Anti-war Marine receives discharge below honorable
Published June 14, 2007
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An Iraq war veteran was kicked out of the Marines with a general discharge after he wore his uniform during an anti-war demonstration, the military announced Wednesday.
Lt. Gen. John Bergman, commanding general of Marine Forces Reserve in New Orleans, agreed Monday to give Adam Kokesh a general discharge under honorable conditions, based on a military panel's recommendation.
Kokesh's attorneys argued that their client, a corporal, was not subject to military rules because he is a non-drilling, non-paid member of the Individual Ready Reserve, which consists mainly of those who have left active duty but still have time remaining on their eight-year military obligations.
His reservist service had been scheduled to end next Monday. Kokesh had received an honorable discharge from active duty in November.
He got in trouble after a newspaper published a photograph of him in March with other veterans on a mock patrol.
Mike Lebowitz, an attorney for Kokesh, said he planned to appeal to the Navy Discharge Review Board in Washington, which he described as a step toward getting the case into federal court.
Two other Iraq veterans were contacted by the Marines about their protest activities. "Now that the Marine Corps is going after honorably discharged members, who are in fact civilians, for free speech rights, we are fighting back," Lebowitz said Wednesday. "We are seeking a precedent in federal court."