We’ve written previously about USMC Sgt. Gary Stein and his trouble with the Corps in terms of free speech. It seems he is bound and determined to see how far he can take this. From the OC Register:
A Camp Pendleton Marine facing dismissal for running a Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party that criticizes the Obama administration is still speaking out but has been getting little support from military law experts and free speech advocates who say he may have crossed the line.
Sgt. Gary Stein planned to speak at a Tea Party meeting in San Diego County on Thursday, a day after the Marine Corps notified him that it is moving to dismiss him for violating the Pentagon’s policy barring troops from engaging in political activities.
The military has had a policy since the Civil War limiting the free speech of service members, including criticizing the commander in chief.
David Loy, of the American Civil Liberties Union in San Diego County, said he has not followed Stein’s case closely, but that based on what he has seen in the media he thinks there may be a legitimate concern on the part of the Corps about Stein appearing to be speaking as a member of the armed forces because of his Facebook page’s name.
“The military has a very strong interest and appropriately so to remaining neutral,” he said. “The last thing we want is our military taking sides on political issues.”
Former Navy officer David Glazier, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, agreed.
“He’s really rubbing the government’s nose in it,” he said. “It’s really hard to have sympathy for him.”
Plenty of others have tried going this route before. They don’t get very far. In fact, most of the people the Register talked to said that the Corps has gone very easy on Sgt. Stein up until now. But he seems hellbent to try to push the issue.
Here’s a tip, Sgt., not that you asked – if the ACLU thinks you’ve stepped over the free speech line, you might want to listen. When folks who will fight for the right supremacists to assemble and speak – because the organization supports free speech – when they won’t back you, you’re on the wrong side of the fight.
As the Register notes, this has been a regulation for the armed forces since the Civil War. Does he really think he has a new argument to make for it. As a commenter noted on another post, USMC can also mean U Signed the Motherf’in Contract. Stein is a recruiter. He knows the regs, and he knows them well. And he signed to extend his service. He knows the rules, and he chooses to flaunt them. If he continues, he’ll be lucky if all they do is demote him and discharge him. Insubordination is not a term tossed about lightly in the armed forces. And if Sgt. Stein wants to wear that term like a badge of honor, I have a hunch the USMC will be glad to oblige.