News, Visionaries, Visionary Mind | January 4th, 2007

A First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army has taken a stand. Ehren Watada, a 28-year-old Hawaii native, faces a court martial next month and up to 6 years in prison. He is the first commissioned officer in the U.S. to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq.

Here’s the link to the blog and audio. Overy 100,000 people have commented on this man’s stand. Many of his peers call him a traitor and a coward. Others think he’s anything but that. (leave your comments below)

It’s easy to take a position on this young man’s decision, and that’s one of the fundamental problems with the world we live in. Actually, the problem lies within our methods of thinking, our consciousness. Yesterday’s consciousness is insufficient for the world we face today with all of it’s accelerating change, globalization, the advancement of technology, etc.

Someone thinking with yesterday’s consciousness, the “positionary mind of the past,” rushes to judgment without much honest inquiry. Rather than look to understand the person or organization they judge, they simply attack. It’s usually in defense of a position they formed long ago.

This is a very emotional issue, especially for those who chose to stand for their country by risking their lives by fighting at war–even if they objected to the war. To be inspired by this man’s stand, it’s assumed they’d have to turn on their own stand. They are proud of the stand they took to fight, and feel that those who stand for their country by not fighting are invalidating or dishonoring them.

Some soldiers, in going to war, might judge those who don’t as cowardly. This affords them more pride and confidence in their decision, but the judgment itself is what devolves their stand into a position.

In our eagerness to stand for something, we too easily form a righteous position, from which we can no longer think honestly about the situation.

Isn’t honesty the quality of not refusing to look at or think about something, when forming one’s thoughts, words or opinions? Yet, when we form our thoughts and opinions with yesterday’s positionary thinking, those very opinions become walls beyond which we cannot see. Beyond the walls of our position, we can not see the humanity, the courage, the stand taken by “the other side.” And then we treat and speak to them as less than human.

Is it any wonder the world is in such a state of crisis?

What we’re lacking is a new form of consciousness. A visionary consciousness, the likes of which have been rare throughout history. Gandhi is a great example of someone with a visionary consciousness. What we’ll need going forward, however, and what I see is fast approaching, is a much more sophisticated and developed visionary consciousness–higher level thinking methods that facilitate visionary thinking and make it much easier and more common place.

Eventually, evolution to a new kind of thinking will occur. Indeed, it must if we are to survive and thrive in this world.

Some are courageously undertaking the quest to evolve their consciousness even now, and are seeking out training for living as a visionary. Of course, that’s why VisionForce exists–to facilitate this conscious evolution of consciousness.

And right now, we’re looking for 30. We’re looking for those willing to live their lives standing for humanity, including men and women who are standing for peace and freedom even now in Iraq–at war.

If you are willing to live your life as a visionary, as someone who stands, as a hero for mankind, we’re looking for you. We need parents, teachers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, politicians, activists, artists–we need you. Are you willing?


  1. s'ace

    Jan 5th, 2007

    my url gives a creation that existed in time …

    the simple reason is that i am living not one stand, but a dozen of stands … with my family, with my relatives and with a guy who takes steps with a future king of my country …

    the position of the man may be clear, but what is the stand , the point of collapse of the “CEO”, the administrative jugler?

    i suggest it goes on :
    where a wo/man fits in the “watercycle” as an essential element of being us, people co-existing and working a life.

    i will sure think about coming to this event , and take the risk it is fully booked by then …

  2. Cheryl Bolles

    Jan 5th, 2007

    Imagine Peace … this is the “stand” that creates a space to “stand” for Oneness. Oneness is All That IS….the great experiment…the freedom of free will…I am you and You and me. We are One. Standing in this Vision, there can only be Peace.

  3. Guinevere

    Jan 5th, 2007

    I think Kevin Sites asked Ehren Watada questions I would have asked. I do not consider what Lt. Watada is doing “taking a stand” I think now, after taking the oath, taking the free training, taking a commission in the US Army, “volunteering” to go to Iraq, when the time came to go, he took the position that the war was illegal, the government lied, etc. I think it is a ‘position’ not a stand. His position is that it is better to spend 6 years in the brig than to be killed or maimed in Iraq. Perhaps my opinion is based on the fact that I was born and raised on US Marine bases. I was raised to believe that one had choices, and if one did not believe in doing something, they did not take an oath to do it. Since prior teaching have influenced my thinking, perhaps I am not a Visionary?? Is changing one’s mind considered ‘taking a stand’? Or is it mearly changing one’s mind?

  4. Howard

    Jan 5th, 2007

    If taking a position is defined by passing judgement on others, then wouldn’t this soldier in question be taking a POSITION by passing judgement on the all those people and institutions imposing upon him to fullfil the obligation that he willfully accepted and has been paid to do all along? The Army is the one taking a STAND for its principles.

    It does seem rather arbitrary. Each side will say THEY are taking a STAND and the other side is taking a POSITION.


  5. Michael Skye

    Jan 7th, 2007

    Think of it this way… underneath every position is a stand.

