Monday, October 1, 2007

Email from an active duty SSgt and response

This email is from an active duty Staff Sergeant of Marines who was working at the Marine Corps Mobilization Command in Kansas City when I had my hearing back in June. If I remember correctly, he was the only working Marine who would shake my hand outside the building and he said he remembered me from when he was working with the CAG in Iraq.

Mr. Kokesh,

I was here when you court martial took place in June, your caravan conducted themselves with a lot of class for the most part. Maybe some people don't, but I respect the fact that you served forward deployed voluntarily, there are still quite a few Marines on active duty who seem to slip through the cracks when it comes to serving in combat. As far as wearing your digitals that probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, it drew attention to yourself and I'm pretty sure that was the point of the demonstration but I think your point would have been just as well received if you threw on a pair of old woodlands. I don't have a problem with that aspect the issue I was most angered with was the disrespect. The Major was assigned the task of investigating your infraction chewed up the same ground you did, telling a Bronze Star recipient to go f#ck himself was wrong, that man is one of the most down to Earth officers I have ever met. That was wrong and you know it but that still doesn't take away the fact that put your life on the line for the people in this country, your error in judgment or the ruling at the court martial will never take away that. I spent 10 years on active duty all my time has been with Infantry units, I to have served in Fallujah if I want to express my opinion about this conflict when I'm out I feel I have every right to do so. So I guess I'm saying you probably should have thought it through a little more before you pressed the send button but hey what's done is done I thank you for your service.


SSgt V****,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am sorry it's been so long toget back to you as I've been struggling to get out from under a mountain of emails recently. I don't hold anything personally against the Major, nor did I mean to personally attack him. He was acting in his official role as an instrument of bad policy, and I reacted to that. Maybe I was just trying to assert my rights and emphasize that I was acting in an unofficial role.

You said, "if I want to express my opinion about this conflict when I'm out I feel I have every right to do so." While I agree, I'm afraid it's more than that. Your opinion based on your experiences has a certain value to this country in shaping policy at this point. Policy that is a matter of life or death. While there are appropriate restrictions on that expression while you are on active duty, if you think that lives MAY be lost needlessly as a result of current policy, you have a DUTY to share your opinions.

Semper Fi,

PFC Kokesh