U.S. Marine Faces Less-Than-Honorable Discharge After Criticizing Obama on Facebook
April 9, 2012 9:36 AM
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A Marine review board has recommended the dismissal
A United States Marine may be dismissed from the military for posting negative comments about U.S. President Barack Obama on Facebook.
Gary Stein, 26, a meteorologist at Camp Pendleton, posted on Facebook that he refused to follow orders given by Obama. These
comments were posted on a Facebook page
called the Armed Forces Tea Party.
This isn't Stein's first bout of trouble in the military. The Marine, who has served almost nine years including a tour of duty in Iraq, also got in trouble for comments that he posted on the Armed Forces Tea Party page back in 2010. At that point, he was simply told to put a disclaimer on the page saying that it was in no way affiliated with the U.S. military.
But this time, the Marines believe Stein has gone too far. After posting that he refused to follow Obama's orders, Stein later removed the comments saying that he meant only unlawful orders.
Now, a Marine Corps review board has ruled that Stein should be dismissed with a less-than-honorable discharge for his Facebook comments. This decision came after a 13-hour hearing and one hour deliberation by the board.
This recommendation will be sent to Brigadier General Daniel Yoo, who is commanding general of the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot. He is then expected to make a decision regarding Stein's fate within 30 days.
The Marines are taking Stein's actions very seriously, considering the fact that Marines take an oath to defend the Constitution and obey the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which means Marines cannot partake in political activities while in uniform.
Stein was due to either re-enlist or end his enlistment at the end of July.
This particular case is just another reminder that social media is being watched very closely by overheads such as employers and schools. For instance, employees and applicants at the Maryland Department of Corrections were
forced to hand over their Facebook emails and passwords
so that employers could take a look at their employees' private lives. Later, the government simply asked employees to log into their Facebook pages right in front of them. In addition, an Indiana high school student was recently
expelled for posting foul language on Twitter
, even though he supposedly tweeted it from home.
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Orders and Insults.
4/9/2012 4:56:48 PM
posted on Facebook that he refused to follow orders given by Obama.
Not having served in the military, I thought that you had to have extremely good reasons for refusing to obey orders, e.g. your senior officer was extremely ill and not capable of issuing orders, you were ordered to shoot innocent people, the orders are suicidal, etc. In other words, there are higher orders or laws that defends your decision to not obey a lower order.
My reading of this from other news websites is Stein was held responsible for editing posters for the movies "The Incredibles" and "Jackass" so they insulted President Obama, and produced other pictures which insulted the President, who is his Commander in Chief, and then posting them on various Facebook pages, which is a public forum.
While Facebook could be regarded as a new phenomenon, the fact is Stein should have been aware that not so long ago US General McChrystal was dismissed because his subordinates insulted the President and questioned his orders when it was reasonable for those subordinates to believe their comments would be published (well, they were being interviewed by a reporter).
As I see this situation, just like McChrystal's subordinates who talked to the Rolling Stones reporter, it was reasonable for Stein to believe his President insulting pictures placed on a public forum with world wide access could easily gain wide attention.
Because the pictures insulted the same president that had dismissed McChrystal, this left the most senior officers in the US Marine Corp with little doubt as to the potential for them loosing their jobs because the circumstances were almost the same: a subordinate insulted the President and got wide publicity because of it. I think those senior officers would have reasonable grounds to believe, like McChrystal, that it was either them or Stein that got the "less than honourable discharge".
"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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