Protesting In Uniform

There are two stories in today’s Washington Post about some Individual Ready Reserve Marines who are in trouble for taking part in anti-war protests while wearing a uniform.

For the non-vets out there, IRR is a status where you can be recalled to service, but do not have to do anything other than call personnel command if you move and keep your uniform in the closet.

The reservists argue that being in IRR means they are civilians and the military may not censor their speech or political activity.

Setting aside the political activity they are engaged in, I find this argument disingenuous.  The military has very clear rules about not wearing the uniform to political events.   A fully discharged veteran can wear his uniform - the UCMJ no longer has any jursidiction.  But being in the IRR means you are not yet fully a civilian.

That said,¬† I’m not sure if it is in the military’s interest to go after these guys.¬† The normal response would be to tell them to stop it and it would end there.¬† One wonders if in Kokesh’s case the military is holding a hearing because he was rude to an officer via e-mail.¬† Kokesh may be dishonorably discharged from the IRR, which would mean that he would have to repay $10,800 in G.I. Bill benefits.¬†¬† While this punishment will have a punitive impact on Kokesh, it will draw additional media attention and simply serve to call attention to the fact that there are veterans out there who say the war is wrong.¬†¬† How can that help the military?

¬†I’m interested to hear what other folks think, especially fellow graduates of IRR, the Director and Polymath.

1 Comment »
Polymath said:

Is there such a thing as an “IRR Blanket Party?”
http://youtube.com/watch?v=98V8w0w4WtY
It can produce very effective results, as long as the guest of honor does not flip out and kill the D.I.

Seriously, being in the IRR is sorta like being in catholic purgatory. Not really a civilian, but not really in the military either. While the wearing of the uniform at ant-war proests is repellent, any action the Marines may take under the UCMJ will be counter-productive. Just quietly drop some poison in thier personnel jacket, “lose” some important info, or something of the sort. Some “persuasive free speech” by the local boys at the American Leigon or VFW hall would do some good, too.



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