16 July 2006

True Integrity: Ehren Watada

A recent article in The Nation discusses the case of First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, an infantry officer stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, who has refused to deploy to Iraq with his unit due to the fact that Shrub's War is illegal. Watada faces up to eight years in jail and a dishonorable discharge.

It's interesting to note that Watada's most crucial legal claims were corroborated June 29 by the US Supreme Court. Duke University law professor Walter Dellinger calls the decision "the most important decision on presidential power ever." In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Court rebuked the Bush Administration not only for the Guantánamo tribunals but also for the entire notion of executive power the Administration used to justify them. In a 5-to-3 decision, the Court ruled that the President cannot act contrary to "limitations that Congress has, in proper exercise of its own war powers, placed on his powers." Checks and balances--what a novel idea, eh?!

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