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Eye On Olympia

Watada case slated for court martial, starting Tuesday…

The second trial of U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada starts on Tuesday.

Watada is the officer who refused to deploy with his unit to Iraq, saying he was opposed to the war there. His offer to instead serve in Afghanistan was rejected by his commanders, who ordered him court-martialed. A first court martial ended in a mistrial.

Watada has been widely hailed by anti-war groups as a hero of conscience, and panned by critics who label him a traitor who refused to follow orders.

Watada faces two charges: missing movement and (four incidents of) conduct unbecoming an officer. The maximum punishment is six years in federal prison and being booted from the Army.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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