As thousands of Fort Lewis Army troops prepare to head back to Iraq, one of their officers has taken a stand.
Lt. Ehren Watada said he would refuse to return because it's an unjust war.
"I feel that we have been lied to and betrayed by this administration," Watada said Tuesday in a telephone interview with the Seattle Times from Fort Lewis. "It is the duty, the obligation of every soldier, and specifically the officers, to evaluate the legality, the truth behind every order -- including the order to go to war."
Watada's fellow soldiers don't seem to agree.
"We're here to serve our country and fight, and that's his job," Pvt. Nathan Hanson said. "It's his duty."
His name had been kept secret until now, but Watada's father, Bob Watada, a former executive director of the state Campaign Spending Commission, confirmed his son's refusal. He told a Honolulu newspaper that he's proud of his son.
"I refuse to be silent any longer, " Watada wrote in a letter to ABC News affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle. "I refuse to watch families torn apart while the president tells us to 'stay the course.' I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression.
"I wanted to be there for my fellow troops," he wrote. "But the best way was not to help drop artillery and cause more death and destruction. It is to help oppose this war and end it so that all soldiers can come home."
Anti-war protestors, many of whom demonstrated at the Port of Olympia recently, have rushed to his aid. They have put up a Web site, saying they believe he is the first commissioned officer who has refused to go.
Lt. Watada said he asked for reassignment and tried resigning his commission months ago, but the Army refused.
His attorney, Eric Seitz, said Watada is not against all wars, just this one.
"I've been doing this for nearly 40 years, and I'm somewhat astounded that in the context of a war that is becoming increasing unpopular that they are relatively unsophisticated in addressing these issues," he said from Hawaii.
Fort Lewis officials said that because the lieutenant hasn't done anything official yet, there's no violation. But should he decide to go ahead with this, he could be charged with desertion, or more likely, missing the movement of his unit.
If he decides to stay, Watada wouldn't be the first soldier charged with the offence since the beginning of the Iraq War. Sgt. Kevin Benderman was sentenced to 15 months for refusing to go to Iraq in 2005, according to the Seattle Times.
The lieutenant said he'll make his intentions official today.
Keith Eldridge of ABC News affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle contributed to this report.