Friendly Fire: Raising questions about 9/11 gets an Army sergeant demoted for “disloyalty.”
By STEPHEN C. WEBSTER
These days, Donald Buswell’s job is not as exciting or dangerous as it once was. For the past few months, his working hours have been spent taking care of some 40-plus wounded soldiers at San Antonio’s Fort Sam Houston medical center. The work is sometimes menial, even janitorial, but he doesn’t mind. After all, Buswell has been where these men are — three years ago, he too was recovering from wounds received in a battle zone in Iraq.
“I truly consider this an honor,” Buswell told his dad not long ago.
Still, it’s not exactly where Buswell expected to be after 20 years of well-respected service in the Army.
Since joining the Army in 1987, he had risen to the rank of sergeant first class, serving in both Gulf Wars, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Korea. He ended up with shrapnel scars and a Purple Heart and, back in the U.S. after his last tour in Iraq, a job as intelligence analyst at Fort Sam Houston.
He couldn’t have foreseen that one e-mail could derail his career and put him on his way out of the Army. One e-mail, speculating about events that millions of people have questioned for the last six years, was all it took.
Sgt. Buswell wants to know: What really happened on 9/11? And he said so in his e-mail. In the few paragraphs of that August 2006 message — a reply not to someone outside the service, but to other soldiers — Buswell wrote that he thought the official report of what happened that day at the Pentagon, and in the Pennsylvania crash of United Airlines Flight 93, was full of errors and unanswered questions.
“Who really benefited from what happened that day?” he asked rhetorically. Not “Arabs,” but “the Military Industrial Complex,” Buswell concluded. “We must demand a new, independent investigation.”
For voicing those opinions in an e-mail to 38 people on the San Antonio Army base, Buswell was stripped of his security clearance, fired from his job, demoted, and ordered to undergo a mental health exam.
(He was also ordered not to speak with the press. Information for this story came from documents, conversations with Buswell’s family members and friends, and sources within Fifth Army who asked not to be named.)
As if all that weren’t enough, Fort Sam Houston’s chief of staff penned a letter accusing Buswell of “making statements disloyal to the United States.”
Read it here.
Vet May Lose ‘Honorable’ Status Over Protest
By HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH, AP
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (May 31) – An Iraq war veteran could lose his honorable discharge status after being photographed wearing fatigues at an anti-war protest.
Marine Cpl. Adam Kokesh and other veterans marked the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq in April by wearing their uniforms – with military insignia removed – and roaming around the nation’s capital on a mock patrol.
After Kokesh was identified in a photo cutline in The Washington Post, a superior officer sent him a letter saying he might have violated a rule prohibiting troops from wearing uniforms without authorization.
Kokesh, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, responded with an obscenity.
Now, a military panel has been scheduled to meet with Kokesh on Monday to decide whether his discharge status should be changed from “honorable” to “other than honorable.”
“This is clearly a case of selective prosecution and intimidation of veterans who speak out against the war,” Kokesh said. “To suggest that while as a veteran you don’t have freedom of speech is absurd.”
Kokesh is part of the Individual Ready Reserve, a segment of the reserves that consists mainly of those who have left active duty but still have time remaining on their eight-year military obligations.
His attorney, Mike Lebowitz, said Kokesh’s IRR status ends June 18. He said at least three other veterans have been investigated because of their involvement at demonstrations.
Kokesh, 25, enlisted in the Marines while still attending high school in New Mexico. He was a reservist in an artillery unit, assigned to the November Battery, 5th Battalion, 14th Regiment of the 4th Division based out of Pico Rivera, Calif., near Los Angeles.
Kokesh said he had reservations about Iraq even before the United States invaded, but wanted to go there to help rebuild schools and mosques after Saddam Hussein ‘s regime was toppled. He even learned Arabic.
He said he grew disillusioned with the war during his first tour, and now believes there is no way for the country to achieve the rule of law with a foreign military imposing martial law.
Read it here.