Military Board Says Marine Who Criticized Obama On Facebook Should Be Dismissed | Fox News


CAMP PENDLETON, California – A Marine who criticized President Barack Obama on his Facebook page has committed misconduct and should be dismissed, a military board recommended late Thursday.

The Marine Corps administrative board made the decision after a daylong hearing at Camp Pendleton for Sgt. Gary Stein.

The board also recommended that Stein be given an other-then-honorable discharge. That would mean Stein would lose his benefits and would not be allowed on any military base.

via Military Board Says Marine Who Criticized Obama On Facebook Should Be Dismissed | Fox News.

Military members have certain restrictions placed on their exercise of free speech. Not as much as a civilian might commonly think, but certain real restrictions nonetheless.

SGT Stein ignored- or at best, danced along the edges of- those restrictions. Should he have been dismissed from the service for that? Dunno. It’s really immaterial. But when he ignored the chain of commands directives to cease and desist, he went from a speech issue to a matter of good order and discipline. You can’t exactly tell the chain of command to pound sand and not expect repercussions.

As others have said in various foru, he had to make a choice between being a Marine or mouthing off about the President on Facebook. He made his choice, he can live with the consequences.  It’s not like it was a big secret what would happen to him.

Having said all that, I’m a little surprised that the board would recommend a discharge under Other Than Honorable conditions, which is usually the result of either Article 15 or court martial proceedings.  A General Dishcarge under Honorable Conditions for the convenience of the government would have been my choice.

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Military Board Says Marine Who Criticized Obama On Facebook Should Be Dismissed | Fox News

  1. LT Rusty

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: play stupid games, win stupid prizes. No matter how much I disliked Clinton or Bush, I kept my mouth f*cking SHUT about them when I wore a uniform.

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  2. UltimaRatioRegis

    This is much bigger than “stupid games”.

    The USMC policy on Social Media is wildly vague. It lists “offensive” as a forbidden category. I would like to see that tested as a lawful order. Doubt it passes muster. Which is precisely Defense Counsel’s point. Those who were offended by repeal of DADT, and by the statements all over FB before the repeal was passed, could count on no such interpretation. Sgt Stein clearly posted the required disclaimer of not representing the USMC or DoD.

    Regarding what the Marine’s command warned him about, making arbitrary and capricious interpretations of the above-referenced MARADMIN (185/10) and DoD Instruction 1344.10 may not constitute a lawful order, either. It is rumored that this Marine requested to know what lawful order he was breaking, and was not given a real answer, or was given an answer that did not pass the smell test. He certainly wasn’t in violation of 1344.10, unless the “publication” clause under 4.2 is going to be stretched to cover FB postings. Which is highly improbable and has ramifications that DoD wants no part of.

    As for a possible accusation of making partisan political statements in uniform, McChrystal faced no disciplinary action for his statements regarding who he voted for and supported in 2008, statements he made in uniform as a part of executing the duties of his office. If this Marine Sgt is punished, then General McChrystal should be immediately recalled to ACDU and face a General Court Martial, as his statements ARE in clear violation of DoD guidance contained in 1344.10.

    No, the case of Sgt Stein is a disturbing one. Having First Amendment rights, even in uniform, restricted by the word “offensive”, without a clear set of parameters other than “we’ll tell you when it is offensive” is exceedingly dangerous precedent. The ACLU is actually involved with this, and will pursue legal action on behalf of Sgt Stein.

    Was it WISE for Sgt Stein to persist? Perhaps not. But that is a long, long way from the point.

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    • I’m not going to respond directly, but I would like our civilian readers to take note of just how much concern servicemembers show for the rights of the accused, and the 1st Amendment rights of our troops.

      Not all questions are easy ones, but a lot of people put forth great effort to ensure equitable answers are achieved.

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  3. UltimaRatioRegis

    Be advised, the MARADMIN in question is 365/10, dtd 292322Z JUN 10. My error, above.

    The sentence in question is this: “THIS INCLUDES POSTING ANY DEFAMATORY, LIBELOUS, ABUSIVE, THREATENING, RACIALLY OR ETHNICALLY HATEFUL OR OTHERWISE OFFENSIVE OR ILLEGAL CONTENT. ”

    Sgt Stein’s posts could not be construed as engaging in “defamatory, libelous, abusive, threatening, or racially or ethnically hateful” language, most of which carries fairly clear legal parameters. Nor could they be construed as “illegal content”, (ie. pornography)

    That simply leaves “offensive”. Offensive to whom? To his CO? The Marine Corps? The Federal Government? An elected official?
    Such are not the definitions by which individual rights under the First Amendment are restricted.

    A claim that Sgt Stein’s comments on his FB page was “prejudicial to good order and discipline” should, as in most such cases of off-duty activity not specifically prohibited by the UCMJ, have to be shown credibly to do so. That would seem a tall order. Nowhere in Sgt Stein’s record have his political opinions been noted to have affected his performance of duty as a Marine NCO, nor adversely affected the morale of his unit.

    Once again, I don’t condone Sgt Stein’s actions, nor think they particularly prudent. But that isn’t the point. Or maybe it is. Simply not liking his actions don’t make them illegal, especially with the dubious nature of the “lawful orders” invoked to justify Sgt Stein’s separation.

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    • I have the gut feeling that this is a political thing, with the Admin board being little more than a fig leaf to cover it. A discharge under dishonorable conditions is wildly unwarranted unless he was given a specific order to cease his postings, and I would expect such to be in writing. The man is simply being used as an example.

      This is as bad a time to be in as it was during Carter’s incompetency. Obama, however, is doing far more damage to the services than Carter could ever have dreamed of doing.

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  5. UltimaRatioRegis

    QM, even if given a specific order in writing to cease, the order still has to be lawful. Which is extremely doubtful in any case.

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