Mother of Army Officer refusing Iraq deployment goes to Congress
by Global Women's Strike, 5 December 2006
On the day that the
Iraq Study Group released a report describing the situation as
“grave and deteriorating”, Carolyn Ho, the mother Lt. Ehren Watada,
the first commissioned Army officer to face court martial for
refusing to deploy to Iraq, will meet with members of Congress to
gather support for her son.
In a case that has
drawn national and international media attention, Lt. Watada, 28, of
Hawai’i, failed to report for duty on June 22 as the company he
commands was deployed to Iraq, carrying out his stated intention to
refuse to lead his troops in what he says is an illegal and immoral
war. He faces court martial in February on charges of missing
movement and conduct unbecoming an officer, which could result in a
prison sentence of up to six years.
Carolyn Ho will be
meeting with members of the Armed Services Committee, the
Congressional Black Caucus and other US Representatives, as well as
with members of the religious community in Washington.
A high school guidance counselor in
Hawai’i, Carolyn Ho has campaigned tirelessly behind the scenes to
build support for her son’s cause. “As
a mother, I have evolved from fearing for his safety and for his
future to the realization that there is a higher purpose to all that
has transpired,” she says.
“What Ehren is doing will galvanize
the anti-war movement.”
estimates of 8,000 soldiers AWOL since the start of the
Iraq war, and increasing questions about the legality of the war,
Lt. Watada’s principled stand is bound to be a test case for the
growing movement against the war among military personnel. “Appeal
for Redress”, a campaign to withdraw from Iraq initiated by US Navy
Seaman Jonathan Hutto, has been signed by over 1000 active-duty
The recent election is universally seen as a resounding rejection of
the Iraq war by the American public.
Ms. Ho is available
for interviews while in Washington on December 6 and 7. She
will be a guest on “RadioNation” with Laura Flanders on Air America
on Saturday December 9 at 7:45pm EST. Her east coast speaking
appearances include New York University, Haverford College and
Temple University, along with community meetings.
To arrange interviews
please call Phoebe Jones, Global Women’s Strike Philadelphia, at
610-505-4944. The Global Women’s Strike is coordinating Ms. Ho’s
speaking and media appearances.
See also: Global
Lt Watada Campaign