Sgt. Gary Stein, a member of the United States Marine Corps, was given an “other-than-honorable discharge” as punishment for anti-Obama comments he posted on the internet. After nine years of service, Stein will be removed from the Marines after a discipline panel found that his comments violated rules limiting political conduct of service members.
Stein had said earlier that the case against him was based on political, not legal reasoning. Furthermore, the “other-than honorable” discharge Stein received is usually reserved for members who violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice by using drugs, getting DUI’s or committing adultery. Thus Stein’s punishment has left some scratching their heads, since it puts criticizing Obama in the same class as these offenses.
The comments for which Stein was removed included one in which he called the President out for lying to the public. He also said he would refuse orders by the President that would lead to his deployment outside of constitutional bounds. While the First Amendment allows for freedom of speech for American citizens, the Department of Defense has strict guidelines regarding what members of the armed forces can and cannot say.
Stein insists he followed those guidelines, and as of tonight his Facebook page, The Armed Forces Tea Party, had over 30,000 likes.
Make that 30,001.