Gary Stein is not a fan of Barack Obama. In fact, so strong is Stein’s dislike of the President, he started an openly critical anti-Obama Facebook page.
All of which is perfectly permissible, but there’s one snag: Stein is a serving Marine sergeant, and could now face the sack for saying he will not follow the “unlawful orders” of the commander-in-chief.
The Marines told Sgt. Stein on Wednesday that he faces possible dismissal from the Corps, for being in violation of Pentagon policy barring troops from political activities. His offending Facebook page, called ‘Armed Forces Tea Party,’ has since been removed.
Pentagon-issued regulations dictate that no military personnel in uniform can sponsor a political club, advocate on TV or radio for or against a political party, candidate or cause, or speak at any event promoting a political movement. Using contemptuous words against senior officials, including the President, is also a no-no for commissioned officers.
Stein, who has been in the Corps for nine years, argues he started the page to encourage the free speech rights of fellow service members, but Stein’s commanding officer felt differently. A Marines statement released after a preliminary inquiry on March 8 read:
“After reviewing the findings of the preliminary inquiry, the commander decided to address the allegations through administrative action.”
Stein was subsequently removed from his job at the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Diego on Wednesday, and asked to perform a desk job with no access to computers. If he’s found guilty of the charges against him, he would be discharged and have his rank reduced to lance corporal.
Stein plans to fight the charges he’s facing, and argues that his actions were perfectly in line with the United States Oath of Allegiance:
“I’m completely shocked that this is happening. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve only stated what our oath states that I will defend the constitution and that I will not follow unlawful orders. If that’s a crime, what is America coming to?”
Do you think Sgt. Gary Stein should face disciplinary measures for his alleged actions?