On Sun., Feb. 11, ABC broadcast an interview with Sean Penn on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”[1]  --  The focus was on Penn’s support for Lt. Ehren Watada, which brought the actor to Tacoma and the gates of Fort Lewis last week.  --  In a seven-minute interview, Penn describes how he got involved in the Watada case.  --  Asked why he is speaking out, he says that participation is the essence of democracy.  --  He adds:  “There’s no game to this.  Iraqi civilians are dying, babies are dying, and American soldiers are dying numerously every day, so for people not to speak up now is an obscenity.”  --  He speaks against punishment for Watada, saying this would be to “punish a good deed,” and calls Watada’s stand “one of the single most patriotic acts that’s happening today.”  --  He concludes by calling on the American people:  “The American people have a great opportunity to really demonstrate the power of democracy and return this country to a position of example rather pariah, which is to say that in this country the people decide — we’re the deciders — and we can end this war.  We can force this Congress to cut funding.  We can force this Congress to impeach this president and this vice president, and we should do so.”  --  It should be observed, however, that the premise of the interviewer that Lt. Watada’s is an act of “civil disobedience” neglects the fact that he maintains that he is acting in accordance with the law, not against it....



Extended voices


This Week with George Stephanopoulos
ABC News
February 11, 2007


Actor discusses war resister Lt. Watada and the Iraq war. [A shorter 1:39 clip is also available on the web site, shows Sean Penn outside Fort Lewis and Lt. Ehren Watada speaking in Seattle on Feb. 3. —M.J.]