    The key in us being able to move forward individually with powerful vision AND in us being able to co-create with the other side lies in our ability to so clearly see the others’ stand that we are deeply moved by it. As we are moved and come from this place, the other side feels seen and then can open up to see us as well. From this place “miracles” can happen, where previously compromise was the best alternative.

    It’s a subtle yet incredibly powerful distinction and understanding it is not what makes the difference. Successfully applying it makes the difference. That level of training is powerfully provided at the Vision Force Boot Camp.

    At this very moment, Vision Force is searching for 30 to “be the ones” to walk a new path and lead the way for humanity. If you think this might be you, apply here:

  6. Rosanne Kitchener

    Jan 18th, 2007

    Watadas stand made me really think today, about my work as a visionary in scotland trying to get good advanced skilled health care holistically for the nation and the UK. I retired yesterday, after many years work near death, I took a different stand, I took a stand against the human rights abuse and discard of people with brain injury and neurogical woes or mental illness here by walking away from the work to make people stop blaming me and to start to see sense.
    Dickensian about summed it all up. But in taking this stand I let politicians after 7yrs abuse to me and denial of help all roads and doctors see, that someone really cared enough to risk their live to save thousands by doing this work, and now they had to do and look at this work of mine which would save the day here for thousands of dying souls in time if embraced-extending out to the world as in world visions. I dowse today that this has been their wake up call, time to help mankind progress time to see the whole pictures and what we do does matter in this world to someone. Time to make humanity healed and whole and no better place to start than in ones home town.

  7. Tom Dooly

    Jan 24th, 2007

    Watada simply did not want to fulfill his duty as a member of the military. It is NOT for him to decide IF the war was legal. He did not swear in as an officer to “do duty” in any war that HE deemed legal, righ, moral or what ever. Watada id NOT taking a stand, HOWEVER he IS taking a RUN FROM SWORN DUTY. He should be court marshaled and lose any benifit from his military duty. He is a “backboneless” individual and has no right to benefit from service in the military. IF every member of the military was allowed to decide what he did, can you imagine what our military would be like — a joke. Again, get rid of the trash and move on. He is a “run away”, NOT somebody taking a stand.

  8. Michael Skye

    Jan 25th, 2007

    While Tom’s post above is a brilliant demonstration of taking a position and positionary thinking, Tom is also standing for something here. We, as human beings, heroically defend our values. It’s the way in which we do it and the way in which we communicate that doesn’t work.

    Fighting from and for positions will no longer work. Tom’s approach above is the approach that most of the world takes with issues that matter to us. And war and terror are some of the byproducts of such thinking. We, as humans, are not stupid or wrong for our positionary thinking… it is just time for an entirely new approach. It is time we rise to the level of vision.

    One of the shifts we must make is to start seeing the stand in others. From a position,Tom cannot see Watada’s stand. From a position, many readers of Tom’s post will not be able to see Tom’s stand.

    Can you see BOTH stands? OK, can you see them in a way that deeply inspires you? The more you can develop that ability and make it natural, the more power you will have as a visionary to create a world that works for everyone.

  9. Tim Majkowski

    Jan 29th, 2007

    I feel that we need to reevaluate how things work on the earth plane. If we blindly follow our leaders and do not question the decisions that are made by these folks we risk the danger of becoming terrorists ourselves. The world is a reflection of what is inside of us. We are our own enemy. Wars are fought over power (ego- beliefs) Yet in the end, there is only one truth…We are all Gods children. What we do to another, we do to ourselves.
    I really admire Watada for the strength to take a stand
    for what he believes…considering the consequences he faces for taking such a stand. I also realize that he signed up to do a job, but if that job comprimises our personal values then by all means, we must take a stand. Fear, threats and intimidation should not stand in the way of our being fully awakened to the consequences of our actions. Honestly, when it come to war….Nobody wins. We perpetuate division with this kind of thinking. Wholeness comes from our ability to see ourselves within eachother. As long as an enemy exists outside ourselves, we have work to do inside.
    War will not create peace…Peace is the way.
    That can only be found inside when we choose to stop picking sides, let go of judgement and start practicing forgiveness. It is less important to be right, than it is to do the right thing. The right thing is always in alignment with the heart. Everything else is just a reflection of our
    beliefs. Beliefs are inherited teachings. Truth is eternal.
    We can fight all we want, but in the end, only love remains. Not some sappy rendition, but the true essence of our being. When we work together, we create change…When we fight, we separate ourselves. The choice is ours and we must be able to live with the consequences of our actions, our position,and our stand. In time, we will step into wholeness, but not until each of us does the internal work necessary to achieve such a mystical state of being.

  10. PESM

    Jan 29th, 2007

    Many comments have given me some different feelings on this matter. Here are my first two before digging deeper…

    1. You by the ticket, you ride the ride.
    2. If you believe something is wrong you have been miss leaded, by all means make sure it is known. Always question, this is what makes educated moves in a life time.

