On Sunday, Karl Hack wrote a letter to the editor to the Olympian about Lt. Ehren Watada, who on Jun. 22 refused to deploy to Iraq because he believes that the war there is illegal.[1]  --  Hack pointed out that on Nov. 19, 2003, Richard Perle himself told a London audience that the war on Iraq was illegal, and that in making his case Lt. Watada is showing courage....


By Karl Hack

Olympian (Olympia, WA)
June 25, 2006


Army Lt. Ehren Watada makes a valid argument that in refusing to deploy to Iraq he is simply refusing to follow an illegal order. In fact, military personnel can be punished for following unlawful orders if they knew an order was unlawful or "a person of ordinary sense and understanding would have known it to be unlawful."

Perhaps most significant is the admission made on 11/19/03 to a London audience by Richard Perle -- longtime neocon war hawk and former chairman of Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board -- that the U.S. attack against Iraq was indeed illegal under the U.N. Charter, which makes it illegal under U.S. law as well. Perle nevertheless justified the illegality by saying that following the law would have been "morally unacceptable."

Hey! Try that excuse the next time you're charged with a crime and see what happens!

Lt. Watada is being vilified as a traitor and a coward. Which would be the tougher route -- deploy to Iraq and probably live through it; or forfeit his career on a dishonorable discharge, spend time in military prison, ruin his future job prospects, and suffer angry, hateful, public criticism?

America is a land of free thought and open discussion, and Lt. Watada is displaying far more courage than Bush and Cheney did when they themselves took every step possible to avoid Vietnam. Maggie Kuhn said it best:  "Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes."  Now that's courage!

--Karl Hack, Olympia