Marine Discharged Over Facebook Anti-Obama Rants
A photo from the Marine Sgt. Gary Stein's Facebook page, "Armed Forces Tea Party," depicting President Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and others.
Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 Updated at 12:19 PM PDT
A Marine sergeant was discharged from the military Wednesday for repeated Facebook posts about President Obama.
Marine Sgt. Gary Stein, 27, a meteorologist at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, posted anti-Obama comments and photos on his Facebook page, the "Armed Forces Tea Party." Stein's posts ranged from "Screw Obama and I will not follow all orders from him," to calling the president "an economic and religious enemy."
The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups told reporters they will fight the decision they say violates Stein's first-amendment rights, but military prosecutors said that Stein's comments violated a Pentagon policy that limits political speech while a service member is in uniform, according to Reuters. Stein also was repeatedly warned by superior officers about his Facebook postings.
Still, lawyers from the ACLU and the conservative U.S. Justice Foundation said Thursday that they will continue to fight
"I don't believe Sgt. Stein did anything other than engage in political speech," the ACLU's David Loy told the Los Angeles Times. "Since the days of Valley Forge, I seriously doubt that there haven't been members of the armed forces who haven't complained about their government."
Stein, a nine-year veteran who served in Iraq, will be stripped of his stripes and demoted to lance corporal. His discharge will make him ineligible for most federal veterans benefits. The decision to discharge Stein was unanimous by the administration separation board who found that Stein's comments about Obama were "detrimental to good order and discipline and violated military law."
What we find interesting is that at first, Stein seemed to be filled with self-righteous indignation about facing a discharge, including calling his "Armed Forces Tea Party" a place for casual Marine rap sessions
. But his comment, "As an active-duty Marine, I have sworn to defend the Constitution against all enemies fo reign and domestic. Obama is the economic enemy, the religious enemy, the domestic enemy," wasn't only on Facebook, but also posted on the military's internal network
for meteorological and oceanographic information, according to Reuters.
As a retired military member myself I don't feel a bit sorry for this guy. The president is his commander and chief. You don't say anything that puts the President in an unflattering light no matter who is President. If that was the case I would have said things about George Bush. Show this guy the door and don't let it hit you on the way out. You should have known better!