Freedom of Speech and the Military
So I don’t know if you have heard about this or not. Recently a Marine, Sargent Gary Stein, was discharged for posting inflammatory comments about President Obama on a Facebook group he created called the Armed Forces Tea Party. The post the ultimately got him dismissed from the Marines said, “Screw Obama and I will not follow all orders from him.” He later clarified that he wouldn’t follow an unlawful order. Stein had been warned previously by his commanding officers about the military‘s policy about criticizing the commander and chief and told him to tone down his message. He didn’t listen. During his trial screen shots and other posts were used as evidence against him, and Stein was ultimately given an “other than honorable” discharge. Now since the Civil War the military has had a policy against uniformed service members speaking out for or against political candidates, including the current president, and the policy limits the public criticism of uniformed service members of the Commander and Chief.
Is this right or fair? Should there be a limit to free speech? Absolutely. You cannot yell fire in a crowded theatre. At a bare minimum Stein insulted his boss on the internet. What happens in the real world when you do that, the company finds a way to fire you. That is the way that life works. But in the military you are held to a higher standard. You take an oath to “serve and protect the constitution,” and that means following the chain of command. Stein publicly stated that he wouldn’t follow chain of command. I feel the military did the right thing. Facebook should not become a tool to vent all of our frustrations, and I think it’s crazy people are using it that way.
- Marine Who Bashed Obama On Facebook Discharged, Loses His Benefits (inquisitr.com)
- Gary Stein, Marine Who Called Obama an “Enemy” on Facebook, Discharged (blogs.sfweekly.com)
- Marine Discharged For Critical Obama Speech (lsnewsgroup.com)
- Sergeant is Discharged for Facebook Posts (newsfeedoftoday.wordpress.com)
- US Sergeant Booted off Marines for Obama Facebook Posts (2012indyinfo.com)
- Marines discharge sergeant for Facebook posts (ajc.com)
- Marine discharged for Facebook posts (stuff.co.nz)
- Marines discharge sergeant for Facebook posts (seattlepi.com)
- Tea Party Marine who called President Obama ‘the enemy’ is kicked out of the military and will lose his benefits (innerstandingisness.wordpress.com)
- Marines discharge sergeant for Facebook posts (newsday.com)