Daniel Kuecker, the prosecutor in the pretrial hearings, could not be reached for comment, but Watada's civilian attorney, Eric Seitz, expressed outrage at Head's judicial abdication. These rulings, he told the press after the hearing, "are extraordinarily broad and subjective, which I find reprehensible. They are essentially saying there is no right to criticize, which we all know is not true." He added, "These rulings are about as horrible and inept as I could have imagined."
The question can no longer be avoided. Do American soldiers have any rights that their commanders and judges are bound to respect? As civilians, do we not have an obligation to provide our troops full protection of the laws for which they risk their lives? *
Paul Rockwell, who taught constitutional law at Midwestern University in Texas, is the author, with Cindy Sheehan, of Ten Excellent Reasons Not to Join the Military, published by New Press in 2006.