Saturday, June 02, 2007

Support the Troops

If you're not familiar with the name Adam Kokesh, you should be. In fact, the odds are good that you've probably seen him. He's a former Marine and an active member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He recently had a memorable moment during Alzheimer Gonzales's congressional testimony, where Kokesh kept a running tally of Gonzo's pathetic "I Don't Recall" routine.

Well, Kokesh is in the news again, stemming from a protest he and a few others staged at the Senate building. Here's a small sample from his story:
The Reverend said his prayer, and all the while the police were warning us that, “what you are doing constitutes a political protest and you are subject to arrest.” I had been under the impression that political protest was constitutionally protected, but then we are talking about a Senate building here. Kevin Zeese of Voters for Peace yelled, “Respect the funeral!” and was arrested immediately. I stood up. The Reverend did an about-face, took three steps, and did another about-face. At that point, I had done what I had come to do, and would have done an about-face and walked away, but we were still inside this perimeter of cops. Then we both stood at the Position of Attention facing each other, and he was arrested. Then one of the cops asked me if there was someone there that I wanted to give the flag to, because I was being arrested. I ignored him and just stood still. Then someone (I kept my eyes locked forward) pulled the flag out of my hands and I dropped them to my sides in the standard Position of Attention. Then I was flex-cuffed and led out the front door to a waiting paddy wagon van.
I put the particularly galling part in bold here for a reason. Does anyone know when "political protest" became an arrestable offense? I seem to recall something in the Constitution allowing us to do that sort of thing, but I guess it might have been erased by the brain-dead Monica Goodling fuckwits at the Justice Department as part of Patriot Act XXIII or something.

Anyway, as galling as the reason for Kokesh's arrest is, the repercussions are even worse. Kokesh was granted an honorable discharge from the Marines when he left the service, but now they're going to try to retroactively change that from honorable to dishonorable, because Kokesh wore parts of his old camo uniform, with all the insignia removed, during the protest. Unfuckingbelievable.

If this pisses you off as much as it does me, IVAW has a handy list of things you can do to help out. This guy has put himself on the line twice -- first during combat and now after it -- and it's time he gets a little support from the rest of us.

You know, other than the SUV stickers and the nice handcuffs we gave him.

Update: As noted at TPM, the leader of Veterans of Foreign Wars -- an arch-traditionalist, bedrock-conservative veterans organization -- is now telling the Marines to back off this witch hunt. I'm sure they don't agree with the politics behind these Marines' protest, but it's nice to see them standing strong behind their right to do so.


teh l4m3 said...

Poor guy.

Pretty hot, too. Damn.

InanimateCarbonRod said...

Yeah, but who fought for his right to protest?

Oh, uh, yeah, I see your point.

Smitty said...

First of all, thanks for this post OM. I am glad you brought it to our attention, and I kicked some bucks the way of IVAW.

When you enlist, you really don't give up any of your rights. Sure, maybe some of my speech is limited because it may accidentally give away a position or what-have-you. But once you're out, even in the IRR, you're out. I loved the part in Kokesh's letter where he states that after his duty, his rights are enhanced. I get and agfree with his point: if anyone should be able to call bullshit it's at least him. Damn right it is.

As a vet myself, I am sickened that my own beloved Marine Corps would try to intimidate one of its own in thi fashion. But Generals are political appointees afterall.

Otto Man said...

Yeah, I have no doubt this is coming down through the White House to the JCS and then the Marines. But if the VFW is backing him up, they might reconsider.

After all, if you're not allowed to use military figures in political scenes, who will they ever get to stand behind Bush at his Commander Codpiece photo-ops?

Mike said...

Wow. This story is amazing (not in a good way). What kind of protest is permitted? Disagreeing with Simon on American Idol?

teh l4m3 said...

I spotlighted this one in today's post.

I SAID GODDAMN he'd make a fine hubby for my chubby...