09 December 2013

Stop Bashing Your Chain of Command on Social Media...NOW | RallyPoint.com

Inserting partisan politics into our military is dangerous.

We are posting this past story to emphasize again that all of us who are still Service Members of the United States need to be mindful of what we are saying on the internet.

This below article on CNN, like any media outlet, takes a biased position.  Read about the story on a different outlet and you'll get a differently biases take on it.  That's life, and we know how that works since we all have common sense.

Of course, this particular situation pertains to our Commander-in-Chief, who we should all remember is on our chain of command.  It's not up to you to make your political positions known in places where your subordinates can be directly influence by them.

We are urging everyone to just be mindful of what you are writing, and where.  We don't want anyone in the military -- regardless of political party, etc. -- to cause shame and controversy to themselves, their unit, and our profession.

NOTE: The views expressed in this article below are not those of RallyPoint and do not represent our opinion on politics (we don't give political opinions as a company) or the story being analyzed.

Thanks in advance, and best wishes this holiday.

-- The RallyPoint.com team


(CNN) -- What would happen if you posted derogatory comments about your boss on a Facebook page that you knew would be read by your co-workers?

How would your boss react if in those Facebook posts you called him or her a "coward," a "domestic enemy," and boasted that you wouldn't be following the boss' instructions in the future?

And what if your boss is the president of the United States and you are a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps?

That's essentially the case of Sgt. Gary Stein, a nine-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, who is on the verge of being discharged from the military for making comments on Facebook about his boss: the commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama.

Stein posted comments on both his personal Facebook page and on The Armed Forces Tea Party Facebook page he created, mocking the president. On those pages he referred to President Obama as a "domestic enemy," a coward, and even superimposed President Obama's face on the poster for the movie "Jackass."

But the comment that really drew the ire of Marine Corps brass was this post from Stein:"As an Active Duty Marine I say 'Screw Obama' and I will not follow all orders from him ... has [sic] for saluting Obama as commander-in-chief ... I will not!"

It's pretty clear that Stein will not be adding President Obama as a friend on Facebook any time soon.
The U.S. military has alleged that Stein's postings violated military regulations prohibiting partisan political statements while in active service in the military. Consequently, Stein was charged with conduct "prejudicial to good order and discipline."

But Stein doesn't see it that way. Stein appeared earlier this week on CNN's "Starting Point" arguing that the Facebook posts were not his views as a U.S. Marine, but, "...my personal opinion as Gary Stein."

Members of the military are free to give their personal opinions about political candidates, but Stein's Facebook post begins: "As an Active Duty Marine I say 'Screw Obama...' " This clearly gives the appearance that Stein is speaking as a member of the Marine Corps.

Secondly, the Marine Corps motto is the Latin phrase "Semper Fi," which means "always faithful." The motto isn't "faithful only nine to five." Every Marine I have ever met has made it clear that being a U.S. Marine is a 24-hour a day job.

Bottom line: Stein, upon enlisting, agreed to follow the rules of the U.S. Military, which contain express regulations prohibiting certain partisan political speech. As a result of his apparent violations of these regulations, a military panel ruled last week three to zero to discharge Stein from the military.

In normal times, this case would have likely received little media coverage. But these are not normal times. Instead, we live in a grotesquely partisan era.

Consequently, three Republican congressmen publicly came to Stein's defense: Reps. Allen West, Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter. Hunter even sent a personal letter to the Marine Corps in which he stated in part: "I urge the Marine Corps to withdraw the discharge proceedings and allow Sgt Stein to complete his enlistment."

West, a former U.S. Army officer, issued a statement paradoxically conceding that Stein should face some form of discipline -- although less than discharge -- but then in essence pointed his finger at President Obama as the cause for Stein's conduct: "If America had leadership that gained the respect of our military, instead of simply using them as stage props for speeches, this atmosphere would not exist."

Adding to the growing partisanship of this case is that the lawyer now representing Stein -- Gary Kreep -- was one of the lead organizers of the birther movement, which contended falsely that President Obama was not born in America and, thus, not legitimately the president. Kreep even created a 28-minute infomercial on the birther issue in which he hawked "Got a Birth Certificate" bumper stickers for $30 each.

You have to wonder if Stein had made the comments at issue about a Republican president if these men would be offering the same support. (It's a rhetorical question: We all know the answer.)

Inserting partisan politics into our military is dangerous. Our nation's military cannot be divided into political factions where loyalty is based on whether service members agree with the political views of the commander-in-chief.

As the U.S. Supreme Court noted when upholding restrictions on partisan politics in the military: We live under "...the American constitutional tradition of a politically neutral military establishment under civilian control."

There should be zero tolerance by the military for any partisan politicking by active duty service men or women. This is not only "prejudicial to good order and discipline," but could lead to the loss of lives.
We already have one dysfunctional institution marred by partisan infighting -- the U.S. Congress - we can't afford another.


  1. This idiot should be given a DHD pronto. He is an embarrassment to the Corps, and any good deeds he may have done have been completely undermined by this subversive behavior. Any American that can not show respect to the POTUS duly elected by the majority of voters, is no better than the terrorists that threaten the US.

    1. What a grossly over exaggerated comment. I might have agreed with you vaguely had you said 'Military Member', but you said specifically that any American who doesn't respect the POTUS is akin to a terrorist. You, sir, are the very epitome of a moron who doesn't understand politics or the electoral process in the slightest, not to mention the complete lack of regard to the fact that practically everyone in this fine nation has a unique set of values and opinions. If you'd take a gander at the President's approval ratings, you'd also see that the majority of Americans are dangerously close to your definition of a 'terrorist'. I hope to God you never, ever find yourself in a position of authority over someone else where your opinion regarding this actually matters over their future and/or well-being.

  2. I cannot fathom the thought process here. Unless he's chasing after Klingers 'Section 8'.
    This is but one of the 'rights' every service member voluntarily signs away upon entering service.
    Frustrating as it may be; hold your tongue.

  3. Agreed. His views do jot belong on facebook. Everyone is briefed about social media constantlt... it got annoying. But he is still wrong, but at the same time why is there a guy who has blatantly tried to destroy the constitution which we are sworn to defend still in office?