Lt. Watada Press Conference on Tuesday
For those of you who have been following the case of First Lt. Ehren Watada, I just received an e-mail today that there will be a press conference here in Hawaii at noon on Tuesday, 15 August at the Father Damien Statute in front of the Hawai`i State Capitol. In case you haven't heard, Lt. Watada has stated that he refuses to go to Iraq because he claims that it is an immoral and illegal war. He has tried to resign his commission, but has not applied to be a Conscientious Objector (CO). I think he is taking a very brave stance. The Bush Administration is prosecuting him basically for criticizing war policy. It is amazing how this quickly became a Free Speech issue.
Apparently Lt. Watada's Preliminary Article 32 Hearing at Ft. Lewis is scheduled for August 17, so a Consortium of Hawai`i's Clergy in Support of Lt. Ehren Watada "will gather to speak out in support of Lt. Ehren Watada"
"Clergy and church representatives attending: Paul Gracie, Acting President, The Interfaith Alliance of Hawai`i; Sister Joan Chatfield, Chair, TIAH Commission on Ethics in Public Life; Dr. Al Bloom, Honpa Hongwanji Buddhist Mission; Reverend Sam Cox, United Methodist Church; Pastor Bob Nakata, Kahaluu United Methodist Church; Reverend Shoji Matsumoto, Honpa Hongwanji Betsuin; Reverend Bishop Stephen Randolph Sykes, Hawai`i Inclusive Orthodox Church; Warren Kundis, Muslim Association of Hawaii; Reverend Wallace Fukunaga, United Church of Christ; Rabbi Avi Magid; and Reverend Mike Young, First Unitarian Church."
The rest of the message is as follows:
Honolulu attorney Eric Seitz will also provide the latest developments of Watada's legal case . Seitz departs Tuesday evening for Ft. Lewis, Washington to represent Lt. Watada in the Article 32 preliminary hearing on Thursday, August 17.
Lt. Ehren Watada, born and raised in Hawai`i, is the first commissioned Army officer to disobey orders to deploy to Iraq as a thoughtful and deliberate act of conscience to refuse to participate in an illegal war. The Army has charged Lt. Watada with conduct unbecoming an officer, missing troop movement and contempt towards officials (in this case, President Bush). If he is convicted, he could face nearly eight years in prison and a dishonorably discharge.
The mission of The Interfaith Alliance Hawai`i (TIAH) is to promote a positive healing role in Hawai`i with people of faith, good will, and aloha; encouraging nonviolent civic participation, facilitating community activism, and challenging religion and political extremism.
I have to be at New Student Orientation that time, but will be there in spirit.