Marines Drop Case Against Anti-War Iraq Veteran

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the Associated Press

Marines Drop Case Against Anti-War Iraq Veteran

by
Heather Hollingsworth

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Marines won't kick out an Iraq war veteran who made anti-war statements in a speech and wore part of his uniform at a protest, the service said Friday, despite a recommendation to discharge him early.

0629 11An investigating officer had recommended in May that Liam Madden, 22, of Boston receive an other-than-honorable discharge, the worst discharge possible under non-court martial conditions.

Madden is part of the Individual Ready Reserve, which consists mainly of those who have left active duty but still have time remaining on their eight-year military obligations. He is scheduled to be discharged in 2010.

Madden was accused of making ``disloyal statements'' during a speech in February in New York in which he accused President Bush of betraying service members and called the fighting in Iraq a ``war crime.'' The speech was posted on the Internet.

Madden also was accused of a uniform violation for wearing a camouflage, button-down shirt and jeans at a demonstration in Washington in January.

The Marines said in a news release that they were dropping the case because they had ``received sufficient indication'' from Madden that he would no longer wear his uniform when engaged in political activities. They also determined that his statements did not warrant further action.

Madden insists he never reached an agreement with the Marines and planned to keep wearing his uniform at protests. He did write in an e-mail to the Marine Corps on Tuesday that he would agree to stop wearing his uniform at protests if the corps put in writing ``that my statements are neither disloyal nor inaccurate.''

Madden said he never received the letter he requested on Marine Corps letterhead and had no further conversations with the Marines.

``I think it's a total victory,'' Madden said, speaking on his cell phone from Columbia, S.C., where he is participating in a bus tour of East Coast military installations. ``The country is on our side, and it really puts the Marine Corps in a bad light if they try to intimidate'' us.

The Marines did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

Madden was one of at least three Marines investigated for their protest activities. Another, Adam Kokesh of Washington, D.C., was kicked out of the Marines earlier this month with a general discharge for wearing his uniform during a demonstration and using an obscenity in an e-mail to an investigating officer.

Kokesh's attorney said the other-than-honorable discharge could affect health benefits, but Madden said his attorneys did not think it would because he previously received an honorable discharge from active duty.

An other-than-honorable discharge would affect employment prospects and ability to obtain a security clearance, Madden's attorneys said.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press

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