    May the Light enfold you-

  11. Ted Howard

    Feb 7th, 2007

    To my mind this is not a simple issue.

    I have huge respect for every person who enlists in the army to defend their country.
    It takes a lot of honour to put ones own life on the line for your fellows.
    That choice demands respect.

    There are many levels at which one can be conscious to service, and there is honour in every one of them.
    It takes a lot to follow orders, to put oneself in danger on the beliefs and choices of someone else, and to trust a system to deliver a just outcome.

    That is a possible set of honourable choices, but not one that would work for me or for the many others who think like me.

    To my mind there is a clear set of moral standards set in the American Constitution and in international law, that it is not sufficient just to follow orders. If one is truly convinced in one’s own mind that a particular set of orders are in breech of fundamental human rights, then one has a higher duty to disobey those orders. [This principle was clear established at Nuremberg.]

    Every American Soldier swear first their allegiance to the constitution of the USA, then to follow orders.
    In taking that oath each individual has a responsibility to evaluate every action first against the constitution, then as obeying an order.
    For each individual that assessment will be different.
    Each will have different levels of confidence in their understanding of the constitution, its deeper meaning, and their evauation of the consequences of any specific order.

    Not an easy call for anyone. Quite an amazing oath to take when you think seriously about it.

    Not everyone operates at this level, and those that do are often misunderstood by those who are not.

    To my mind it is honourable to defend someone else, yet not honourable to defend someone else’s standard of living.

    Without doubt there is one, and one only overriding consideration for the war in Iraq – oil. If there were no oil there, there would be no American involvement in the war there. This is the great unsaid about Iraq.

    It is very difficult to make the case that oil is a person’s life. It is far clearer that having or not having oil is about a standard of living.

    Again I say that I have huge respect for every man and woman that is prepared to serve in the defence of someone else, and for all that enlist in an army.

    While I understand the need for people to follow orders in an army, because often it is not possible for every individual to understand the strategic drivers behind the decisions that have resulted in any particular order; there is also a duty on every individual to weigh up for themselves their own higher moral judgements.

    That will be a personal choice for each and every one of us, and for each and every one of us it will look somewhat different.

    It is my personal belief that America going into Iraq was, on higher moral grounds, a poor choice.

    Having gotten involved there, there is no simple and clear way out that is devoid of unpleasant consequence.

    America was founded on the very highest of ideals, as a walk through Washington DC, and a reading of the inscriptions on the buildings and sidewalks will show anyone who cares to take the walk, read, and think about what they have read.

    To my mind, the best way forward is to make choices consistent with the highest ideals of human life, liberty, and personal responsibility, and to deal with the consequences involved.

    I doubt that will be an easy process for anyone involved.

    I would love to see a good constitutional lawyer involved in the defence team, but understand the immensity of the likely personal consequences for that individual, and the unlikelihood of it happening.

  12. esse

    Feb 13th, 2007

    Ted, can you help find and hire that lawyer?? Really. I mean it. Lest you simply take a position where you are convicted enough to take a stand?

    I’m being slightly facetious but I think that is the real point of this forum.

    May I reiterate one point?

    I do understand Tom Dooly. We cannot simply uproot our sense of commitment nor our ability to trust one another’s commitments. You sign on the dotted line, you have made a promise. It is absolutely right to feel wrong about someone that turns on such a promise.

    Likewise, obeying a leader that does not represent our highest ideals is not loyalty to the constitution, nor to our country’s people. As Americans we defend American ideals, not American men in power.

    So, I believe that Watada is pulling back on an agreement that has long been breached. Just as in any contractual agreement, when one side does not meet their obligations the other is free to take their own course of action.

    If you disagree that’s a-ok, but let’s keep the open dialogue so that we can learn from each other. This is not about my view vs. your view. It is about coming together as an American people to reach for our highest ideals.

    I hope we haven’t lost Tom Dooly, or anyone else that agrees with him!

    And so a new point emerges:

    In the quest for truth we cannot dwell in feeling. We move past emotionality and examine all sides. We stay unattached to notions for the sake of discovering the truth.

    …and an old point resurfaces for punctuation:

    We must remember that as Americans our loyalty belongs to the ideals of freedom, justice and human rights. The violation of these ideals is the worst kind of treason.

  13. sma

    Feb 13th, 2007

    Michael’s post #5.

    I think its the opposite. Beneath every “STAND” there is a position worth acting on and for. The position can be personal or public, voiced or rhetorical.

    But A STAND requires action.

  14. ademola bunmi

    Mar 5th, 2007

    i dont see anything wrong in his position but he is tired of his job let him go civilian so that he does not demoralise the army

  15. Bryan

    Mar 5th, 2007

    As a soldier in the GAANG who will find out on 07Mar10 if I am going to Iraq, I appreciate the encouragement. I know that the only legitamate reason the military exists is to protect our freedoms ( the citizens ) from tyranny and oppression. Sure I would give my life for my fellow brothers and sisters but believe me when I tell you that that (dying) is not plan A…lol ;-) ~ Respectfully with pure love and honest compassion, Bryan Turner

    If you would like to send letters ( good or bad) send them to: Bryan Trent Turner

    [Email for address and phone number]

    If you have any questions, concerns or objections, please let them be known. I prefer having them sent in letter form. I may not agree with what you say but I am willing to die for your right to say it….again, not plan A….lol ;-) ~

  16. david i

    Mar 11th, 2007

    Since a number of responders mention contracts and breaches thereof, and since this is first and foremost about a legal-judicial process (court-martial), it might be a good idea to look at some centuries-old principles that might excuse a party for breaking an agreement.

    If a court determines that a contract exists, it next must decide whether that contract should be enforced. There are a number of reasons why a court might not enforce a contract (called “defenses to the contract”.) Contract defenses are designed to protect people from unfairness in the bargaining process, or in the substance of the contract itself. If there is a valid defense to a contract, the contract may be voidable, meaning that the party to the contract who was the victim of the unfairness may be able to cancel or revoke the contract. In some instances, the unfairness is so extreme that the contract is considered void.

    What are some of the reasons a court might refuse to enforce a contract? Mistakes of key facts–unilateral, mutual, or common mistakes (i.e., made on the part of both parties). Misrepresentation. Unconscionability. Because it may be found to be against public policy. Duress or undue influence.

    Now, particularly germane to the problem at hand: if new evidence comes to light as to the real nature or substance of a bargained-for exchange – - i.e., the very basis for enlisting, actual conditions, representations made to that soldier during that process that conflict with reality, etc. – then he or she may well be within her rights – rights afforded under the Constitution as well as under natural law – to terminate such an agreement.

    But let’s put aside the rule of law for a moment, and consider this: humankind is endowed with free will, forever possessed of the right to change one’s mind when circumstances, facts, justifications, and new evidence come to light. This idea that one must inexorably “ride the ride” to one’s death or to the upending of one’s own moral code, simply because one had previously “committed” one’s self, is entirely too facile. It is an “all or nothing”, absolutist, win-at-all-costs and never-falter brand of contrived, defiantly stubborn machismo that is at best, dangerous, and at worst, the very undoing of civilization and the basis for fundamental extremism. When someone, presented with new evidence, context, rationality or viewpoints, is pathologically incapable of altering one’s understanding, viewpoint, or position, or, even worse, categorically refuses to permit themselves to do so under the pretext (read: false rationalization) of endeavoring to remain “principled” or “committed” no matter what, what we have before us is not a person of vision, or of intellectual and moral honesty, but a defiant, unprincipled non-participant who is neither taking a stand nor defending a tenable position.

  17. henri moll

    Mar 22nd, 2007

    I am happy I didn’t swoar something when I was around twenty years old…. Due to experience and enfolding knowledge one arrives at a stand. Off course from that moment one has to deal with the consequences, that’s part of the stand.
    The soldier takes his own responsibility, that’s a big step most soldiers never are able to take…..

  18. RLS

    Apr 3rd, 2007

    I have heard many impassioned ideas and heartfelt responses, none of which incensed me but one. Even then, I could somewhat understand where they were coming from and wasn’t really that offended.

    Even though I didn’t grow up around the military I do believe that you are well aware when you take that oath what you are committing to. I do have friends and loved ones who have made that commitment and understand full well the challenges and the benefits of that life.

    Let me pose these questions to you. Knowing that this is a job with huge risk, that takes uncompromising commitment, trust, heart and determination….who would you want next to you in a fox hole? Who do you want watching your back? Who do you want defending your home, your rights, your children? What kind of person with what kind of commitment and attitude do you want guarding your family?

    I do believe in what this country was founded on, the highest of ideals, integrity, honor, compasion and above all else love and faith. I do believe a person has a right to change their mind, voice an opinion and choose the higher road. Something we should all do (more in choose the higher road).

    I have a hard time though when you choose to take a position where others depend on you implecitly, to say “it’s ok” to just walk away. If you have children, and I do, it’s not always what you felt you signed up for. How could you ever just change your mind and walk away. Your a part of something much bigger and more important than yourself (by choice).

    There are times when changing your mind is ok. We do it all the time. There are times however, when we are in a situation where our decisions have a much farther reaching impact. What do we do then? What kind of person will we be?

    War is ugly, no doubt about it. I respect and appreciate all those that make that choice to defend our freedom. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t give thanks because I am afforded a life of choice and freedom and prosperity because others were willing to put their lives on the line. Even in war, there are questions of moral conduct, remember Kelly in the Vietnam war? He faced court martial for following orders they said he shouldn’t have followed. Our guys in Iraq were reprimanded for making fun of (the naked prisoner thing) while the enemy was cutting off the heads of our soldiers and citizens. (please…..I’m not making light of that situation)

    I will admit, I don’t understand it. I don’t even know what to do in any of those situations. I would only hope and pray that if ever faced with a tough situation I would choose what is right, good, and honorable (you just don’t know though till it’s your turn).

    I could be way off here, but I don’t think the point of this discussion is to find out who’s right and who’s wrong. What I’ve learned prior even to this, to put it simply, is if you want someone to listen to you, you must first be willing to listen to them. We need to listen to each other w/o judgement. We need to validate each other as being heard and understood. Only then can we agree (not necessarily on the topic) and move forward together. I’m talking about those of common sense and goodness, not the morally corrupt. (Does that sound judgemental? You have to draw the line somewhere….LOL….but no really)

    Life is too short. We must learn, love and live life to the fullest. Be the best we can be in whatever we do and together we will make great things happen and live together joyously.

    I want to share with you something my 16 year old son said to me that blew me away. We were discussing a training I was to talk about called Humans Being More. He said he had a quote for me to use that he liked. When he read it, I have to admit, I didn’t know or see how it applied. Confused, I asked him how he interpreted it….what it said to him. I will leave you with his quote of which I loved and am very proud of:

    “As a team, we are strong. But as individuals we achieve our greatest potential”

    Be and do your best….Wow! Can you imagine our world then?

  19. Nitin

    Apr 15th, 2007

    I watched the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” last week. I must admit, I am in love with that movie. In the movie, Chris Gardner (acted by Will Smith) mentions a few words from the Declaration of Independence which are: ” Happiness is something that has to be pursued – Jefferson” I believe the soldier who refused to be deployed in Iraq was only Pursuing Happiness. Nothing wrong in that. However, I feel its not about being on the right or the wrong side, its bout understanding, in this case, the state of the world and the need of the day, the call of the generation. The soldier has only been, atleast according to him, answering his call of the generation and responded to the need of the generation. Hats off, not many of us do that!! We need more such selfless people. Cheers guys!!!

  20. Bridger

    Apr 16th, 2007

    That is pap. Pure unadulterated bull. You can paint it blue and call it sally, but until you understand you cannot control the actions of others, you can only respond to their actions. I would love to present your thesis to WWII vets and see if it flys. I’m sure given the chance, Germany and Japan would have seen the logic in your argument, folded up their toys and gone home.

    It’s time to act like a man, your daddy may not have tought you how to be one, but it’s not too late to learn. The bad guys are bad, your wife and child (and country) are asking for your protection. It’s up to you to chose how (or if) you’ll take the challenge. Young Lt Watada knew full well, we actually do great bodily harm and inflict the severest sanctions against our enemy. He was shocked the men were taught to kill? Good Lord, send him back to his mommy and let him grow a pair.

    There are oaths, promises and values. There is sacrifice and honor. There is good and evil. When you finally understand that, you may make progress on your spiritual journey You have to be able to determine what is good and what is bad.

    Let the light enfold you and bring the twelve principles of conciousness bring forth your inner child. Or use a .45.

  21. Nostradamus

    May 5th, 2007

    I heard very liittle standing for anything above. Most of what was said was merely spewings of belief system that had been brainwashed into the minds of people being raised by prior belief systems taught by a society consciousness.

    To spout out a bunch of worthless noise about sactifice and honor or the military defending the citizens of this country against tyranny and oppression is pure nonsense.

    To take a stand means that when one’s own country is the oppressors and the tyrannical dictators disguising themselves under the cloak of democracy they stand up to that tyranny and expose them for what they are. They do not accept it because they are Americans. And by having their own countrymen be mislead by the falsifacations of the media to decive the masses even further are crimes agains truth and justice.

    We seem to have adopted a great double standard in this country. When the Chinese committed crimes against their people in Tiennemen Square we were up in arms but when our own government committed those same disgraceful crimes against the students at Kent State Unversity that was defending democracy. OH Yes “Tear Down the Wall Mr Gorbachov” and only a year or so later we shoud erect a wall in Iraq and one between the US and Mexico (a friendly neighbor) to defend values. What a crock!

    Wake up America Our own government has been bamboozelling us for decades and they’ve been doing it with the help and cooperation of the media. Learn to stand for what you believe in. Not have your belief system changed by popular opinion.

  22. Tony

    Jun 2nd, 2007

    Whether one agrees or disagrees with Ehren Watada’s stand, it is without doubt a very courageous one.

    It would probably have been much easier for him to have just gone to war and trusted he survived it.

    Even if found guilty and imprisoned I have no doubt that his stand will influence the American people and the political classes.

    In my view he is just the sort of brave principled individual the public needs to represent then politically. I hope that is the career path he chooses at a later date.

  23. Greg

    Jul 6th, 2007

    People must take a stand when the institutions they fomr begin to fail. The US ARMY has many strong principles, but they are not larger or more dominant than the democratic responsibilities to freedom that we all owe to our citizenship and our fellow citizens.

    Mr. Watada is taking a courageous stand against the corrupt manipulation of our government by individuals in the executive who should be tried and held accountable for misappropriation of our freedoms and our taxed support and its powers. We can only hope that his example will encourage more citizens and military personnnel refuse to continue supporting the lies and stop killing for the corporate interests involved.

    As we see now, many generals are speaking out against this war and the entire history of it’s inception on the basis of obvious lies and manipulation.

    Each of us as citizens must take a stand and confront the issues, and take courage to speak truth to power, and call a lie as a lie, and a liar as a liar.

  24. Erik

    Jul 27th, 2007

    It seems to me that the salient point in Watada’s stand is that the deployment orders are illegal. I think that we can recall from wars in the past where we wish that officers had refused orders on the same principle. How many Jews were slaughtered by soldiers and officers that were “just following orders”?
    Watada’s refusal to deploy is not so different from a Nazi officer’s refusal to participate in genocide; it is a difference of degree only. Both refusals hopefully prevented deaths of innocent people, deaths that would have been caused by criminal acts.
    Would the Nazi officer have been branded a coward? By his contemporaries, yes, perhaps. But by today’s standards he would be considered a hero, and we need to see that Watada is taking a similar stand.

  25. Lyle Miller

    Jul 30th, 2007

    Only to the degree that an individual understands natural law philosophy can they know anything ablut ethics, right, and wrong. Mr. Howard is brilliant, however, I must add that to understand our US constutition, we must fully understand the works of those that created it.

  26. Laura Dawson

    Aug 22nd, 2007

    First, I applaud Lt. Watada for his courage to ‘question authority’. A famous watch phase of the peace era in the 60′s, but still valid. This ‘war’ in Iraq has many of the ear marks of the VietNam Peace Keeping Mission, that became a war. One that dragged on throughout my own youth, and placed some emotional scars on my life. Yet that only provides me with the wisdom of the Truth that we may never know exactly how we got there in the first place. The facts are buried in Time. What we do know is now we are spending large amounts of human capital, financial structures are becoming integrated in war, not peace, and people are suffering. One simple stroke of forgiveness by the newly installed President Lyndon B. Johnson, for all prior transgressions, by all parties, and the withdrawal began; a withdrawal that was systematic, steady, understated, but extremely effective. There are other pressing issues for the globe to address as a whole. Warming, Nutrition, Transportation, Communication; all of which will require collaboration. It is time to shift focus.

  27. Michael Doheny

    Oct 3rd, 2007

    If soldiers are expected to lay down their lives for their comrades and the mission that their country has sent them on,I think that the minimum they would expect in return is that the mission in question is worthy of the ultimate sacrifice.
    At minimum, the objective/goal/ overall mission should be clear ,and easily understood by all.Ultimately the mission with the greatest moral clarity will triumph.
    Soldiers combatants who believe/know that the cause they are fighting for is just/noble/true will ultimately triumph over those less convinced of the integrity of their mission.
    If a soldier/officer believes that a particular mission is flawed or ultimately doomed, I think his best course of action would be to resign and take whatever consequences would follow.
    The gravity of such a decision would require carefull consideration of all the pros and cons.I believe that since I have never served in the military I would not be qualified to pass judgements on this case.
    Shakespeare’s quote might be apt:
    “To thine own self be true and as night follows day thou cannot then be false to any man”

  28. Sid Grace

    Oct 18th, 2007

    I feel grateful to those before me who expressed the most important things in their responses (e.g. Rosanna Kitchener, Tim Majkowski, David I, Laura Dawson…) I do not wish to add anything else just for the sake of reaction, nevertheless, I must admit that it really takes courage and integrity to take a conscious stand – whatever this may be – which means that one is responsible for one’s actions and willingly faces the consequences. So, no matter what the outcome, I hereby convey my deepest respect and gratitude to Mr Watada. Let’s hope his move will be worthwhile…

    In the meantime, as Laura D. mentioned above, we have other pressing issues for the globe to address as a whole. For, right now, there seems to be no point in arguing or rather indulging (?) I’m afraid it might sound a bit nonsensical, if I may say so.

  29. Indra/Belgium

    Nov 16th, 2007

    I am from Belgium(Europe).
    Nobody in Belgium is happy with the war in Iraq.
    We are all afraid that Bush is acting just the way he claims
    wanting to save the world from.
    And of course thel question is the oil and everybody knows that.
    But this is not the issue of this forum.
    The Issue is Lt.Watada, is his a position or a stand?
    It could be both for al we know.
    But what is wrong with a man changing is mind if he is ready
    to suffer the consequences.
    Who are we to tell anther man what he should or should not do.
    Especially if this mans life is at stake.

    And if he doesn’t believe in the rightness of this war or even if he might be afraid,Watada his beter of doing sommething else.

    Let us respect every man’s freedom to think and act as he chooses in the face of his values.
    (providing nobody else gets hurt by it)

  30. William E. Kellaway

    Nov 24th, 2007

    I cannot see a stand anywhere in the Lieutenant’s interview. Criticism of others and excuses, no matter how elaborately formulated, are not in the same category as Stands. A stand is a foundation upon which we are defined and it is not necessary to be defended: it is who we are. Many who profess to possess integrity as a foundational stand are using the term in a positionary sense to attack others. Greatness is better than that.

  31. Carrie

    Dec 6th, 2007

    All these posts are wonderful to read. For me it seems that it is not ok to change your mind when wisdom brings forth new knowledge. I think that Lt Watada gained new insight while serving. In his new understanding going to Iraq was inconruent with his learnings. If you were riding on a bus and you could see a cliff ahead, would it not be ok to get off the bus? Do you believe there is a moral obligation to continue the journey? This is institutional thinking that keeps us as a humanity stuck in our Governments, Religions and Corporations. If we as a humanity are going to evovle we must be like Lt. Watabe and stand for what we believe is right. Staying in our comfort zones only keeps us warm for a minute then Divine discontent sets in and we can stagnate or die of unnatural causes; a closed mind.

  32. Atlantis Charter

    Dec 16th, 2007

    Fear trumps ALMOST everything. It certainly trumps “principle” or “values” or “a stand”. It’s very probable that Watada fears Iraq and, as one reader said, feels time in the brig is a better deal than dying at the age of 28. This combined with a good chance of getting media attention (mostly on his side) and becoming an ANTI-war hero makes for the recipe Fear + Ego = taking action (against some lesser fear) for a “Stand”. A “stand” or principle by itself is simply too abstract to motivate anyone to face fear to any degree. The ONLY things that can push a man to face a fear is (1) a greater fear; and (2) a possibility for ego gratification – in that order.

  33. Nancy

    Feb 15th, 2008

    While I certainly believe doing what you say you’re going to do is important, I have to say that beyond promises, beyond contracts, beyond integrity, beyond nations, beyond positions, and beyond stands, there lies the ultimate Universal birthright: Free Will.

    Free will is not given to us by our military, by our nation, by our president, by those who agree with us, or by those who disagree. It is given to us by a Power much larger than any of these. WE are the only ones that can listen to our hearts, decide what’s best and right for ourselves, and make our choice. The reactions of others are up to them; it is their responsibility. People may disagree or agree vehemently, but in the end, no one can make us do anything…we are free to choose. THIS is true power. Lt. Watada simply exercised that power.

    That said, while none of us can truly know what is in another’s heart or make a choice for another, it seems to me that Lt. Watada made his choice not out of fear, but out of love. Love of truth and life…our leaders had a responsibility for truth about the reasons for the war he felt was not fulfilled. Meanwhile, his truth was that life…his and “the enemy’s” was more important than lying to himself just as he felt our leaders had lied to the country.

    I’m not sure I could have or would have done the same thing he did..either way, to me, it takes courage. Courage to go fight the “Iraqi” enemy..courage to stay and fight for something else entirely.

  34. William T Walker

    Mar 11th, 2008

    My opinion
    I can appreciate the stand this soldier “thinks” he is taking, yet I condemn him for his actions. Any soldier entering the service takes an oath (a stand?) to obey the legal orders of those appointed over him. Apparently he was enjoying the fruits of being a commisioned officer until he received orders for Iraq.
    Someone with pure intentions would leave the military as soon as he/she thought a war (Iraq) was unjust.
    I try in my life to make my stand justly, truthfully, and with pure intentions. When I make a stand I abide by my decisions.
    To me, this officers intentions and actions are flawed. I am a combat veteran (Vietnam) who believes we fought for the wrong side. The north only turned to communist aid because we refused them ours. If I had to do it over again I might have not enlisted, claiming conscietious objector status.
    Yet, when I enlisted, I made my stand. I swore to uphold the constitution and obey the lawful orders of those over me. If I had not done what I swore to do I wouldn’t be much of a true man.
    Veritas vos Liberabit buidoi6841

  35. Virender Sehgal

    Aug 16th, 2008

    The oficer is taking a stand against every norm of Military responsibility and his actions are themselves illegal.
    In case he felt the war was illegal he ought to have done the following a long time back:

    1. He should have resigned his commission when the war was started by Mr Bush. Instead he has served almost six years from the time the war started and then when he was tasked to move to the battlefield has now declared his stand. Therefore the stand being taken by this officer is without any moral responsibility and does lay him open to charges of lack of courage, etc as mentioned in some comments.

    2. He should have moved the concerned court in the USA to have the war declared as illegal. His failure to take any action for so many years is an indication that his grounds for taking this stand now or a few months back are dishonourable.

    In case he woke up very late to his suddenly revealed inner inclinations then in fact he should have moved the courts against the war, sent in his resignation, moved the courts against his detailment and then still should have gone to the war zone to abide by his duty. He may be taking a stand, but there is no honour in what he is now doing. This conduct as it now stands is reprehensible.

  36. radiantrose

    Aug 26th, 2008

    A “position” or a “stand”, both have distortions based on culture, creed, race, personal experiences, fears and a whole huge pile of other things. Those distortions have qualities which may or may not bring a rightness or wrongness to a situation, judged by others who have their own distortions. Living in a heart centered, intuitive reality will bring what is appropriate forward into reality without the mind running with its opinions. We need to teach that we should not throw the stones of judgment at others for one day the stones will be cast our way. In effect, there is nothing to judge for we are all in the great cosmic university, learning how we can live from a visionary place if we so choose, or we can live like an ostrich, burying our heads in the sand, when there is something going on that we don’t like.
    Our world of duality has created a monkey mind with a mouth that runs off at the least provocation. If Ehren Watada chooses not to go to Iraq and defy authority, then there are consequences based on whether he abused his position for personal gain. If he in fact, got a free education, room and board, clothing and training in exchange for service in a foreign country, then the books must be balanced. The universe always seeks balance. When people extol their opinions on the situation they project the energy of their thought patterns into the situation which further distorts the balance. Why must we interfere in the journeys of others? Why can we not observe without judgment and learn the lesson along with him so that we can become wiser and more knowledgeable about the world around us? If more of us quietly observed and contemplated on what we have seen, we would automatically look to that brighter, co-operative world. Then the doing, the saying and the observing become constructive and opportune.

  37. Denise Burgess

    Sep 11th, 2008

    I only signed up for mind shifts last Friday. I will be honest and say I am sorry I do not have the time right now to read very closely all the comments people have left concerning this matter. A good starting point I feel is to quote the french man who said I don’t agree with a word you say but I am prepared to die for your right to say it.’ a large part of the issue is the acknowledgement that each idividual has a right to lieberty peace prosperity and happiness that is not acheived by the use of force cohersion or deceit. Figures of authority as represented by royalty, politicians and religiuos leader are well used to making cannon fodder out of humanity by the use of non sequitars to convince these people their lives are being used for a noble cause. In my opinion this cause is purely and simply for the advancement of the privilidged in society. Blood for oil is the slogan for Iraq. Governements such as in the USA and UK have not rushed to help other sources of injustices in the world where there is no oil. The education system is not geared in general to produce free thinking individuals it is geared to produce beurocrats or factory floor workers. Lives are enslaved by the economics of everyday life. The rich grow richer and the poor poorer. Nutrition plays a large part in enabling a person to think and develop clarity and courage to make a stand for a vision. Day to day existence not life is what many experience and can hope for no more. Now tired I say John Lennon’s words You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you will join us and the world will be as one. Good night and sweet dreams ali those who dare to do so. I count myself as one. I have lived without a dream and choose to now say yes ‘I have a dream……

  38. Linda

    Dec 3rd, 2008

    After reading this article and all the comments, it feels like it is a much more difficult thing to know when one has taken a stand and when one has taken a position. To stop and actually think. . .

    I know that I have made decisions that were not in accord with where I really stand inside, and so, have had to make changes to those choices. Some of the changes have been life altering. It is often much easier to take a “position” and judge others’ choices.

    Perhaps that is why taking a stand is so important. It requires something from inside me rather than from outside me. I’m here to learn more.

  39. James Burge

    Dec 8th, 2008

    Carrie put it verry well. Mindless followers make fearless sodiers.
    The band wagon of war eats the strong and weak. The real stand is represented by Joan of Arc. Gandi, Jesus. Gotama budda, all those fighting the likes of Hitler, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and on and on. It is far easier to follow and take the chance of losing or winning rolling the dice.
    I rolled the dice in Vietnam and month after month (18) took the chance. It worked for me but thousands of others would of liked a second chance.

  40. Larry B

    Feb 3rd, 2009

    Yo Atlantis! I believe the experience of fear is ultimately rooted in the experience/perception of one’s separatness, and I can certainly find it within myself in abundance; only when I come upon or generate the presence of love, which is like discovering some goodness outside myself that is compelling enough to make clinging to my own welfare occur as boring, even odious, do I find the antidote to FEAR…I think the polarity here is fear/isolation (an illusion rooted in identifying overmuch with one’s physicality) vs. love/union.


    Apr 22nd, 2010

    It is good for a man to have a stand. For Watada, i highly congraturate him for taking his stand, i know that the strongest man is the one who stands alone as watada. Even God stood for the right, to save his people. Watada may be has a vision towards his own life, let him have a stand to prosper in his vision.

  42. Jefford R. Bodden

    Jun 7th, 2010

    This luetenant shoulkd be applauded for his stand, the United state needs to recoghnize that they are buiding up a lot of animosity in the world from the countries they went into to under the guise of liberation of the people.

    The United States is doing a disservice to its citzens by sending the young men off to war to be kill, these same young men could been repopulating their country to provide a work force and protect the USA instead of having to attract the large expatiate work force, which if you follow the news, these same people the US has given citzenship to is turning against the the USA.

    Comapring the Roman empire with the USA it appears that the USA is following the same path and will probably realize the decadence and will eventually fall from being a world power, all from the new citzens they have allowed into the USA.

  43. Tara

    Mar 29th, 2011

    I would rather that you do not have political content on your blog. I respect your opinions on the war in Iraq, but I did not come to your blog to hear them. Thanks

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

Leave a Comment