Monday, April 2, 2007

On the Proper Wearing of the Marine Corps Uniform as an IVAW Member

A few days ago I received a very disturbing email:

Cpl Kokesh, [I was busted down to Cpl for my last month in the Marines]

I know you're a busy man these days but I was hoping to speak with you about an issue that has presented itself. I have been assigned as Investigating Officer to look into your possible violation(s) of DoDI 1334.01 "Wearing of the Uniform" and MCO P1020.34 "Marine Corps Uniform Regulations". Specifically, you may have violated the law while wearing all or part of your Marine Corps uniform while engaged in political demonstrations or activities.

I know this matter pales in comparison with recent geopolitical events of which you have shown an interest but, nonetheless, I am obligated to investigate this matter and I have a desire to let a fellow Marine know about his obligations and duty. As a member of the Reserve Component, until 18 JUN 2007, the law restricts your wearing of the uniform at certain events.

Please call me or reply to this e-mail acknowledging your understanding of your obligations and responsibilities. Thanks Marine!

Major **** *. *****

The next day I met with Tina Richards for lunch and showed her the email. She told me that Cloy Richards (her son, fellow Marine, member of IVAW) had received numerous similar emails, some of which had come from people outside of the military, or at least acting on their own. He had ignored them all with no consequence.

While the nature of the email is professional, the content is clearly threatening. I was not scared, so much as I was angry. After a few days of deliberation, including a couple nights sitting at my computer, staring at the email, I felt compelled to reply with the following:

Major *****,

As you are still an active part of the military engaged in an occupation in Iraq, I should hope that you too are a busy man these days. I am reminded of a poster that hung in the building housing the 3rd Civil Affairs Group of which I was once a member that read, "We're at war. Are you doing all you can?" Apparently, you have found the time to investigate me over such a trifling matter, which as you say yourself "pales in comparison" to the issue at hand.

I was honorably discharged twice after volunteering twice to go to Iraq. I was among the hardest of the hardcore. I was promoted to Sgt after a mere three years and seven months as a reservist. I earned my Combat Action Ribbon in the middle of Fallujah. I slept in the dirt during the first battle of Fallujah. I taught myself Arabic in order to be more proficient at my job as a Civil Affairs NCO to the point that I could run a checkpoint at a Civil Affairs facility without a translator, which was a necessity we were not always afforded. Two and a half years later, I was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for my efforts.

It was during this tour of duty that I brought a pistol home from Iraq. It was not a war trophy, but something I purchased from an Iraqi policeman that we were working with. Regardless, my CO discovered this as I was preparing to deploy for a second tour with the 3rd CAG, this time to Ramadi. I begged to be able to deploy, but was not allowed. I had volunteered to be activated for up to one year and was held for that entire period. I spent the majority of that time mowing the lawn around our building and begging to be sent to Iraq. I wanted only to serve to the best of my ability in the most appropriate capacity. The day after I was presented with my Navy Commendation Medal, I received Non-Judicial Punishment and was reduced to the rank of Corporal. I was soon given an honorable discharge accompanied by a reenlistment code 4. In case you are not familiar with it, that's the one that means I'm not welcome back. "Thanks for playing, it's been fun, but you can't reenlist."

So why I am I being investigated? Is it simply a matter of bureaucratic policy that you are being forced to carry out? Or am I really being perceived as a threat to the good order and discipline of the armed forces? I don't really think that's the case, but I am deeply offended by the attempt to keep me under the thumb of the organization to which I pledged my life and served so devotedly.

As we waste our time on such petty issues, our fellow Marines continue to die in futility in an occupation that our military is not adequately prepared to handle. While as a citizen, I have my responsibility to do all I can to ensure that our noble weapons of democracy are employed only in the best interests of our nation, you still have a responsibility to accomplish the two goals of Marine Corps leadership:

1. Mission Accomplishment

2. Troop Welfare

I fail to see how reminding me of my "obligations and responsibilities" helps you achieve either of these. It seems that while accomplishing our mission in Iraq, every corner we turn sends us further down the spiral, but there is still much that you can do to bring our fellow Marines home alive.

So no, I am not replying to your email in order to acknowledge my understanding of my obligations and responsibilities, but rather to ask you to please, kindly, go fuck yourself.

Semper Fi,

Adam Kokesh, PFC

Proud Fucking Civilian


Anonymous said...

My husband would have said the same thing!
Good for you!

Anonymous said...

Any person subject to this chapter who behaves with disrespect toward his superior commissioned officer shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
Any person subject to this chapter who--
(1) violates or fails to obey any lawful general order or regulation;
(2) having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by any member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or
(3) is derelict in the performance of his duties;
shall be punished as a court-martial may direct
Any person subject to this chapter who uses provoking or reproachful words or gestures towards any other person subject to this chapter shall be punished as a court-martial may direct

You, Cpl Kokesh, are an embarassment. Of course I'm sure in your mind everyone is just picking on you.

JLA said...

I am in full support of your efforts, very commendable, I attempted to contact you via email correspondence to no avail was that successful.

Anonymous said...

As a retired Air Force E-7 who served in Vietnam, I feel they are doing you a great disservice after you honorably served your country. Give your story to FOX news, O'Riley and Lou Dobbs of CNN. Do not let the military machine roo over you. We have all served so that we do have the same freedoms as other Americans when not on active duty. God Bless you.