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Army Files Three Charges Against Lt. Watada


I have been following the case of Lt. Watada who has refused orders to fight in Iraq because he believes that the war is illegal. He is not opposed to war and will fight in Afghanistan, because he believes we have legitimate cause to be there. I applaud his stance. The war is illegal under international law. You cannot preemptively strike another nation and there is no proof the Iraq government participated in 9-11.

Please check out this site supporting Lt. Watada: http://www.thankyoult.org/

In the present army a soldier is not supposed to question orders. However, when the world judged the Nazi's at Nuremburg, soldiers were held to international law, which requires them to disobey illegal orders. "I was just following orders", is not a sufficient defence.

This also reminds me of a family story of a conversation between my ancestor Chief White Swan and another ancestor General Alfred Sully. After Sully threatened to kill all of our tribe for harboring our cousins, the Santee after the Minnesota Sioux Uprising.

White Swan angrily came at him with a knife saying, "You monster! Come down off that horse and fight me man to man. When your men are fighting you sit on the highest hill on the fastest horse watching from binoculars and if any of your men get scared and run away you shoot them. If our warriors lose heart we figure that they will fight better another day. And when we go to battle my young men come after me saying, 'We have to make sure the old man doesn't get himself killed!' You come down here and fight me and then it will be over with."

Now this system is still in place and I think my great-great grandfather did a good job describing the plight of the soldier versus the warrior of our tribe. Sully backed off when he heard this and said that he didn't mean what he had said about killing all the men, women and children.

White Swan stood back and said, "I don't know what else you could have meant."

The Santee were allowed to stay and the Yanktons lived to tell the tale of their defiance.
Jacqueline Keeler
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