Fighting to preserve our liberties... like free speech, perhaps?
Hmmm. Can you really be "less than honorably" discharged from the Individual Ready Reserve after you've already been honorably discharged from the Marine Corps?
Adam Kokesh is about to find out. And the VFW is none too happy about the attempt to stifle his dissent over the war:
The nation's largest combat veterans group on Friday urged the military to "exercise a little common sense" and call off its investigation of a group of Iraq war veterans who wore their uniforms during anti-war protests.
"Trying to hush up and punish fellow Americans for exercising the same democratic right we're trying to instill in Iraq is not what we're all about," said Gary Kurpius, national commander of the 2.4 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars.
"Someone in the Marine Corps needs to exercise a little common sense and put an end to this matter before it turns into a circus," Kurpius said.
Marine Cpl. Adam Kokesh had already received an honorable discharge from active duty before he was photographed in March wearing fatigues, with military insignia removed , during a mock patrol with other veterans protesting the Iraq war.
A military panel in Kansas City, Mo., will hold a hearing Monday to decide whether he should be should be discharged from service and, if so, with what type of discharge.
Col. Dave Lapan, a Marine Corps spokesman, said Kokesh is under administrative review because he wore his uniform at a political event, which is prohibited. And, Lapan said, when a senior officer told Kokesh that he violated military regulations, Kokesh used an obscenity and indicated he would not comply with the rules.
"It's the political activity that is prohibited, not the type of event that it was," Lapan said. "If it had been a pro-war rally, it would still have been a violation."
The panel could recommend an honorable discharge, a general discharge or an other than honorable discharge. Kokesh could not be given a dishonorable discharge, which generally results from a court-martial. The final decision would be made by the commanding general.
This is a really interesting problem. But the Defense Department better be careful, or they'll encourage a bunch of other people to try to get out of their four-to-six year obligation to the reserves after active duty, either voluntary (by joining the Army Reserves) or involuntary (by being placed in the Individual Ready Reserves). And you know, you can buy miltary fatigues at any Army Surplus store, so if they want to keep the uniform sacrosanct, perhaps they shouldn't sell them to anyone. And really, no one complains if veterans wear their uniforms to pro-war rallies.
Personally, I would like to think that our veterans have earned the right to free speech. Even if they're rude about it-- although that's the most troubling part about this whole situation. Of course, people taking part in political activity when they're representing the government is hardly a shocker after Alberto Gonzalez, now, is it?