Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Msg to be learned: Watch what you say

A Marine and political activist is facing dismissal for anti-Obama comments he recently made, and a civil rights expert says the Marine is being treated unfairly.

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.

"I will follow lawful orders. If I'm in battle and my captain says Hey, attack that hill, I'm going up that hill with everything I have in my mind, body, and soul," he says. "But if I am sitting here in Camp Pendleton, and they're like, Hey, there's a natural disaster; there's an earthquake. We're going to go into the city and take away all the guns -- that's illegal."

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 has currently been reassigned to a desk job, reportedly without a computer, while the military decides his fate.

Military officials say Sgt. Gary Stein violated a code that prohibits active duty service members from political activities like advocating for or against a particular candidate or political party.

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.


Z said...

I saw this some days ago and emailed our buddy, Marine-retired Mustang asking what he thought.
He said the guy just simply can't do that. They are not allowed to disparage the Commander in Chief. Period.
I guess I can see that, you can't have a whole army mad at their leader and possibly even refusing orders, etc...not that this guy did that.
He also appeared in military fatigues and spoke against Obama, from what I heard, which even I think is really wrong.
Personally, I think he has every right to say what he wants in private to friends, etc., or on a private blog he owns, or even comments at other blogs.

This is a tough one and it'll be interesting to see where it goes....

Jersey McJones said...

ndentru It's not that he disparaged the Commander in Chief, it's that he conferred that he expected orders that he intended not to follow - proselytizing a political ideology from his military position.

That is exceedingly dangerous behavior and he should be discharged if the allegations are true.

Leticia, you have to be careful with this behemoth military you want so dearly. Study history. Real history. Take a break from the fiction and all, and read some ol' fashioned history - like the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, that would be a good place to start.


Anonymous said...

The military has a code of conduct and a responsibility. Regardless of what any member of the military may think, they are obliged to follow orders and support the harmoney, integrity and standards. Critizing the Commander in Chief/Head of State, the Government, Cabinet members, the flag, the reputation of the country all are the same thing in the eyes of the military.

There is a mechanism in place for those unhappy or who refuse to do an action or partake in an order. The chain of command in all modern armies is clear to every member.

No, the military has done the right thing, such comments by this Sargeant are unbecomming of a member of the armed forces and only weakens it.

I would say the same thing if it was Bush or even if, with shuddering thought, Sarah Palin had the job.

Good decision.

Damien Charles

dmarks said...

Everything else aside, Obama is the Commander in Chief, and this soldier went rogue, basically, going on about how he considers obeying orders from his superiors to be optional. He's a bad soldier unfit for duty. He deserves harsh treatment, like like the controversial deserters during the Bush administration.

Charles said: "There is a mechanism in place for those unhappy or who refuse to do an action or partake in an order. The chain of command in all modern armies is clear to every member."

Not only that, this traitorous fellow CHOSE to be in the military. If he disliked it and the chain of command so much, why did he even join? Do we even need morons who make such serious decisions so carelessly in the Armed Services?

Leticia: If you think this is OK, then what happens, say, when someone does this to Pres. Santorum or Pres. Romney?

The thing I disagree most strongly with is this: "This young marine should be commended not condemned for speaking his thoughts, isn't he guaranteed democratic process under our Constitution?"

Are those your words, Leticia? The democratic process inside the military?. Do you think that privates should be able to gather and vote to choose sergeants (yeah imagine what THAT would do to boot camp!), sergeants vote for majors, majors vote for colonels, and the top generals chosen by a vote of colonels? Has any military ever done this? Certainly not ours.

dmarks said...

Also, we really need to remember the Marine Corps Oath of Enlistment:

"I (state your name) do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

No, Gary Stein. It's an oath. And any real Marine realizes it. It does not include your escape clause.... "only when I feel like it and approve of the orders of the President and officers".

Leticia said...

Z, I should have asked Mustang I am also in communication with him. I honestly wasn't sure if the guy did anything wrong.

