Marine Corps Sgt. Gary Stein is facing discharge and demotion for reportedly criticizing President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Iraqi War veteran posted comments on the Facebook page for the Armed Forces Tea Party, stating that he would not obey "unlawful orders" from President Obama, such as orders to kill Americans or take guns from them.
Stein tells OneNewsNow that his statements only affirm that he will defend the Constitution.
He notes that the Marine Corps agreed two years ago that he could make statements on the tea party page, as long as he did not speak on behalf of the Marine Corps. Stein asserts that is what he has been doing, so it does not make sense to him that he is being punished for those statements.
"I'm still an American citizen. I think I'm allowed, just as every other American citizen is, to interpret the Constitution," he contends. "And if I interpret it wrong … I need to be held accountable. But I haven't done that."
The 26-year-old sergeant now faces an administrative discharge, which would reduce his rank and strip him of his benefits. But a civil rights expert says the U.S. military is showing hypocrisy by specifically punishing one soldier for his political statements while ignoring others. (Listen to audio report)
Stein has vowed to challenge the dismissal and says his punishment is un-America.
Stein recently weighed in on the debate about whether U.S. troops should be prosecuted over the Koran burning controversy in Afghanistan, writing that he would not follow orders from the president if those orders included detaining U.S. citizens, disarming them, or doing anything else that he believes would violate their constitutional rights. He has also written on his Facebook page that he does not "represent the views of the United States Armed Forces."
Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis (USA-Ret.) is senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council (FRC). He says there are clearly some prohibitions as to what an active duty service member can say about the service, and particularly about the commander-in-chief.
"The Marine can say I have a different opinion, but I'm going to abide by the lawful orders given to me. We want a military that is subservient to civilian authority," Maginnis notes. "We do not need a military that is going to be constantly questioning publicly the commander-in-chief, no matter what party he is from."
I may have been a military brat for half my life, but I am truly I am unfamiliar with military guidelines and rules.
However, I honesty don't see see any remarks that would be construed as disparaging towards Obama or his administration. It was his opinion, should he be reprimanded for an opinion?
This young marine should be commended not condemned for speaking his thoughts, isn't he guaranteed democratic process under our Constitution? If this young marine is denied his rights, then his willingness to sacrifice his life for this nation is a mockery to every single person that has died and served for this nation and, quite frankly, to our founding fathers.
Hell, I'll be the first to say it, "Since when has Obama ever recognized the Constitution of the United States of America?" If anything, he should be the one in hot water, not a brave and courageous marine.