Army will not allow Watada to resign
A pretrial hearing for the isle Army officer is scheduled for Aug. 17
The Army has rejected 1st Lt. Ehren Watada's offer to resign instead of facing a possible court-martial for refusing to deploy to Iraq.
This was the third time Watada, 28, has offered to resign his Army commission. He is scheduled to face an Article 32 pretrial hearing at Fort Lewis, Wash., on Aug. 17.
The pretrial hearing is equivalent to a preliminary hearing in a civilian criminal court, and is expected to last a few days.
The Army seems "to want to make a martyr out of him," said Eric Seitz, Watada's attorney. "If that is the case, then we are certainly eager to join issue with them because I think this whole episode is going to be much more embarrassing to the Army than it is going to be detrimental in the long run to Lt. Watada."
The Army seems bent on having a court-martial and sending Watada to prison, Seitz said.
"If that is the case, we will have a contentious court-martial," he said.
Last month, Watada told the Army he was willing to face a non-judicial hearing, resign his commission and accept a less-than-honorable discharge.
Two of his commanders rejected the offer, according to Col. James Lovejoy, staff judge advocate.
Last Friday, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, former 25th Infantry Division commander who now commands Fort Lewis, also rejected his offer.
Watada faces three charges of missing a movement, contempt toward officials and conduct unbecoming an officer.
Seitz has said Watada faces a maximum sentence of 7 1/2 years in prison, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and dishonorable discharge.
It will be Dubik who will determine if Watada will face a court-martial based on the findings from next week's pretrial hearing.
Since his refusal to go to Iraq, Watada has been reassigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, I Corps.
The 1996 Kalani High School graduate enlisted in the Army in March 2003 -- the same month the United States invaded Iraq -- and was commissioned later that year. He served one tour in South Korea.
Watada has said that he wouldn't object to serving in Afghanistan.
Watada first offered to turn in his Army commission in January because he believes the war in Iraq is illegal and immoral.
Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada is scheduled to face an Article 32 pretrial hearing at Fort Lewis, Wash., on Aug. 17.
That hearing is equivalent to a preliminary hearing in a civilian criminal court, and is expected to last a few days.