There is a story making the rounds of Marine who is being other than honorably discharged from the Corps for criticizing Obama on Facebook.
As much as I would love to criticize the Obama administration for another speech stifling overreach, I don’t think that is what is happening.
The Marine Corps decided Wednesday to discharge a sergeant who made comments critical of President Obama on Facebook.
Sgt. Gary Stein is being given an other-than-honorable discharge for violating the Pentagon’s rules limiting the speech of members of the armed forces, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego said in a statement.
Stein drew the military’s attention for a Facebook post from March in which he wrote: “Screw Obama. I will not follow all orders from him.” He was quickly alerted that he might have violated the Uniform Code of Justice with his comments and quickly revised them to say that he wouldn’t follow unlawful orders from the commander-in-chief.
Stein later defended himself on Facebook, writing that “the words that I used were tasteless and I could have articulated my point more clearly. I am man enough to admit my mistakes which I did from the beginning.”
I don’t believe that by serving in the military you forfeit all rights to commentary on policy matters. You fight for these rights, you should get to use them. But that is not what this is.
Sgt. Stein publicly stated, even if for a short time, that he would not follow the orders of his Commander-in-Chief. You can’t do that. For military discipline to hold, they cannot allow such a thing to stand. Sgt. Stein calls his statement tasteless and inarticulate. Maybe. But it is something more than that.
While I do not doubt that Obama might have a soldier discharged unfairly for exercising his free speech rights, that is not what happened here. The whole thing is unfortunate and maybe Sgt. Stein didn’t mean it. But he said it.