Watada Documentary to Screen in Little Tokyo

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“Lt. Watada” examines the case of Ehren Watada who refused to deploy to Iraq in 2006 on the grounds that the war was illegal and immoral.

The Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress and the Asian American Vietnam Veterans Organization will screen the documentary, “Lt. Watada” on June 19 at the David Henry Hwang Theatre at 7 p.m. Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi, Ehren Watada’s father and stepmother as well as his mother, Carolyn Ho will attend the screening along with filmmaker Freida Lee Mock.

“Lt. Watada” is an in-depth look at the case of Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq on the grounds that the war was illegal and immoral. In June 2006, Lt. Watada refused the order to deploy to Iraq. He was charged with “missing a movement” and “conduct unbecoming an officer,” and faced up to eight years in prison and a dishonorable discharge.

Freida Lee Mock

“Lt. Watada” charts Watada’s emergence as a public speaker and activist and chronicles the tense days of his court martial trial in February 2007 which ended in a mistrial. This thoughtful and incisive documentary is both an inspirational portrait of one man’s act of conscience and a powerful investigation into questions that threaten to unravel the government’s justification for the Iraq war.
Mock is an Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, a director, writer and producer. These include the Oscar winner “Maya Lin: A Strong Vision,” a feature film about the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

General admission for the screening is $15/ Seniors and Students: $10. The VIP ticket for $100 (tax-deductible) includes admission, reserved seating and a special pre-release copy of the “Lt. Watada” DVD signed by the filmmaker Freida Mock and the Watada Family. To order tickets: visit NCRR-LA.org.  For more information, call (213) 284-0336.

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  1. Lt. Ehren Watada and Sec. of Defense Robert M. Gates
    remarks to Graduating Officers

    First Lt. Ehren Watada has become the Army’s first commissioned officer to publicly refuse orders to fight in Iraq on grounds that the war is illegal. Watada claims that he ceased to believe in the legality and morality of the [Iraq]war. He is currently involved in his 2nd trial, the 1st was declared a mistrial.

    What follows is excerpted from Sec. of Defense Robert M. Gates address to the graduating Officers of the Air Force Academy Class, 2007: Remarks as Delivered at Colorado Springs, Colorado, Wednesday, May 30, 2007.

    There is only one way to conduct yourself in this world – only one way to remain always above reproach. For a real leader, the elements of personal virtue – self-reliance, self-control, honor, truthfulness, morality – are absolute. They are absolute even when doing what is right may bring embarrassment or bad publicity to your unit or the service or to you. Even when doing what is right may require sacrificing personal allegiances and friendships for professional duty and ethics – for personal honor.
    Those are the moments that will truly test the leader within you – test whether you will take the hard path or the easy path, the wrong path or the right path. Always remember, as a wise man once said, “following the path of least resistance is what makes men and rivers crooked.”
    The willingness always to take the right path, even if it is the hard path, is called character. In every aspect of your life, whether personal or professional, you must always maintain the courage of your convictions – your personal integrity. President John Adams wrote to one of his sons: ” A young man should weigh well his plans. Integrity should be preserved in all events, as essential to his happiness, through every stage of his existence. His first maxim should be to place his honor out of reach of all men.”
    And, I would add, don’t kid yourself. More often than not, doing this involves traveling a difficult and lonely road. [end]

    At a pre-trial press conference Watada remarked that he believed “it his duty to refuse to fight in the [Iraq] war”, and that he was “prepared to face prison time for his beliefs.” There is a tradition in the Japanese American community to act on personal belief from volunteer 442/MIS Nisei Linguist (while there family and friends were in camps), the NoNo Boys (refusing to sign loyalty oaths while in those same camps) and the Asian Vietnam War Resisters. [But then again they’re just words, and actions speak louder than catch phrases like…”Mission Accomplished.”]

    2OX OK TK Nagano (213) 621-7665

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