Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tired rambling

I apologize -- my brain is mush and I haven't had the brainpower to post anything prescient. Birthday celebrations, getting sick, ending a relationship -- all in addition to school, homework and work. It's been a busy week.

Lent began February 20. Although I am not Christian, I decided to participate this year in support of my Catholic (newly ex-)boyfriend and also, hopefully, to benefit myself. I chose to give up MySpace. Obviously, if I have elected to give up MySpace for Lent, it is likely something on which I spend far too much time and energy. So we shall see if I can handle 40 days without it. Although I am Pagan (yes, that's right, Pagan), I see nothing wrong with participating in the religious observance of another faith tradition if it can serve to make me a better person and perhaps advance me in my spiritual path.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mistrial Declared in Watada Court-Martial

Thursday, February 8, the Court-Martial of First Lt. Ehren Watada (see previous blog for details) ended in a mistrial. The judge, Lt. Col. John Head, declared the mistrial after confusion arose regarding pre-trial "stipulation of facts," signed by both the prosecution and Lt. Watada.

Watada's civilian attorney, Eric Seitz, believes that the officer cannot be re-tried due to the Constitution's protection against double jeopardy. However, a new trial has been scheduled for March 19.

Following are articles presenting various perspectives on the verdict:

The Honolulu Advertiser article

The Washington Times article

The Eat the State article

The Nichi Bei Times

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Trial Starts for Officer Who Refused to Go to Iraq

This article in The New York Times came up on the Google news page yesterday when I logged on and I decided to read further. The story is about the court-martial of First Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada, an Army Officer who has refused to go to Iraq on grounds that the war is illegal. I think it's an interesting issue.

On the one hand, as American citizens, we pride ourselves on our First Amendment right to protest our government's actions. On the other hand, to what extent do members of the military retain that right? By refusing to go to Iraq, is he exercising Free Speech responsibly or is he breaking a
commitment he made voluntarily?

I have not yet been able to take a position either way. My realm of experience includes those who joined the U.S. Armed Forces before 9/11 and after and therefore have different views and experiences. I also have my own personal views on the war, some of which coincide with Watada's. However, I also have strong opinions on making informed decisions and abiding by the consequences of those decisions. Yes, we are all allowed to change our minds, but if there are ramifications to our actions, should we not be willing to accept them? Perhaps it is easier for me to theorize, given that my life is not endangered by this issue.

For more information on First Lt. Watada's court-martial, see here.

Following is an interesting movie presenting views on this issue: