Friday, November 10, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Fort Lewis soldier opposed to war faces military trial

The Associated Press

A Fort Lewis lieutenant who challenged the Bush administration's reasons for going to war in Iraq and then refused to deploy to the country will face a military trial, the Army said Thursday.

A convening authority, in this case Fort Lewis commander Lt. Gen. James Dubik, recommended that the Army proceed with a general court-martial against 1st Lt. Ehren Watada.

No date has been set for the trial to begin, Fort Lewis officials said.

Watada was charged with missing troop movement, conduct unbecoming an officer and contempt toward officials for comments he made about President Bush.

The Army later added another specification of conduct unbecoming an officer based on his comments in Seattle during the national convention of Veterans for Peace in August.

Dubik referred only the charges of missing movement and conduct unbecoming an officer, the Army said.

If convicted on all charges, Watada could serve six years confinement and be dismissed from the service.

The 28-year-old officer from Honolulu has said he believes the war is illegal and was first charged after he refused to deploy to Iraq on June 22 with his Fort Lewis-based Stryker unit, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

At an Article 32 hearing Aug. 17, prosecutors showed video footage of Watada at the veterans convention, calling on other soldiers to stop participating in U.S. involvement in Iraq.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company


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