I didn’t want to have to cover Marine Sgt. Gary Stein, but because it’s popping up on conservative blogs I will. Long story short: Sgt. Stein isn’t a fan of President Obama. He made comments on his personal Facebook page, titled ‘Armed Forces Tea Party,’ over the past few years regarding not following orders (later amended to read that he wouldn’t follow “unlawful orders”) and others about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare). And so, the following has transpired:
The Marine Corps has initiated disciplinary action against a Marine sergeant for comments he posted on his “Armed Forces Tea Party” Facebook page criticizing President Barack Obama, a spokesman said on Thursday.
Sergeant Gary Stein, 26, a weather forecaster assigned to Camp Pendleton near San Diego, cast the Marines’ reaction to his comments as an infringement on his freedom of speech and defended his right to express personal political opinions when he is off-duty and out of uniform.
Sergeant Stein knows that the Uniform Code of Military Justice covers social media and a soldier’s behavior in public, specifically Articles 88, 89, 91, 133 and 134. He also knows that when your Facebook page is titled “Armed Forces Tea Party” that it is a “no go” at the social media station. The guy is “chewed up” as the phrase goes, and I say that knowing we’d probably vote for the same candidate on election day. I partly attribute Sgt. Stein’s lack of military manner to the fact that he isn’t in a line unit. What else do you expect from a military weatherman? But I digress…
The knee-jerk reaction by some conservatives will be to try and defend this guy simply because he takes pot shots at Barack Obama—the Commander in Chief—on his Facebook page, and considers himself a member of the Tea Party. If the evidence shows that Sgt. Stein is in violation of the UCMJ, than conservatives should shut their mouths and let it do its job. I’ve written about this before. It’s worked for well over 50 years, and will continue to do so.
One of the things the left and the right does is to try and shield their military spokesmen from criticism by citing the person’s service at some point during an argument. Doing that is not only annoying—it’s wrong. That’s what race hustlers do with skin color, and that’s what liberal feminists do with gender. Trying to inoculate soldiers from the slings and arrows of intellectual combat like liberals do for their stable of protected groups is never a good idea. Soldiers needed to be protected from unfair attacks and characterizations, and that’s it.
Once someone joins the military the whole game changes. Once you put on a uniform you must comport yourself in a radical new way, and you must abide by the UCMJ. Case closed. A soldier must keep his military manner at all times, and if he doesn’t like it he doesn’t need to reenlist. There are plenty of soldiers who need defending out there, and it isn’t wise to circle the wagons too fast on a guy who seems to have knowingly caused trouble with his chain of command.