Tuesday, June 05, 2007

An Ugly Discharge

posted by The Sailor @ 11:29 PM Permalink

Marines move to discharge protesting Iraq vet

A U.S. military disciplinary panel on Monday recommended that a decorated combat Marine be involuntarily discharged after he joined an anti-war demonstration and spoke out against the Iraq war.

The three-member panel at a Marine command center in Kansas City recommended that 25-year-old Marine Cpl. Adam Kokesh be given a general discharge -- one step below an "honorable discharge" and a reflection of "significant negative" conduct.

Kokesh was accused of misconduct for wearing desert fatigues at a protest in Washington in March to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The government argued that Kokesh was still a member of the "Individual Ready Reserves," which meant he could be called back to duty and was subject to some military conduct regulations.*
However Kokesh was asked during the hearing if he was a "card-carrying member" of the Iraq Veterans Against the War, what membership entailed and if he voted in the last presidential election.

Marine Capt. Jeremy Sibert, a member of the reserves who presented the government's case, argued that Kokesh's action in the demonstration was potentially damaging to the military because it came during deliberations by Congress over funding for the Iraq war [and] also said Kokesh's conduct could have harmed recruiting efforts and affected public opinion about the Marines and the war.
The case hinged on military regulations that prohibit active duty troops from wearing their uniforms during political demonstrations. Kokesh argued that he wasn't subject to regulations in the Uniform Code of Military Justice because of his membership in the Individual Ready Reserves, rather than the active duty Marines, and the Marine panel agreed he wasn't subject to those regulations.
Let's see if I have this right; a civilian with a DD-214, (honorable discharge), wearing camos with no insignia at a protest march, gets hauled in front of a military court, is questioned about his political affiliations and practices, and is accused of maybe effecting the flow of military fodder and funding?

WTF!? He swore to uphold the Constitution, not the Marines. and the military doesn't pay him, house him, clothe him, feed him and they certainly can't tell him what to wear or say, he's no longer subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice*!

Bush constantly uses people in uniform for props, he's even been warned about it by retired generals. But this civilian was threatened with the loss of his signing bonus and benefits for speaking out against the war.

And this statement let's you know why he's my hero of the week:
Kokesh said he would appeal the recommendation, which stops short of the honorable discharge he wants but is better than the other-than-honorable discharge that could have been recommended.

"I'm standing on principle and we're going to contest this on principle. It's not going to go away,"
he said.

*When are IRR members subject to the UCMJ?

Members of the IRR are only subject to the UCMJ under the following circumstances:
If called to active duty (AD).

While on inactive duty training (IDT), including muster duty.

If made the subject of Article 15 or Article 30 proceedings, and called to active duty for the purpose of dealing with these proceedings (e.g. trial by court-martial).

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