2.07.2007

The Court Martial of Ehren Watada: Truth to Power

First Lieutenant Ehren Watada's court martial has begun in Fort Lewis, Washington. The judge in the case barred several experts in international and constitutional law from testifying yesterday about the legality of the war.

If found guilty, Watada faces four years in prison and a dishonorable discharge.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has joined a growing list of individuals in supporting Ehren Watada's decision to object to the Iraq War. Tutu was the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 1984 for his fight against South Africa's system of Apartheid.

Dear Lt Watada,

It was good talking with you from our Semester at Sea ship M/V Explorer at present docked in Nassau, Bahamas.

I reiterate what I said briefly on the telephone that I admire your courageous and moral stand. In Christian tradition, ethicists insist on the absolute primacy of obeying one's conscience. It is a categorical imperative.

Many of us salute your stand and want to assure you of my personal support as you face a courtmartial. Your name will be emblazoned in the annals of all the stalwarts who have taken a similar conscientious stand.

I pray for you fervently and those who will sit in judgement on you.

God bless you richly and stand by you just as God stood by the side of God's servants in the fiery furnace described by the prophet Daniel.

--Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town