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Poll: Should Members of Military Be Free to Publicly Rap Civilian Leaders?

"Tea Party Marine" case is throwing a spotlight on different rules for service members.

The U.S. military has limited the free speech of troops since the Civil War, including not being allowed to criticize civilian leaders like the president.  So it's no wonder that Marine Sgt. Gary Stein is facing discharge for bashing Barack Obama on his Tea Party Facebook page. Should these First Amendment restrictions apply in this era of social media?

Batman April 07, 2012 at 07:19 AM
And the cops and firemen are better paid too.
David B Secor April 07, 2012 at 03:12 PM
During active duty in the Vietnam War, I was opposed to both LBJ and Dick Nixon as much as Stein is against Obama. Back home, there was tremendous opposition to the war in '68. While we did not have access to social media like we do today, the morale officers were paying attention. Near my cot were large wooden initials in red and black - SDS - for San Diego State. They thought the initials stood for "Students for a Democratic Society," a stateside anti-war organization, and I was questioned about political activity. After explanation, they laughed and let it go. No one in my unit ever tried to openly undermine morale, professionalism or discipline. Unit cohesiveness and focus on the mission meant success and survival. Personal feelings toward the Commander-in-Chief were often not a secret, but were never used as a reason to not follow orders. Soldiers always gripe, especially when out in the boondocks, but Stein's comments and pattern of action are not just gripes. He clearly violated the UCMJ, as the Marine Board found. Like Vietnam Veterans against the War, he must be out of the service (key word "veteran") to enjoy the 1st Amendment Rights of civilians. You can't have it both ways. Once out of the Marines, Stein will have the opportunity to express his opinions in public 24/7. I encourage him to do so.
Lau Thomas April 07, 2012 at 09:19 PM
1) If you speak out against your employer in a damaging way, they will usually fire you. 2) They guy knew the rules when he signed up. Change the rules first & then you can speak out without worry. Don't ignore them & then come up with excuses. 3) Isn't being in the military all about following their rules? Why is this an exception just because he feels it is?
Lau Thomas April 07, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Yes, we all owe the Marines and anyone in the military a LOT. I don't think anyone posting here is picking on the Marines; they are opposing the actions of the Sgt. Stein.
Mike Hayward April 08, 2012 at 04:04 PM
i never hear the military guys talk bad about the president, but if you follow them around to some bar at 2am you might hear something .leave the military alone obama, you socialist kenyan.! THESE GUYS ARE FIGHTING A WAR RIGHT NOW! my commander in chief was the great ronald reagan, one of our best presidents, i served in the 80's , not wartime like these guys today, i feel sorry for the troops having such a shitty guy at the top!!!!!

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