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The VFW Backs Anti-War Veterans At Protests

From those supporters of the troops at the Associated Press:

Marine Corps veteran Adam Kokesh talks with reporters during a news conference in Washington, Friday, June 1, 2007.

VFW backs vet in trouble over protest

By SAM HANANEL, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – The nation’s largest combat veterans group on Friday urged the military to “exercise a little common sense” and call off its investigation of a group of Iraq war veterans who wore their uniforms during anti-war protests.

“Trying to hush up and punish fellow Americans for exercising the same democratic right we’re trying to instill in Iraq is not what we’re all about,” said Gary Kurpius, national commander of the 2.4 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“Someone in the Marine Corps needs to exercise a little common sense and put an end to this matter before it turns into a circus,” Kurpius said.

Marine Cpl. Adam Kokesh had already received an honorable discharge from active duty before he was photographed in March wearing fatigues — with military insignia removed — during a mock patrol with other veterans protesting the Iraq war.

A military panel in Kansas City, Mo., will hold a hearing Monday to decide whether he should be should be discharged from service and, if so, with what type of discharge.

Col. Dave Lapan, a Marine Corps spokesman, said Kokesh is under administrative review because he wore his uniform at a political event, which is prohibited. And, Lapan said, when a senior officer told Kokesh that he violated military regulations, Kokesh used an obscenity and indicated he would not comply with the rules.

“It’s the political activity that is prohibited, not the type of event that it was,” Lapan said. “If it had been a pro-war rally, it would still have been a violation.”

The panel could recommend an honorable discharge, a general discharge or an other than honorable discharge. Kokesh could not be given a dishonorable discharge, which generally results from a court-martial. The final decision would be made by the commanding general.

A second Marine who was at the same event was also called about the violation, but told the officer he was unaware he was breaking the rules and said he would not do it again, Lapan said. That Marine has not been called to an administrative hearing…

Kokesh’s attorney, Michael Lebowitz, has called the investigation an effort to stifle critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.

What a disgraceful thing for the VFW to do.

You have to wonder why. 

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, June 2nd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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