Punishing war vets for speaking out


Given the circumstances, “a little common sense” sounds like it’s desperately needed, but in short supply.

The nation’s largest combat veterans group on Friday urged the military to “exercise a little common sense” and call off its investigation of a group of Iraq war veterans who wore their uniforms during anti-war protests.

“Trying to hush up and punish fellow Americans for exercising the same democratic right we’re trying to instill in Iraq is not what we’re all about,” said Gary Kurpius, national commander of the 2.4 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“Someone in the Marine Corps needs to exercise a little common sense and put an end to this matter before it turns into a circus,” Kurpius said.

The main controversy surrounds Marine Cpl. Adam Kokesh, who attended a recent Iraq war protest with other veterans. He wore fatigues — with military insignia removed. Kokesh is no longer on active duty, and he received his honorable discharge after one combat tour in Iraq, though he remains part of the Individual Ready Reserve.

Apparently, his attendance at the protest event was enough to spark a controversy. Kokesh was photographed at the event, and is now under administrative review. If punished, Kokesh could lose out on educational and other benefits he is eligible to receive, and may no longer qualify for job opportunities that require a security clearance.

It’s a curious way to support our veterans, isn’t it?