Friday, March 9, 2012

Marine's Facebook page tests military rules

Found this while slogging through the news sites:

"SAN DIEGO (AP) — Marine Sgt. Gary Stein first started a Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots to encourage service members to exercise their free speech rights. Then he declared that he wouldn't follow orders from the commander in chief, President Barack Obama.
While Stein softened his statement to say he wouldn't follow "unlawful orders," military observers say he may have gone too far.
The Marine Corps is now looking into whether he violated the military's rules prohibiting political statements by those in uniform and broke its guidelines on what troops can and cannot say on social media. Stein said his views are constitutionally protected.
While troops have always expressed their views in private, Stein's case highlights the potential for their opinions to go global as tech-savvy service members post personal details, videos and pictures that can hurt the military's image at home and abroad." You can read the rest here.

I know what my views are on this but I am curious to see what my audience thinks. Please feel free to sound off below.


  1. mmasse, buddy...hmmm....yikes. i seem to have developed a split personality while reading this post. because i have 2 very different responses to it. my first response, as a military vet, is that while in active service, we (in the CF) are not to post any political statements on our blogs, web, facebook, etc., nor dis our government. we are not to give statements to the media unless that is part of our official, military responsibilities. and we know that and are reminded of it regularly.

    however, with the growing popularity of groups like Oathkeepers - military members are starting to speak up and out. which i think is a very good thing! while serving in the military, i would have never followed "unlawful" orders. whereas, maybe in the past, many would for fear of being dishonourably discharged (think Kyle Brown).

    i truly think that western militaries must come up with a solution to this problem as many active service members believe in their constitutional rights whereas the militaries believe that we sign those rights away when we put our names on the dotted line. i think that this is a growing problem in most western militaries and something that needs to be addressed ASAP.

    a very thought-provoking post, my friend, and i hope that my meaning has come through my badly worded comment!

    your friend,

    1. I had a similar reaction to reading this article as well. Your meaning was very clear and precise. Thanks for visiting.

    2. thanks my friend...i really appreciate it!

  2. The thing is that the military is very specific about what the troops can and cannot do with social media and their speech. There is actually a lot of leniency (from what I've read and seen) as long as they don't bring their capacity or rank as a member of the armed forces into the equation. I think that's where this guy may have crossed a line. There are a lot of things about getting into the military that are well known and this is one. That said, I would expect any soldier to disobey an illegal order and run it up the chain of command. If they are serious about it (and they should be) they will see that there are a lot of checks and balances way above their pay-grade to deal with illegal and unconstitutional orders up to and including the POTUS.

    1. It's funny when I was in this was never much an issue for us. The technology was never there to support this globalization of views. We still had the standing rule of practicing politics in our uniforms but that was it. That being said, however, different commands handle the illegal orders issues differently, especially in a warzone depending on the chain of command involved. But I understand what you are saying. Thanks for dropping by!