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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."
So they'll prosecute me if I wear my Army uniforms to an anti-war protest? Really?
But that's not the point. As we've seen time and time again, we see military personnel, in uniform, all the freakin' time as backdrops to Republican pro-war events -- including with Mr. 28% -- and there haven't been any prosecutions of those folks.
Marine Cpl. Adam Kokesh has already been discharged. He has every right enshrined under the Constitution, including those of free speech and peaceful assembly.
And anyone that thinks otherwise, quite frankly, is legitimately and objectively un-American.
Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Jun 02, 2007 at 11:31 AM PDT.