A Marine sergeant who created the “Armed Forces Tea Party” Facebook page is facing possible dismissal from the U.S. Marine Corps after posting pictures and comments criticising the president, as reported by AP.
UPDATE: Tea Party Marine Given Other-Than-Honorable Discharge >
Sgt. Gary Stein, a nine-year member of the Corps, was told Wednesday that he violated Pentagon policy barring troops from political activities.
Stein started the page “to allow active, inactive, or retired members of the United States Armed Forces to stand with the Tea Party movement.”
The USMC previously allowed Stein to express his opinions as long as he did not give the impression of speaking in his official capacity as a Marine.
In a statement posted this morning, Stein wrote:
I have never spoken on behalf of the Marine Corps or in uniform. I have stayed within guidelines DOD Directive 1344.10 and made sure to. If I am guilty of anything it would be that I am American, a freedom loving Conservative, hell bent on defending the constitution and preserving Americas greatness.
Stein said the allegedly offending statement came during an online debate about NATO allowing U.S. troops to be tried for the Quran burnings in Afghanistan, in which he said 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.
Stein will not be immediately discharged and will have a hearing in which the USMC will have to prove that he did something wrong, according to the page.
Take a look at some of the photos from the page and decide for yourself if he ever crossed the line between free speech and political endorsement in an official capacity.
Stein said he respects the office of the president but does not agree with Obama's policies, and that he is within his rights to speak up
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