Lt. Watada defends his war stance on CNN
Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada appeared on national television yesterday and deflected criticism that he took the coward's way out by refusing to fight in Iraq because he was afraid to die there.
"I am sure everyone is afraid of getting killed," the 28-year-old artillery officer said on CNN.
"I am sure everyone doesn't want to go to prison, either," said Watada, who faces a maximum jail term of six years if convicted by a military court-martial.
"Everyone doesn't want to do a lot of things, but we have to go back to what we took an oath to -- and that was to protect and defend our country against all enemies. That includes those within our country who seek to undermine, who seek to violate the laws and basically hold themselves unaccountable and do whatever they want."
"That is not America. That is not democracy."
When asked if he was just "a pawn of the anti-war movement," Watada, a 1996 Kalani High School graduate, replied, "Almost every day since I spoke out publicly, there have been people who have approached me -- just ordinary people -- nobody from the activists or anti-war movement. People in uniform and many soldiers -- active-duty soldiers from all ranks -- have written to me and come up to me and have given me their support and their respect for what I have done."
The Army announced this month it will court-martial Watada for failing to join his unit on June 22 when it left Fort Lewis, Wash., for Iraq, and for conduct unbecoming an officer.
Watada was a member of Fort Lewis Stryker Brigade, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, when he was ordered to Iraq. He has been reassigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, I Corps.