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.”


With Pentagon 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 soldiers (  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.


Background information:

See also:  Global Women's Strike
                Lt Watada Campaign for Justice: and