We previously paid a great deal of attention to Army 1LT Ehren Watada’s court-martial and successful challenge to his prosecution in a collateral attack in U.S. district court.  See, e.g., Watada v. Head, 530 F. Supp. 2d 1136 (W.D. Wash. 2007).  (Our posts are too numerous to capture, but see, e.g., here, here, and here.)

The AP is now reporting that Watada’s civilian counsel says that the Army will discharge 1LT Watada with an OTH.

22 Responses to “Watada reportedly to be discharged with OTH”

  1. Comrade Cossio says:

    Good Riddance, I’m tierd of people labeling this coward a “hero”. Ya, he’s a regular Jackie Robinson and Billy Mitchell, a real Martyr. He should get a Dismissal and 6-12 months like the other phonies.

    His counsel was very good though. Really saved his hide.

  2. John O'Connor says:

    I cringe as I say “I agree with Comrade Cossio.” He and Watada could have been bunkies.

  3. LTC Slade says:

    So y’all think he was a coward…I guess you have something to back this up? I mean, being a coward and not deploying are two different things. Maybe he wasn’t scared, maybe he believed he was in the right…might not have had anything to do with cowardice.

  4. John O'Connor says:

    Well, I guess I should be careful in just adopting Comrade Cossio’s post in toto, though you’re splitting hairs Slade. While I don’t know Watada, in the sense that I don’t know that he is a “coward,” in the strictest sense, his conduct is despicable and he deserves any disdain sent his way. When you sign up, you go where you are told. The military is not filled with a millions of individual Justices who personally have to be satisfied of the constitutionality of a conflict before they are obliged to go.

    He got lucky that they screwed up his court-martial.

  5. Comrade Cossio says:

    Took the words otta my mouth.

    Exacta, I can see BEFORE 911. Many guys just signed up for the college money, the recruiter specifically said I might be told to pick up a gun.

    This guy came in after 911 so it makes it 2x as worse. I wonder if he really thhought the war was “illegal” or he just made that up as an excuse.

    We had a case like that back in my old unit were this transfer from Alaska was scared when he herd we were taking mortar fire in Iraq. He was thinking about breaking his arm so he wouldn’t go. Thankfully we talked some sense into him. He came back and said “It wasn’t so bad”.

    I was wondering if the “birthers” were doing this aswell as a ploy, but they seem ok with deploying while their issue got kicked around the court.

    This is a type of malingering, plain and simple.

  6. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    Given the end result, I wonder why the military didn’t just start here? I guess there is a G.O.D. rationale for convening a court-martial, but was there any thought that the C-M would award anything more than a dismissal? Army lurkers, would your hard charging Army members really award jail time to an officer like 1LT Watada (if the case hypothetically went as the government planned)?

    Just an observation, if I was an employer and saw “Other-than-Honorable” on a DD-214 and “Dismissal” on another, I’d probably think the OTH was worse.

  7. LTC Slade says:

    Not disputing that this officer is a disgrace. Just trying to point out that there are a ton of reasons for him to not deploy. Being a coward is only one, and, frankly, I doubt if he is one. After all, it takes no small measure of intestinal fortitude to put yourself at risk of a court-martial. Again, I despise what he did as much as anyone, but I’m not going to call him a coward when I have no idea if he is one. That would be gratuitous.

  8. LTC Slade says:

    No Man, in my experience (all with enlisted), those who would not deploy or deserted got at least a BCD (sometimes DD for NCOs) plus jail for roughly the amount of time of the deployment, so about a year in most cases. I think this guy would have gotten the same thing: dismissal plus jail from a MJ. I could see a panel of officers going harder on him, not easier, b/c any panel he got would have invariably been comprised of previously deployed folks, perhaps multiple deployments. I doubt they’d have much sympathy for a guy who entered the service after 9/11, either.

  9. LTC Slade says:

    Forgot to add: interesting point about OTG v. Dismissal on the 214, but I’ve never seen a 214 for a dismissed officer. Does it just say “dismissal”?

  10. Comrade Cossio says:

    Yes Slade,

    6-12 months is the usual that I’ve seen. I am not going to go on a YouTube frenzy, but this is an example of a Marine who got 13 and a DD:


    His sentence is a result of a very bad decision. That would be going with a Civilian Counsel WITH NO military experience. This guy is a joke, I have heard horror stories about civilian counsel before, and this guy takes the cake:


    I went on his website and guess what? He’s anti-war.

    Here’s a free tip for those thinking about AWOL:

    Do not pick an anti-war counsel with no court-martial experience. You get 13 Months and a DD.

    You have Anne Wright on your case you get to walk out and make the Army look like idiots.

  11. Phil Cave says:

    Yes, $10,000.00 a hit I think is the current “guess” on the fee.

  12. Phil Cave says:

    That’s the link to the Military Lawyer Task Force.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget where Watada was stationed – Fort Lewis, WA. The odds of him getting a panel with even one member who had never deployed, was probably zero.

    I must agree with LTC Slade – there’s no evidence that he was a coward (don’t forget he volunteered to go to Afghanistan), but his “decision making” skills called into serious doubt his officership and ability to lead.

    Standing on principle – which he did when he made the decision to go to trial versus deploy – is one thing. The end result was a trial judge, SJA and Trial Counsel who went the “mistrial” route without any thought at all that there might be a jeopardy proplem. That was a fortuitous gift handed to the defense who ran with it, successfully.

    Meanwhile, it has been almost two years to the day that the U.S. District Court enjoined parts of his retrial, and while the government took an appeal, the DoJ ultimately stipulated to its dismissal, while Watada remained in uniform and on the payroll.

    Two years is simply unreasonable by any standard.

  14. Bridget says:

    No Man, I was always puzzled about the Army’s pursuit of Watada. If not Ad Sep him, then why not just charge the Missing Movement, where you don’t give him quite the opportunity to have the three ring circus? There seemed to be this overwhelming need to prosecute statements he made at anti-war events, and that certainly gave him his platform.

  15. Phil Cave says:

    Bridget – probably the Army was standing on principle as well. In the end they shot themselves in the foot. I think Sun Tzu has something on that. Something about the goal not being to enforce a principle but to win.

  16. Phil Cave says:

    “I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”

  17. Bridget says:

    Phil, As I tell my clients, the principle of the thing is the world’s most expensive item.

  18. GreenOnions says:

    “Army lurkers, would your hard charging Army members really award jail time to an officer like 1LT Watada (if the case hypothetically went as the government planned)?”


  19. Comrade Cossio says:

    I agree with Green Onions. In fact, I wouldn’t be suprised if he got over a year should this have gone through trial. These antics may look good to Code [St]ink but not to a base that deploys non-stop.

    Of course, if he was going to plead guilty so I imagine the PTA had him going infront of the Judge for sentencing.

  20. Anonymous says:


    Nope, it was in front of Members, which is why the MJ declared the mistrial – or so he said.

  21. Anonymous says:

    –if he was going to plead guilty so I imagine the PTA had him going infront of the Judge for sentencing.–

    Nope, it was in front of Members, which is why the MJ declared the mistrial – or so he said.

  22. Comrade Cossio says:

    Ohhh…..I wonder if the Government put that in there (they should in a case like this) or if the Defense “bargained” for it.