US Army lieutenant refuses Iraq deployment

July 6, 2006 05:59

An Army lieutenant who said he refused to deploy to Iraq because he believes the war there is illegal was charged Wednesday with three counts, including conduct unbecoming an officer. According to calculations by military lawyers, 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, could face nearly eight years in prison and a dishonorable discharge if convicted, said his attorney, Eric Seitz of Honolulu. Watada is charged with conduct unbecoming an officer, missing movement and contempt toward officials. Watada, a member of the first Stryker Brigade Combat Team, refused to go to Iraq last month after researching the war. He said he would be willing to serve in Afghanistan or elsewhere. The Army refused to allow him to resign his commission. Watada's stance prompted rallies of support near Fort Lewis, in Seattle and in Honolulu, his hometown.

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