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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 07:47 PM
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Iraq war vets could face disciplinary action over protests

Iraq war vets could face disciplinary action over protests

By Andrea Stone, USA TODAY

When can veterans stop saluting and start speaking out?

The question is more than a matter of protocol. As some returning Iraq veterans join anti-war protests, free speech advocates say disciplinary cases against three outspoken former Marines could stifle dissent by those who may know the most about conditions in Iraq.

The cases involve members of the Individual Ready Reserve, a group most servicemembers enter after active duty. Unlike regular reservists, they receive no pay and are not required to drill or attend annual training. Their only obligations are to inform the military of a change of address and to return to active duty if called. There are 150,000 members of the IRR.

Adam Kokesh, who served in Fallujah, is one of them. A member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Kokesh wore his camouflage uniform, with all insignia removed, on March 19 during a mock "combat patrol" past the White House. Soon after his picture was in The Washington Post, Marine Maj. John Whyte e-mailed him that he may have violated regulations that forbid wearing all or part of a uniform "while engaged in political demonstrations or activities."

Kokesh, 25, e-mailed back, addressing the officer with a profanity.

Monday, Kokesh faces an administrative discharge hearing that accuses him of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Pentagon policy on the wearing of uniforms and being "disrespectful" to a superior. A military board could convert his honorable discharge into an "other than honorable" one, which could reduce his veterans benefits. Today, he and supporters will board a "peace bus" in Washington to take him to the hearing in Kansas City.

"I'm a civilian with the full rights of a civilian until I am called back by the Marine Corps," Kokesh says.

The military doesn't see it that way. The Marine Corps would not comment on specifics of Kokesh's case because it is pending. Marine Maj. Stewart Upton, a Pentagon spokesman, said all troops are instructed that they are forbidden from wearing a uniform at a political event, regardless of whether they are on active duty or retired. "If he says he's a civilian, then why is he wearing the uniform?" Upton asks. "What is he trying to communicate by his action?"

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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 07:51 PM
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1. Yet another way to stifle dissent
It's amazing. It's not enough to send 'our troops' over to Iraq without armor, without any real plan to accomplish 'the mission,' and without proper long-term medical care for them if they get hurt.

No, now we have to remind them that they are slaves for life to the military and can't have any civil rights, even when they get home.

Excuse me, what are they fighting for again in Iraq. Oh yeah, freedom.
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freesqueeze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 07:53 PM
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2. You shall not speak...
unless you agree with all your government says.

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 08:15 PM
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3. When can veterans stop saluting and start speaking out?
That is the question; when can vets who are OUT not have to fear condemnation and perhaps punishment from the government they so faithfully served?
Rec'd.
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jtrockville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 08:54 PM
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4. If veterans can't speak out, who can?
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cynatnite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-31-07 08:59 PM
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5. You're not supposed to wear the uniform to a political event...
Edited on Thu May-31-07 08:59 PM by cynatnite
whether still in the military or not...but, this is weird, too. I can't begin to count the times I've seen service members in uniform at republican political events and yet nothing happened to them. I hope the lawyer shows photographs and explains these guys are being singled out because of their opposing views.
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