Critics and Defenders React to Charges Against Lt. Watada

Lt. Ehren Watada in June 2006
Lt. Ehren Watada in June 2006
John Ippert
John Ippert
Norman Williams
Norman Williams

(KHNL) -- Vietnam Veteran John Ippert shakes his head, as news of the recent charges against 1st Lt. Ehren Watada make more headlines.

"I think they're more than fair. I think they're appropriate, and I hope he's convicted of all three charges," says Ippert.

The Army charged Watada Wednesday with missing a movement, contempt towards officials, and conduct unbecoming an officer.

His attorney says he was taken off guard by some of the charges.

"We were flabbergasted the Army made charges that he was disrespectful in some of the statements he's made to the media," says Eric Seitz, Watada's attorney.

The 1st Lieutenant, based at Fort Lewis in Washington state, is said to be in good spirits.

His father, Bob Watada says, "I'm very concerned for my son, but when you do the right thing you feel okay; you feel good. He did the right thing, and I'm very proud of him."

His attorney says Watada could get up to 7 1/2 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Opponents say he deserves it.

"I think anything other than the maximum would be a slap on the wrist," says Vietnam Veteran Norman Williams.

"I don't think it's enough quite frankly," says Ippert.  "It's seditious and it's treason what he's doing, and this is a time of war!"

Watada's father says his son is ready to pay for his beliefs.

"If that's the price to pay for him standing up then he's going to go to jail," says Watada.  "He's prepared for it."