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SAN DIEGO (CBS) — A Camp Pendleton Marine could be discharged for starting a Facebook page with critical statements about President Barack Obama.

KNX 1070’s Tom Reopelle reports Sgt. Gary Stein is facing possible dismissal from the Corps from posting comments that he would disobey any unlawful orders from the commander-in-chief.

Stein, a 9-year Marine veteran, started a Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party, which encourages “active, inactive, or retired members of the United States Armed Forces to stand with the Tea Party movement”.

The group’s information page states, “We are Not a militia. We are Not advocating or promoting the overthrow of any government whether local, state or national. We are Not advocating or promoting violence towards any organization, group or person. We are Not advocating or promoting the removal of any person from his or her elected office.”

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, according to the Associated Press.

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.

His statement regarding President Obama was part of an online debate about NATO allowing U.S. troops to be tried for the Quran burnings in Afghanistan.

He said it was in that context that he said he would refuse to 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.

Former Marine judge Gary Solis said Stein clearly violated military regulations and will likely be discharged.

“He is something of a rebel, apparently, and despite having been warned to knock it off, he continued,” said Solis. “This is not something the Marine Corps or the country can afford.”

Stein said he will fight any effort to remove him from the Marine Corps.

“I’m completely shocked that this is happening,” Stein told the Associated Press. “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 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.

Solis said that despite the free speech question, the issue ultimately boils down to preserving the chain of command.

“We can’t allow individual soldiers or Marines to be deciding for themselves what orders are constitutional or what national policies are supported by the Constitution,” he said.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (8)
  1. The Big Logic says:

    We have muslims serving in OUR armed forces, and they want to discharge this guy. “Ya say ya want a rev o lu u shun well el el el.

  2. Devon says:

    ‘“We can’t allow individual soldiers or Marines to be deciding for themselves what orders are constitutional or what national policies are supported by the Constitution,” he said.’ If that’s the case, then who decides? Because we clearly can’t trust the government to decide.

    1. TAS says:

      Look anyone who voted for Obama is not in their wright mind anyway. He is all about socialism and has strong muslin beliefs > I mean come on look at 99% of any tarriest acts done to our country < they were mostly from what now ??? Muslims. I'm not a predigest person but, Obama has not done anything about terrorism . And Obama clearly wants socialism. Why should a man who makes more money have to pay for the guy who doesn't ? This country is going further down the tubes every election it's time for Americans to wake up and figure out that there is no free ride, and you are not entitled to something because you breath. In this world you need to get off your butt and actually work for what you want. There are to many kids and people now a days that feel they are entitled to things. Well your not, get off your butt go to college and learn something and get out into the world and earn your money instead of thinking you can vote for someone to give you something for nothing. As to the marine god bless you after all it is in our constitution to have freedom of speech. I guess unless that involves speaking the truth about your president. After all I'm sure if the soldiers were really able to speak their mind we would all find out the truth about most of our so called leaders. America it's time to wake up and understand that politicians never can fulfill what they say they will do.After all they want to win an election, don't you think just maybe they will tell you what you want to hear to win?? Sure we have had some very good presidents that's a fact, but what is starting to happen now a days is unbelievable.

      1. Dan says:

        I have assume that this is a troll response. Tarriest attacks are done by predigested tarries, wright? lol.

    2. Dan says:

      The chain of command decides. You have every right to vote how you want but in the service you are considered a representative of the military and therefore are not permitted to be a public political activist while on active duty. I am a veteran, and while serving, it is important to know that the guy watching your back has put away his political ideology and just watches your back. The great strength of our military is how it brings people together from all backgrounds for one single goal. The last thing a soldier needs to worry about is political debates while he is getting shot at.

  3. Elias Wallace says:

    It’s a longstanding Constitutional position to discharge soldiers, including generals, who publicly disagree with the government. Why? Coup d’etat. The world over, it is generally the military that overthrows democracies and governments.

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