Jersey, I grew up in the military life, but like I said I was just a kid and only followed the rules that the family was supposed to do while on post and off. I do follow history and love it. But I was honest, I wasn't sure if this young marine did something wrong that's all. Thanks for the advice, though.

Damien, thanks for your input. I truly had no idea. But seriously, this was on Facebook.

Dmarks, I thought it was okay, until the following comments were given. I did say on my post that I wasn't sure about the rules or regulations, or whatever. Rogue soldiers, not a good idea.

Liberalmann said...

Newly found Reagan Journal:

"The Republican party today merely just uses God as a means to get votes, and I don’t believe Jesus would want to be used as a marketing tool. I regret my decision to become Republican and if I had to do it all over again I would have remained in the Democratic party and ran on their ticket. They seem to instill the core values I believe in, such as a collective philosophy. I thought for a while the Democrats left me, because we used to agree on so much, it turns out that I did indeed leave them, and I would do anything to take it all back. Now as I sit here as an old man, I can only imagine, “what if…”"



Always On Watch said...

I see that Liberalmann is on the crack pipe again. Sheesh.


The regs are the regs. Still, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if a Muslim member of the military made negative remarks about Obama. Probably Obama would ask him to an halal dinner.

Right Wing Theocrat said...

Yeah I have a feeling that if he had been making pro-obama statements, they wouldn't be doing any of this. I hope he fights it and wins.

Right Truth said...

Well I don't know for sure what is permissible and what isn't. I do know that being in the military is much different that being an ordinary citizen.

LTG (Ret.) William G. Boykin who spoke out against Islam while wearing his uniform in church (see link below).



dmarks said...

People who do this kind of thing in uniform are fraudulently implying that their violation of their oath and making up their own orders.

One of the worst examples I remember was John Kerry doing his play soldier thing at the 2004 Democratic Convention. He lied. He was not "reporting for duty" at all. No more than a play soldier. He even mocked the actual salute.

It's all members of the current and former military who should know better going rogue. They should know better.

Jersey McJones said...

dmarks is correct.


dmarks said...

Jersey: So were you, I think.

Teresa said...

The soldier said he wouldn't follow unconstitutional orders if they were given by the president? The soldier takes his oath seriously? what the heck is so wrong with that? He cares about upholding our constitution unlike Obama.

Bob said...

When you join the military service of this nation, you belong to "the man". It gets real simple, real quick.

However, that Marine has every right to have his own opinion, and to vote any way he wants.

lisa said...

Good one Teresa. I see how liberals are now all pro "Commander In Chief". It's weird calling someone that who never did anything more than lecture in a classroom though.

Lone Ranger said...

I was in the military for 24 years. The military obeys the commander-in-chief no matter how distasteful it might be. If you can't do that, you get out. Period. When Clinton was elected, I was in the retirement office the next day. I was determined not to serve a person who was not morally qualified to shine my shoes. That ended an unbroken chain of military service in my family that went back to WWI. Dissension in the ranks is a cancer and should be cut out whenever it is detected. It's just a shame that good people must be sacrificed to preserve that tradition, when such an incompetent, despicable, un-American person is in the White House.

Silverfiddle said...

The Marine is wrong, as Mustang confirmed.

Jersey is wrong as well, as he always is when he comments on things he knows nothing about.

Jersey McJones said...

Care to expand on that, Silver?

Ever watch Dr. Strangelove, just out of curiosity?


Leticia said...

Well, I guess I got my answers. I honestly thought that their first duty was to the nation and honoring the constitution not some rogue president, but, if I am wrong then I am wrong. It does happen on occasion.

I feel he is entitled to his opinion, but if you are in the military, there is really no such thing as being "off-duty?"

dmarks said...

Lisa: "It's weird calling someone that who never did anything more than lecture in a classroom though."

And a man whose Senate career and Presidential campaign were based on ignorance and contempt for military issues.