Lt. Ehren Watada, going on trial this week for refusing to obey an order, was described by MSNBC as "an exemplary soldier until he refused to go to Iraq."
Well, I disagree with MSNBC's subtle editorizing in claiming Lt. Watada's exemplary behavior as a soldier ended the day he refused to follow an order he considered immoral and illegal.
On the contrary, Lt. Watada's model as a soldier was amplified the day he defied his orders. It's an example for every brave soldier of conscience to consider when confronted with similar orders.
This past week, Mrs. Dada and I went to see the movie, "Pan's Labyrinth." I found an intense scene worth the price of admission. It occurred between a Spanish army captain and his civilian doctor, and the most powerful line in all that movie came from this doctor, spoken to his captain. It was,
"But captain, to obey for obey's sake ... that's something only people like you do."
I think those are words worthy of every soldier's consideration when given questionable orders.
As a soldier once myself, I can attest it's what every one of us was taught in our most basic training. It was drilled into us, over and over. But it takes a rare soldier to believe it, a braver soldier to stand up for it and the most courageous ones to act on it. For that I say, "Kudos, Lieutenant Watada! I would have been proud to serve under your leadership!"
If more soldiers had the courage now being demonstrated by Ehren Watada, it's possible such atrocities like Iraq could be prevented or greatly lessened.
Certainly, if mankind is to survive as a species, we need a hell of a lot more courageous Lieutenant Watadas to stand up, look our misguided leadership in the face, stare it down and defy it!