Activists Rally for Watada in Downtown Honolulu - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Activists Rally for Watada in Downtown Honolulu

Claire Hanusz Claire Hanusz
Sue Haglund Sue Haglund
Lt. Ehren Watada Lt. Ehren Watada

by Diane Ako

HONOLULU (KHNL)- In less than 24 hours, Lt. Ehren Watada begins the process of finding out whether he'll be court martialed. The Hawaii born soldier is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.

Dozens of supporters and anti-war protestors passed out flyers and waved signs today in downtown Honolulu. Claire Hanusz explains why she's out there. "I'm doing this because I'm very concerned about the way our country's going. I'm concerned about the misinformation a lot of people get from the mainstream media."

They clashed with some Watada opponents like Sue Haglund. "Due to the leadership position that he holds, he should serve his duty, as does every other American. My sister serves in the military. Why should she have to serve and he be exempt?"

The organizers of this rally know everybody's not going to agree with them on this issue. But they will consider this a success if they can spark some debate. They certainly did with Watada opponent Karen Schaefer, who refused the flyer and voiced her views at the person who tried to give it to her. "Our country's not going to run if everybody in the military does what they want to do!"

Thursday, Watada will have his first day in military court for refusing to deploy to Iraq. Watada told Ako during her exclusive interview with him in July, that he wants Americans to be more politically conscious. "I didn't see the interest in the American people in terms of what was going on this war." But that interest is growing- and largely due to Watada himself.

The military has requested two civilian journalists appear for the prosecution. One of them is Gregg Kakesako of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

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