On February 5th, in the state of Washington, Army Lt. Ehren Watada, a career soldier, will be court martialed, and face the possible sentence of four years behind bars for refusing to return to duty in Iraq, as well as "conduct unbecoming an officer" for comments he made against the war. As Woody Allen once said, "Eighty percent of success is showing up." This is one time when not showing up is a sign of valor, and integrity.
Someone who has spent his life being where he is needed most, when he is most needed, often at his own expense, and peril generously shares his words to another soldier in the struggle for what is right in a world gone wrong:
January 29, 2007
Dear Lt. Watada,
As an actor, I am quite used to being judged not only for my acting but especially for political stands I may take. Over the years I have learned, and I'm sure you are discovering, that integrity ultimately will be measured by one's conduct and not by one's profession. This illegal war will continue until Americans test their own bravery by joining you and living up to this historic call to liberty.
I hope you take some strength in knowing that every one of us is served by one man's courageous actions. Before you made this decision you may have thought you knew who you were but now you are finding out who you can be. The truth is that the cautious person doesn't really live at all, and although you may be afflicted with doubt, sometimes it's braver to live than to serve. I hope you find the censure of those opposed to your courageous stance useful and proof that your conduct is emblematic of Democracy in its most exalted reflection.I humbly salute you for the true patriot you are.