Liam Madden is a Marine veteran who spent seven months in Iraq. After returning to the United States, he became a co-founder of the Appeal for Redress. This is a campaign of active service members who are appealing to the US Congress to remove all American military forces and bases from Iraq. He is also a member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. Recently, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) notified him that they were going to change his honorable discharge to a less than honorable discharge. He finds himself fighting this attempt while also continuing his organizing against the war. As for the Appeal for redress, there are now 2002 service men and women who have signed the statement. What follows is a brief exchange between Liam and myself over this attempt to silence him and other service members for speaking out against the war.
Ron:Liam, What exactly is the military trying to do to you?
Liam:The Marine Corps notified me that I was being recommended for "Other then Honorable Discharge" from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) for two alleged violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice
1. Wearing a partial USMC camouflage uniform at a political protest
2. Making Disloyal Statements at a speech in New York City. I said that "The War in Iraq is, by Nuremberg standards, a war crime and a war of aggression" and "the president has betrayed U.S. service members by committing them to a war crime
In essence, they are trying to apply the UCMJ to members of the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR) who aren't supposed to be subject to it. Further, they are attempting to silence political opposition to the war by intimidating vets and GIs.
Ron:Just to clarify, are you still in the reserves?
Liam:I'm still a member of the IRR
Ron:Why do you think they chose you? Is this also happening to other service people or vets?
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Ron Jacobs is a writer, library worker and anti-imperialist. He is the author of The Way the Wind Blew: a History of the Weather Underground and Short Order Frame Up. His collection of essays and other musings titled Tripping Through the American (more...