Denied a chance to debate the legality of the Iraq war in court, 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, an Army officer who refused to leave for Iraq, now goes to trial hoping to at least minimize the amount of time he could serve if convicted.
[..]Now the 28-year-old Watada faces four years in prison if convicted on one count of missing movement and two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer. His court-martial is set to begin tomorrow at Fort Lewis, south of Seattle.
[..]During previous court hearings in the case, Seitz has unsuccessfully sought an opportunity to argue the legality of the war, saying it violated Army regulations that specify wars are to be waged in accordance with the United Nations charter.
Their final attempt was quashed following a hearing last month in which military judge Lt. Col. John Head ruled Watada cannot base his defense on the war's legality. He also refused claims that Watada's statements were protected by the First Amendment, saying that would be up to a military panel.
Last week the government dropped two misconduct charges against Watada in exchange for his admitting to making statements to freelance journalists.
By Nicole Belle — February 4, 2007