Most of you have probably seen the news of the Fort Hood shootings. A trained and working Army psychiatrist, complete with a degree for Virginia Tech (my heart goes out to students at that school), Nidal Hasan allegedly opened fire at a military processing center, killing 12 soldiers and 1 civilian. According to a report by the Washington Post, Hasan had endured religious harassment after 9/11 for his religious beliefs, and he snapped. His aunt says that he tried to be discharged, but that the authorities wouldn’t do it.
Now I understand that religious discrimination is tough. I understand that it’s hard to be fighting for a country if your own fellow soldiers seem to be against the very core of what you are.
But I’m sorry, this guy gets no sympathy from me. When you agree to fight for a country in exchange for having the American taxpayer pay for your education or living expenses, you agree to do what your commanders tell you to do. If you can’t take the heat, don’t sign up for kitchen duty. And definitely don’t take your frustrations out on innocent people.
It’s the same deal with Ehren Watada. I know I differ from most Asian American activists, but I think Watada is dishonest, cheating scoundrel. I’ve seen comparisons between Watada and the No-No boys, and I think that’s a total insult to the No-No boys. Military service wasn’t forced on Watada. Watada signed up for the military as a volunteer and was only too happy to collect his Army stipend paid for by MY tax dollars, until he was called to do what he agreed to do. Then the shameless coward decided to bolt and hide behind Asian American activists.
Point is that Watada is not a draft dodger because he was never drafted. He volunteered to fight. He volunteered to obey his commanders in time of war. It’s not as his commanders told him to massacre a city of innocents; they simply wanted him to fight. Hey, I thought the Iraq war was illegal too, but when you sign up with the Army, you give up the right to rebel against it. See the discussion on “consent” here. Unlike the citizens born into a country, Watada actually signed a form relinquishing his consent to rebel or refuse. You make a deal, you stick with it. That’s what honorable men do.
Anyway, I’m glad Hasan will be alive to face the music. I think Watada belongs in military prison for dereliction.