The letter posted below was sent on Tuesday by Prof. Michael Honey of the Univ. of Washington-Tacoma to the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) in response to an editorial published Sunday.  --  It was ironic that the News Tribune entitled its editorial "Moral Compasses Needed in Iraq," since, as Honey said, Tacoma's daily "seems blind to the deep moral and legal questions Watada is raising." ...

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[From Prof. Michael Honey]

August 22, 2006

Letter to the Editor,

Your editorial, "Moral compasses needed in Iraq" (August 20), condemning Lt. Ehren Watada for refusing to go to Iraq, seems blind to the deep moral and legal questions Watada is raising.

Most people in the world believe this is not a war of self-defense or for human rights, but a war for oil. The Bush Administration's pursuit of war through deception has not only destroyed Iraq and caused untold suffering, but has created a crisis of the American republic.

Our government, not some outside power, adopted the United Nations charter, which outlaws pre-emptive wars and crimes against the peace; the Geneva Conventions, which outlaw torture and humiliation of prisoners; and the Nuremberg Principles, which hold individuals responsible to oppose crimes against peace and humanity. Our president has broken all of these laws and more.

Our soldiers in Iraq do have a "moral compass," but how can they exercise it in a situation that forces them to kill civilians who clearly don't want us there? Rather, Lt. Watada is asserting the Nuremberg principle to resist an unjust war leading to massive civilian deaths.

Watada may go to prison for taking a stand for the rule of law. But he will not be condemned by history. Bush will.

Michael Honey

Michael Honey, Professor
African-American, Ethnic and Labor Studies and American History
University of Washington, Tacoma
1900 Commerce St.
Tacoma, WA 98402

"An Injury to One Is an Injury to All"