The U.S. military once again is trying to stifle dissent as we can see in this case against Adam Kokesh:
WASHINGTON Going on a mock patrol can get you in real trouble with the US Marine Corps.
In a case that raises questions about free speech, the Marines have launched investigations of three inactive reservists for wearing their uniforms during antiwar protests and allegedly making statements characterized as "disrespectful" or "disloyal."
When someone is "inactive," their "loyalty" should never be a legal issue. "Loyalty" rhymes with "royalty" and as a legal concept, is much more at home in monarchies.
Two of them were part of the guerrilla theater squad of 13 Iraq Veterans Against the War who roamed Capitol Hill and downtown Washington in March, clad in camouflage and carrying imaginary weapons, to mark the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war.
A dozen people doing street theatre in DC--it sounds like a major threat to the nation! Tape down those windows!
Adam Kokesh, 25, a graduate student at George Washington University, faces a hearing Monday in Kansas City, where the Marines will recommend an "other than honorable" discharge from the Individual Ready Reserve. He was previously honorably discharged from active duty after fighting in Fallujah and receiving the Combat Action Ribbon and the Navy Commendation Medal.
Upon learning he was being investigated for wearing his uniform during the mock patrol, Kokesh wrote an e-mail to the investigating officer, Major John Whyte. The veteran discussed his service and his critique of the war and asked the officer, "We're at war. Are you doing all you can?" He concluded with an obscene recommendation about what Whyte should go do. This earned him the count for a "disrespectful statement."
Are we to assume that the Marine Corps is also prosecuting every vet who wears their uniform to a pro-war rally? How about those big lines of vets who march through town on Memorial Day? The Marine Corps lawyers must have a big case overload. If this is not the case, where does one write to learn the list of appropriate political opinions and appropriate causes? Can someone wear their uniform during a pro-war film?
Liam Madden, 22, who spent seven months in Iraq, last fall helped launch the Appeal for Redress, a website where military personnel can directly appeal to Congress to support withdrawal of troops. Madden, of Boston, is accused of wearing his camouflage shirt at an antiwar march in Washington in January.
A camoflage shirt?! How maddening! We won't be able to see the peformers hiding in the DC foliage!
He also is accused of making disloyal statements during a speech in February in New York, when he says he wasn't wearing his uniform. These were the statements, as summarized by the Marines in legal documents: "Sgt. Madden spends several minutes explaining the 'war crimes' of the Bush administration. Sgt. Madden claims that the war in Iraq is a war 'of aggression' and one of 'empire building.' Sgt. Madden explains that the President of the United States has 'betrayed US military personnel' engaged in the Iraq conflict."
This word "disloyal" again . . . We shan't have too many of these "disloyal" folks running amok through the streets of our democracy. If people want a different view of the war, they should go in the corner and think their evil disloyal thoughts to themselves.
The identity of the third Marine under investigation could not be immediately verified; his or her name had been blacked-out.
Maybe this person has been tossed in a secret prison in some secret location by some secret force operating under some secret order. One never knows these days.
Papers drawn up by Marine lawyers indicate the corps sees it as a matter of enforcing clear regulations.
It's perfectly clear to me: Attend all the pro-war rallies you want and you'll get a pat on the shoulder; voice the wrong political opinion and you'll get a dishonerable discharge.
The case also raises a fundamental question of interest to the roughly 158,000 men and women in the Marines' and Army's Individual Ready Reserve: Are they civilians -- free to speak their minds -- or not? "This case is about the Marine Corps seeking to stifle critics of the Iraq policy by officially labeling civilian acts of peaceful protest and political speech as misconduct and serious offenses," said Michael Lebowitz, Kokesh's attorney, who fought in Iraq as an Army paratrooper.
All I can say is thank goodness for the Adam Kokeshes in this country. It's good to see that someone cares enough to stand up and speak their mind.