Watada Needs Continued Help from Supporters

Ernie Kimoto
Ernie Kimoto
Karen Nakasone
Karen Nakasone
Lt. Ehren Watada
Lt. Ehren Watada

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Support our troops.

It's a message echoed by many for our troops headed to fight in the war on terror. It's also a message some have for the Hawaii born lieutenant who refused to go to Iraq.

Many feel Ehren Watada will be found guilty, but it's the possible punishments that'll affect his future is what they worry about. Even a man who doesn't agree with Watada's actions.

At a forum at the Japanese Cultural Center, Ernie Kimoto knows he is in the minority.

"I'm opposed to the war, and opposed to what Ehren is doing in refusing his orders," said Kimoto.

He's a lawyer, retired marine corps major, and a former judge advocate general.

"Because of my background, in not having refused orders when given to me, I cannot support Ehren in that respect," said Kimoto. "But that's not to say that we can't help him."

Kimoto feels at the least, Watada will be found guilty of the charge of missing movement. Watada faces up to two years in prison for that charge, and up to four years for all charges.

"I would hope that the military panel that decides his sentence takes into account his conscientious account of what he did before he took this action to refuse," said Karen Nakasone, a Watada supporter.

"I'm hoping that he doesn't have to serve a day, but that's only one part of the punishment," said Kimoto.

Watada also faces dishonorable discharge from the Army. Besides being a blemish on your resume, it means Watada loses all benefits earned so far, and he wouldn't be able to work for any government agency.

"When you are steadfast and don't compromise, you gotta be prepared for the worst when it comes to facing the bureaucracy of the government," said Kimoto.

But it's a price Watada is apparently willing to pay, for making his stand on the war in Iraq.

Watada's court martial is in Fort Lewis, in Washington state. It's expected to take a few days.