Quoted: the Marine discharged over anti-Obama Facebook post

“I love the Marine Corps, I love my job. I wish it wouldn’t have gone this way. I’m having a hard time seeing how 15 words on Facebook could have ruined my nine-year career.”

Gary Stein, the San Diego-based Marine sergeant who’s being discharged over a Facebook post about President Obama. The post — which actually contained more than 15 words — reportedly read, in part: “As an active duty Marine, I say ‘Screw Obama’ and I will not follow all orders from him. … Obama is the economic enemy. He is the religious enemy … He is the ‘fundamentally change’ America enemy … He IS the Domestic Enemy.” Stein, 26, now says he would do things differently. “If he was in front of me right now, I would salute him, say, ‘Yes, Mr. President, No, Mr. President,’ and when I walked away, I would still disagree with his policies. But those are two separate things,” he told MSNBC.com, which also writes that Stein had been warned by the Marines before when in 2010 he started a Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party. The ACLU reportedly defended his free-speech rights at the time, and that will be the case again this time as lawyers vow to work for his reinstatement. “I don’t believe Sgt. Stein did anything other than engage in political speech,” said David Loy of the ACLU Wednesday after the announcement that Stein was being discharged because his comments supposedly violated military law. “I think 99 percent of the soldiers and Marines currently on duty understand the duties of supporting the chain of command and understand their rights of free speech are limited,” Tom Umberg, a former Army colonel and military prosecutor, told the Associated Press.


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  • greybeard

    Forget the military angle. Would corporate management ever put up with that attitude in their company? Another job opening.

  • Look at it this way. If Sgt. Stein got a group of Marines together in the mess hall after lunch and expressed ideas that included derogatory comments about the Commander in Chief, the Shore Patrol would haul him off in handcuffs.

  • pierre marcar

    If you join the army, it’s all about taking orders. Full stop.

    If one of the soldiers under Sgt Stein’s command had said the same during the previous president’s time, he would be first to condemn the soldier’s words.

    What we don’t know is whether this sergeant wrote on Facebook because he was drunk, fundamentally politicised, racist or had simply forgotten his job description. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.

  • Conrad

    Just one more person who is not thinking at Facebook. You would never say anything negative about your employer, current or past, that may affect your employment status should expect the actions that came his way. It is a sorry thing to see a 9 year Marine lose his position. This is not a free speech issue, this is just a common sense issue.

  • verbal

    I’m guessing the best outcome for him would be getting his discharge upgraded to a “General Discharge”.

  • Bryan Harrison

    “I’m having a hard time seeing how 15 words on Facebook could have ruined my nine-year career.”

    That’s easy, Sergeant Stein. Just ask any of the tens of thousands of honorable LGBT service members who’ve suffered far more simply for existing.

    Of course, given his politics, Stein likely believes that LGBT service members deserve what they until quite recently got. Nonetheless, it would be a fine gesture if Obama were to public suggest the man’s reinstatement.

    After all, if being a loud-mouthed asshole were appropriate grounds for dismissal, we would have no military to speak of.

  • Team

    Careful Bryan those loud mouth assholes you refer to are the reason you get to sleep in your cozy bed each night not worrying about potential invaders. Of course you’d rather wear rose colored glasses and think everyone is going to have a coke and sing in harmony together across the world.

    As for Stein, he deserves to be discharged. The military code of conduct must be upheld and he should understand what he can or cannot say about his Commander and Chief, no matter what you think of him personally. It’s not like the last two before this one were any better.


    What strikes me is – what if someone wrote that instead of him? estranged wife who hacked his computer at his house while he was sleeping, possible.
    yet he obviously was trying to start something… something that is happening all around us in the social age.

    truth be told the Facebook era will end soon and private social networks will begin to emerge as different hangouts for different purposes in cyberspace. I have seen facebook ruin too many lives based on not using common judgement. what once was a place to get in contact with far away loved ones and old class mates is becoming the most dangerous place to live.

  • sd

    @JOHN DOE, the stupid will always find a way to screw things up. Not to be a Facebook defender (I think they play pretty fast and loose with privacy), but there are plenty of other sites where people get together and publicize things they probably should have re-thought in the first place.

    And there is the constant cross-pollination of people in one private network who belong to another one where they can say, “Hey, this Marine over on this other forum I’m on said Obama is a *#!@%”.

    I can almost hear some similar individual saying, sometime in the future, “I’m having a hard time seeing how a little time in the back seat of my car could result in a baby,” or “I’m having a hard time seeing how 15 words about Vicki at work could have gotten me fired for harrassment.”