NewYorkSteve (newyorksteve) wrote,
NewYorkSteve
newyorksteve

I Can See For Trials & Trials

The army's so buggered right now it's rediculous. That's why it's a huge deal to get this mistrial in the court-martial for Lt. Ehren Watada. You'd think, knowing what we know about Americans' reaction to the troops in Vietnam, that the army would be wise to keep the good will we've actually got NOW for the troops and not sway public sentiment the other way with a pointless court-martial. What good does sending a guy - who's already volunteered to join in the effort in Afghanistan - to prison for four years? You're not gonna convince him to go to Iraq, so you lose his services either way!

I'll tell you why; two reasons. First, it's an underling not respecting the army's Au-thor-i-tay. But, secondly, it's this sentiment that people have towards those who'll sacrifice everything for something in which they believe strongly about. Even if it's futile; even if you know the odds are completely against you and you're almost guaranteed a jail sentence. There are those - generally those in power who're trying to put you in prison - who think you should just bite the bullet, renounce your convictions, and take your medicine.

There's an excellent story on ESPN.com (I couldn't tell you how long it's gonna stay up there, but if you get the chance, it's worth reading). It's about this group of high school kids, football players. Final year, they rent a hotel room and invite a couple girls over. They were 17, one of the girls was 15, sex was had (rape was cried but later dismissed due to videotape evidence). The thing is, they lived in Georgia, where there was a law (since amended) that stated, pretty much, that it was illegal for a 17 year old to have sex with a 15 year old. All the guys except for one took the plea deal, which meant they had to spend a minimal time in jail (two years I think). The kid who didn't take the deal believed he did nothing wrong. Not only that, but if he HAD taken the deal, he would've been considered a "Sex Offender" and would've had to register accordingly. As a Sex Offender, he wouldn't have been able to see his younger sister. So, he decided to fight it and ultimately lost. Ten years, and he's now only two years in. And he'll have to register as a sex offender anyway.

The fucked-up things in this case is the fact that, even though that law has been changed, it wasn't retroactive, so it still doesn't apply to his case. Not only that, but the only person who has the power to let him out early is the DA who put him in there. And, he'll only do that if the kid admits to being a child molester.

So, what do you do? Do you say whatever it takes for you to stay out of prison? Or do you stand up for what you believe in and what's right? Is it needlessly being a martyr? I don't think so, because the bottom line is, you've got to be able to look at yourself when it's all over. They're not called Convictions when you renounce them to avoid conviction.

Yeah, Lt. Ehren Watada could've fallen in line and went with his unit to Iraq. But, that's not why he joined the army. He joined to defend this country, not to participate in its crimes against humanity. We all remember what the major theme was at the Nuremberg Trials; all the Nazis kept talking about how they were Just Following Orders. Instead of prosecuting this man, maybe we should be looking into why he's chosen Not To.
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