April 25, 2012
The U.S. Marine Corps has decided to discharge a sergeant for criticizing President Barack Obama on Facebook.
The Corps said Wednesday that Sgt. Gary Stein will be given an other-than-honorable discharge for violating Pentagon policy limiting speech of service members.
(Associated Press, MSNBC.com)
This isn’t really “news.” We should all know by now that if you make public statements against your employer, you will face consequences.
This is also pretty common knowledge for anyone who joins the military. You can criticize the government and the President all you want in private with family members, but once you do it in public you’re gonna face consequences like this. And Facebook, like it or not, is public.
Now, whether or not doing the same thing while off duty with fellow Marines who agree with you should count as in public (which it can), that’s something people can reasonably debate. Point is, don’t be dumb and do it on Facebook
Yeah, the Sergeant was in the wrong in every single way.
I know a lot of people like to overlook this fact, but the President IS the Commander in Chief. He is at the head of the military, it’s his responsibility, that’s sort of his most important dealio.
Criticizing him is not, and should not be treated any differently, than criticizing the Officers in your chain of command. It is an incredible disrespect to the military at large, and you can’t have NCOs, the very bedrock of the Corps, going around making a muck of it.
And, specifically, him saying “As an active Marine I say, ‘Screw Obama’ and I will not follow orders from him.” is pretty fucking stupid.
I think there is a big difference between dereliction of duty (or implied future dereliction by saying I will not follow a commanding officers orders) and simple critizing of the president, vs critizing other officers. The president is a special case where a public official, has direct military ordering capacity. An official with an agenda, with decision making and policy enforcing in non-military matters, such as economic, medical, social policies etc. When someone critisizes a 2 star general, it is either for military policy, or personal attacks. When someone criticizes the president, it is on a range of things. Fundementally, simply being enlisted should not remove your first amendment rights to participate in political discourse, public or not. When done in uniform, sure, limit he hell out of it, when certain things or topics, maybe, but flat out preventing someone in the forces from saying “I disagree with the president’s/congress’s policies” is tantamount to taking a piss on the constitution and everything this country should stand for