born in Germany and lived there over 15 years. Spare me the "materialistic" jibes. You germans like your creature comforts and toys, too. Just because you tax yourself to a level where you can't have as many... well, that's more making a virtue of a vice than true virtue.

As for the rest of your comments - guess who doesn't read too many milblogs.

I thought it was bad, from a leftist dialectic perspective, to engage in "you people" lumping into categories? I guess not - as long as the people in question aren't... your people.

Moving along -

If Lieutenant Watada wishes to self-destruct, he has that right. But he doesn't get to support one campaign, Afghanistan, and refuse to fight in another, Iraq. Like it or not, it's the same war, in both general and technical senses.

If you'd like to bring up an example from German history, it would be like a German officer agreeing to fight in Russia, but refusing to go fight in, say, Cyrenaica, because, well, he didn't think the fight in Africa was right, and what the heck, the British hadn't done anything to him, he was from Pomerania and the threat there was from the East.

Or, better yet, a US officer refusing to fight Germany in WWII, because, well, only the Japanese bombed the US, so he'll only fight in the Pacific.

Soldiers don't get to choose their fights in that regard. It's all or nothing. And setting the precedent that they can is lunacy, and the road to a Banana Republic.

If Watada was both principled *and* smart, he would have deployed, and then waited for orders to attack an Iraqi target - and *then* refuse. He could have possibly forced a trial about the legality of the Iraq campaign at that point.

But he's not very savvy, his lawyers less so - except for the purpose of establishing Kerry-esque credentials - in that he chose to not obey a deployment order - allowing the government to set the the terms of the trial over missing movement, and failure to obey a perfectly valid and legal order - which is where he screwed up from the perspective you seem to espouse.

The "hidden agenda" is simply watching what Lieutenant Watada and his camp are doing, and drawing all the inferences from that we need.

Patriotism? Perhaps. And if so, a version that is as dangerous as blind, unthinking support - moreso, since it sets the terms that the soldiery get to choose, not their civilian masters. At least in the blind, unthinking support version, they're doing what they're told, and that can, in the event, be modified by electoral outcomes - not the decisions of people in uniforms with guns.

Would you support Lieutenant Watada if he had refused an order to deploy to Kosovo? Another "optional war" fought without UN sanction?

Do you *really* want me deciding where I'll fight? Remember - a popular bumpersticker among military personnel in 2003 was "Iraq first, then France." Nothing to stop us from rolling into Germany a third time in 100 years, eh?

Yet - you don't really fear that, and you don't fear it based not on people like Lieutenant Watada, eh?