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A Blog by Gary Wright II

Marine punished for using his right of free speech against the war

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

A military panel just recommended that 25 year old Marine Corporal Adam Kokesh be punished after he attended an anti-war protest dressed in desert fatigues. He had removed his name and all of his military emblems, but the panel says he was in "a military uniform." Kokesh was a member of a group called "Iraq Veterans Against the War" which held a protest in March to mark the 4th anniversary of the war.

The board recommended a general discharge under honorable conditions, which is a step below a honorable discharge. Kokesh is planning to appeal the recommendation of the board, but the final decision will come from the Marine Corps Mobilization Command in Kansas City.

I believe he should receive an Honorable discharge, because he was exercising his basic right of free speech. The military complaint was based on the fact that he attended the protest in his "military uniform." That is not true because if he showed up for duty without a name tag and emblems, he would be written up for "being out of uniform." Wearing camoflage or fatigues doesn't mean you are in the military. Assuming that he didn't wear ANY component of his uniform, wouldn't it still be evident that he was in the military because he was with a group called Iraq Veterans Against the War?

In this case, I think the military has gone too far, and is using tactics such as this to intimidate those who oppose the war. They should be worrying about much larger issues right now, and I hope that the Marine chain of command ignores the board recommendation and grants him the honorable discharge that he has earned.

Update: After receiving an email from a superior officer informing him of the charge, he responded with an obscenity. Kokesh received a General Discharge.

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