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'Dayside' Uses Audience Against Officer Refusing Order to Iraq

Reported by Judy - June 16, 2006

The co-hosts of Fox News' "Dayside" proved they have a very narrow definition of courage Friday (June 16, 2006) when they interviewed the first U.S. Army officer to refuse orders to serve in Iraq.

Lt. Ehren Watada of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, has received orders for Iraq, but has told his commanding officer that he will not go because he considers the war illegal and immoral. Watada, who enlisted in June 2003, says he would be willing to go fo Afghanistan, so he is not seeking conscientious objector status.

"Like millions of Americans I believed (it) when the administration told us that Iraq had stockpiles of wapons of mass destruction, ties to 9/11 and ties to Al Qaeda," he said. Now that he is convinced those things were all untrue, Watada said he believes the war in Iraq is illegal and immoral.

“It’s the responsibility and the duty of every officer, every member of the military to really look at the truithfulness and the legality behind every order, including the order to go to war, and they have to look within themselves and make the right decision regardless of the consequences," Watada said.

Jerrick attempted to argue with Watada, insisting that the military is "not like shopping at the Gap. … You can’t pick and choose, do you think?”

But Watada insisted: “We can pick and choose which orders are lawful, and which orders are unlawful. It’s our duty as Americans and members of the military and to not do so, just to obey every order given to us without thought, without looking into the legality or the truthfulness behind it, it’s a very dangerous path that we’ve taken.”

Jerrick then went into the audience to interview a retired navy officer who, rather than acknowledge that Watada is correct about the duty to ignore illegal orders, said, "You make a commitment to your country and to your other fellow officers and enlisted personnel to serve, and then you say, oh, I don’t want to because it’s not convenient for your philosophy. Well that’s a dangerous philosophy and I think what he’s doing is wrong.”

Then Jerrick and co-host Juliet Huddy went to retired marine and Fox News military analyst Col. David Hunt, who admitted that, "He’s right. Ethically and morally, you’re not supposed to obey an order you think is illegal.” But then Hunt insisted that the war was not illegal (but if Bush is ever impeached that may change), and warned that Watada "is going to be called a coward for the rest of your life."

Jerrick then asked the audience to applaud if they thought Watada is a coward or not a coward, and interviewed only someone who thought he was. "I think a lot of people are going to call you a coward, " Jerrick said.

Watada stuck to his guns. "I would tell those people to step in my shoes and stand up for what you believe in, what you believe is the right thing, not only for yourself, but for America as a whole.” He started to say something further about "all the members of the military who have died for this war" but he was cut off.

For Jerrick and Huddy, "courage" is only about following orders into battle. Moral courage does not exist in their universe. And of course, they ignored the duty of troops to determine if an order is legal. That is the type of calculation Americans wish Nazi death camp workers would have made but didn't, choosing to follow orders blindly instead.

Watada is demonstrating true courage -- standing up for what he believes in. Isn't that what Americans want people to do?

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