Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More on the military, Watada...

Sources and inspirations:
  • This week's 'toon was based largely on the case of Ehren Watada, the Fort Lewis soldier who was court-martialed last week after refusing to be deployed with his unit to Iraq. The prosecutor in the case says that Watada "disgraced himself and the military." Of course, the obvious question is: if Watada has disgraced the military, then what in the effing hell has George W. Bush done?!

    This aspect of military law is pretty murky. Of course, soldiers cannot be governed under the same set of laws as the rest of us -- the chain of command has to be preserved. At the same time, soldiers clearly have a duty to refuse unlawful orders, a principle established by the Nuremburg trials. As a result, those soldiers who are men of conscience are put in an impossible position when a reckless and insane Commander-in-Chief orders them to commit illegal actions. And, in the end, the consequences for those actions fall completely on the soldiers' shoulders when the administration leaves them out to dry. "Support the troops" indeed...

    Taking all these points into account, Watada probably should go to prison, something he seems entirely willing to do. George W. Bush should go to prison, too, but my psychic tells me that's never gonna happen. My gut tells me that the mistrial was orchestrated by the government, which was faced with a high-profile trial that would put a huge spotlight on the most objectionable aspects of this already unpopular war and turn the kid into a martyr when they sent him to prison. I'm suggesting that the confession was "botched" to make it all go away quietly. I don't really have any "evidence" for this, but that doesn't seem to be a big deal in investigative journalism these days.

  • Check out a whole heap 'a older articles from Mother Jones on the military and the Pentagon's recruitment crisis. JoAnn Wypijewski reminds us that "the fundamental lesson [of Vietnam]... is that soldiers forced to become criminals for old men's ambitions won't all come home quietly." David Goodman gives us the backstory on Iraq soldiers who believe that the adventure there is illegal and immoral, including one who has to worry about getting run over on the streets of his hometown because he voiced his belief. See also Jonathan Stein's interview with documentary filmmaker David Zeiger.

  • Diane Farsetta on the U.S. Army's new sales tactic for potential recruits: encourage them to ignore their parents and other people who don't think the Iraq War is a very good thing.

2 comments:

Charles Brubaker said...

Speaking of US soldiers, one cartoonist, who is stationed in Iraq, cried foul over cartoons with flag draped coffins:

http://dailycartoonist.com/index.php/2007/02/12/us-editorial-cartoonist-serving-in-iraqi-cries-foul-over-peers-handling-of-war-imagery

Some interesting comments are in it, including one from Rick Stromoski (who is the president of NCS) and Daryl Cagle, who points out that the imagery is generally seen from cartoonists who's against the war.

No Mind said...

I agree with the guy... the last thing we should do is allow a powerful symbol like flag-draped coffins become a cliched satirical prop like elephants n' donkeys.

Of course, that's a danger with every symbolic image that old-school editorial cartoonists collectively beat into the ground with generic representations until it no longer has any meaning...