The U.S. Army has partially surrendered in the case of Lt. Ehren Watada by allowing Watada to resign from the army and avoid further court-martial proceedings. The Army had been prosecuting Watada for refusing orders to deploy to Iraq. The surrender was partial because Watada was given a discharge “under other-than-honorable conditions.”
Watada had refused to deploy to Iraq on the ground that the war was illegal and immoral.
It was illegal in the sense that it was being waged without a congressional declaration of war, which is required by the U.S. Constitution, which U.S. soldiers take an oath to support and defend.
It was illegal and immoral in the sense that it constituted a war of aggression, one in which the U.S. government attacked, invaded, and occupied a country whose government had never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.
The Army’s prosecution of Watada confirmed that the U.S. government expects its soldiers, especially its officers, to blindly obey orders, no matter how illegal or immoral such orders might be. Ironically, the U.S. government sometimes still points with pride to its prosecution of German military officials at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal for faithfully obeying orders to wage a war of aggression during World War II.
The only reason that the Army surrendered in the Watada case is because its prosecutors screwed up after Watada’s trial had begun. They sought and secured a mistrial without the consent of the defendant. As I suggested in an article I wrote on November 17, 2007, that action would probably preclude a retrial of Watada based on double-jeopardy grounds, a position that was later upheld by a federal judge. But for that screw-up, there is little doubt that the Army would be continuing to send a message to every Army officer and enlisted man by continuing to prosecute Watada: Obey orders, no matter how illegal, immoral, or unconstitutional they might be.
During the past several years, I have written several articles about the Watada case: https://tinyurl.com/ylx392c
As I stated in those articles, in my opinion Watada is a genuine hero for having had the courage to stand up for his convictions, for refusing to obey illegal and immoral orders of his superiors, and for risking harsh punishment and the loss of his military career. He is what a military officer should be all about. He deserved nothing less than an honorable discharge from the Army.