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U.S. Marine faces boot for anti-Obama Facebook posts

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SAN DIEGO (AP) –- A Marine sergeant who started a Facebook group that is openly critical of President Obama and posted comments saying he will not follow the unlawful orders of the commander in chief is facing possible dismissal from the Corps.

The Marines on Wednesday told Sgt. Gary Stein — a Camp Pendleton Marine who started the Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party — that he is in violation of Pentagon policy barring troops from political activities.

Stein, a nine-year member of the Corps, said he started the page to encourage fellow servicemembers to exercise their free speech rights. He has also criticized U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for his comments on Syria.

The Marine Corps said in a statement that Stein's commanding officer ordered a preliminary inquiry on March 8 after receiving allegations that Stein posted the political statements violating the Pentagon's directives.

"After reviewing the findings of the preliminary inquiry, the commander decided to address the allegations through administrative action," the Corps said.

"I'm completely shocked that this is happening," Stein said. "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?"

Stein said he planned to fight the charges. He had applied to extend his service, which was set to expire in a few months.

Stein said in addition to being discharged, he would have his rank reduced to lance corporal if he is proven to be in violation. He said he was removed from his job at the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Diego on Wednesday and given a desk job with no access to computers.

According to Pentagon directives, military personnel in uniform cannot sponsor a political club; participate in any TV or radio program or group discussion that advocates for or against a political party, candidate or cause; or speak at any event promoting a political movement. Commissioned officers also may not use contemptuous words against senior officials, including the defense secretary or the president.

Stein was first cautioned by his superiors at Camp Pendleton in 2010, after he launched his Facebook page and criticized Obama's health care overhaul. Stein volunteered to take down the page while he reviewed the rules at the request of his superiors.

He said he determined he was not in violation and relaunched the page. Last week, he said his superiors told him he could not use social media sites on government computers after he posted the message stating he would not follow the president's unlawful orders.

Stein said his statement was part of an online debate about NATO allowing U.S. troops to be tried for the Quran burnings in Afghanistan.

In that context, he said, he was stating that he would not follow orders from the president if those orders included detaining U.S. citizens, disarming them or doing anything else that he believes would violate their constitutional rights.

Another Marine alerted his command about the statement, Stein said.

Stein said he respects the office of the president, but he does not agree with Obama's policies. He said he is within his rights to speak up.

The Marine Corps said Stein is allowed to express his personal opinions as long as they do not give the impression he is speaking in his official capacity as a Marine.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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He's lucky he's not a commissioned officer

The penalties are far more severe and he could be facing a general court martial.

When you take the oath you swear that you "...will obey the orders of the President of the United States..."

There's nothing in there about "if I like him."

I likely agree with 99% of what this young man believes, but he is absolutely, 100% WRONG in expressing those beliefs.

It was understood by myself

It was understood by myself and everyone I served with. Once we raised our right hand and pledged our alliegence to the Commander and Cheif, and for that period of time, as promised, "You Are Not an Individual with RIGHTS". It is a hard truth, but there it is... I don't support Obama either, but that is not the principle of the issue....it's Tough, being a "MAN or your WORD" isn't it??? Time to grow up...

Yet, another casualty...

...soley due to the ignorance of posting stupid sh*t on a "social network".

Facebook has been and will be the ignorant, pitiful and unneccessary demise of many peoples careers and subsequent lifestyles. This is a country where people used to appreciate the right of privacy, now we write it out in words and pictures for everybody to see. I just don't get it...

"HEY Y'ALL!!! Look at me and all of the STUPID sh*t I can do!"

All of MY friends get phone calls, emails and personal visits...that's it!

Military and Politics

When I was in the Navy we had a saying whenever politics/elections would enter the conversation..

The military is here to defend democracy, not practice it...

Does....

Does someone give up being an AMERICAN in joining the military? This is a perfect example of Barack Obama's dark cloud of intimidation. He will call you a racist if you oppose him. I hope that when he becomes "Emperor Obama" after taking away the souls and conscience of Americans, all of you will be happy. Why is everyone afraid to tell the truth? What has happened to this country? Say what you WANT to say. Be indignant...be offended. He's a president and this is still AMERICA. Some young man or woman DIED to give you the right to defend yourself and speak your mind.

Not quite

No, they don't give up being an American. They give up being a private citizen and officially become U.S. Government property and will act, speak and do as told for as long as you are enlisted. If you don't want to follow that, don't sign up.

Military

It has been the Armed Forces policy forever that people on active duty do not become involved with politics. If you don't like who is giving the orders, get out. This was in effect 40 years ago when I was in and it has not changed. This is not a story.

It isn't anti, it is The Constitution of United States

It isn't anti, it is The Constitution of United States of America. Barack Hussein Obama II illegally jails United States soldiers for asking questions. - American Patriot Foundation http://www.safeguardourconstitution.com/

You're an idiot too. Let's

You're an idiot too. Let's comment on the story at hand please. Even though he is an idiot just like you too for going public with this ridiculous story. He took and oath now he wants to have an opinion. NOT! Kick him out, he doesn't deserve to wear that uniform anymore. Rules are rules for a reason, if you want to question them then do it properly.

Mmmmmm...that's some good

Mmmmmm...that's some good Kool-Aid!