Bob Watada, father of Lt. Ehren Watada, spoke at the Society of Professional Journalists in Honolulu on Apr. 14-15, and one of the journalists there took advantage of his presence to write up a brief profile for AP.[1]  --  "Ehren Watada's lawyers have advised him to no longer talk about the case, his father said," Brian Charlton wrote.  --  "'My son has somewhat backed off a little bit,' Watada said.  'He's somewhat become afraid of what people are going to do to him right now.  He's become very cautious.'"  --  As for Bob Watada, "He gets about 30 e-mails a day and sometimes is recognized when out in public, he said.  Watada, who had seven brothers in the military, also opposed the Vietnam War, served in the Peace Corps in Peru, and extended his education to avoid the draft, claiming that war was illegal."  --  Watada and his wife plan to move to a farm house near Eugene, OR, next month.  --  Back in September, Malia Zimmerman of Hawaii Reporter wrote about the historical importance of Bob Watada's 10-year tenure at the state Campaign Spending Commission, which shook up political circles in Hawaii....


1.

WATADA'S CASE BRINGS FATHER INTO NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT AGAINST WAR
By Brian Charlton

Associated Press
April 18, 2007

Original source: Honolulu Advertiser

Since Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada refused to go to Iraq, his father has become an outspoken critic of the war, touring the country to gain support for his son.

Bob Watada, a 67-year-old retired state official, said after his son, Ehren, became the first military officer to face a court martial for publicly refusing to deploy to Iraq, his life dramatically changed.

He researched events leading up the war, started criticizing the Bush administration on its reasons for invading Iraq, and then traveled across the country for much of the past year with his wife to speak about his son and raise money for legal costs.

"It was because of him that I've gone out and educated myself," said Bob Watada, who served as executive director of the state Campaign Spending Commission for a decade. "I've given literally hundreds of speeches. If it wasn't for my son, I wouldn't have read all these books."

The soldier's father talked about his anti-war activities at a Society of Professional Journalists regional meeting in Honolulu during the weekend.

Ehren Watada, 28, refused to deploy with his unit last June because he believes the war is illegal and didn't want to commit acts that he felt could be war crimes. He faces charges of missing movement and conduct unbecoming an officer -- and could be sentenced to a dishonorable discharge and six years in prison if convicted.

He faces a second court-martial July 16 after his first trial in February ended abruptly when the judge, Lt. Col. John Head, said he did not believe the soldier fully understood a pretrial agreement he signed admitting elements of the charges.

As part of that agreement, the Army had dropped two of the charges against him, lowering his potential sentence to four years.

Ehren Watada's lawyers have advised him to no longer talk about the case, his father said.

"My son has somewhat backed off a little bit," Watada said. "He's somewhat become afraid of what people are going to do to him right now. He's become very cautious."

Bob Watada, however, continues to attract attention despite cutting many of his appearances after his wife, Rosa, had a stroke. He sometimes brings DVDs of documentaries on the war to hand out and is candid about his son's situation.

He gets about 30 e-mails a day and sometimes is recognized when out in public, he said. Watada, who had seven brothers in the military, also opposed the Vietnam War, served in the Peace Corps in Peru, and extended his education to avoid the draft, claiming that war was illegal.

While the Watadas spoke against the war in Oregon, they visited Eugene where they found friendly people, beautiful pine trees and lush valleys, and a comfortable climate. The couple also discovered a farm house, where they plan to move in May.

"Because of Ehren, I discovered my paradise," Watada said.