Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Protesting Iraq vet facing discharge from marines
Tuesday, 5 June 2007
KANSAS CITY: A US military disciplinary panel 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 centre in Kansas City recommended that 25-year-old 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.
Kokesh said he would appeal the recommendation, which stops short of the honorable discharge he wants but is better than the dishonorable 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.
Kokesh is one of three US Iraq combat veterans and members of a group called Iraq Veterans Against the War whom the government has threatened to punish over their roles in the anti-war demonstration.
Kokesh was also charged with misconduct for responding to a marine investigator with a profanity.
He maintained that he has been acting as a civilian since his discharge from active duty in November 2006 and decried the action by the marines as a restraint on freedom of speech and a "corrupt" and political act by the US military.