Marine's Facebook page testing military's rules
Ignites debate over freedom of speech
- Duration 5:53
- Date Mar 9, 2012
Ignites debate over freedom of speech
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Well right now a Marines FaceBook page is testing the military's rules and sparking a debate over the right to free speech for those in uniform.
In this age of global social media.
Gary Stein his is name he started a FaceBook page called armed forces Tea Party patriots.
It encourages other service members to speak their minds Stein himself declared he would not follow orders from President Obama the commander in chief.
Well later after some military discipline you might say he softened that this statement to say quote he would not follow unlawful orders.
So is he out of order.
Joining us for a fair and balanced debate to former jags Tom -- -- and Jeff King mr.
-- is also a former prosecutor.
First of all we know that our troops are fighting around the world for freedom among other things.
Do they absolutely give up their right to full freedom of speech just -- that just by joining the military.
Absolutely not John you know that the military is recognize the courts -- recognize that you surrender.
Some rights to free speech but certainly not all of them.
A soldier it as a service member has a right to make political statements to say they they like the president they don't like the president they like this governor they don't like that governor.
The key test that the military applies his.
Whether or not you're using your uniform using your service member status as a political soap box of one other words if you want to show up at a Mitt Romney rally.
There's no problem with that but don't do it wearing -- -- use your combat uniform because then you're creating the impression that you're speaking for the military.
In some sort of official capacity and that won't be tolerated.
Jeff here's essentially as I understand it what had this guy Gary Stein so upset involves the Koran burning thing.
That we have heard and read so much about he had said that if -- -- prosecuted American military personnel.
For you know accidentally burning the -- on the triggered so much mayhem over there.
That there was an an online debate about whether that was appropriate or not and he said in that context he was saying.
That he would not follow orders from the president.
If those orders involve detaining US citizens.
-- disarming them or doing anything else that he believed would violate their constitutional rights does he have a point.
Well I think he does but I don't think I can't imagine a scenario where this -- be required to detain American citizens for doing that.
What -- -- bottom line is what it what he was told to throw some of his fellow Marines in the brig for accidentally or inadvertently or -- -- burning -- office.
But if he was given an order by -- anyone at his commanding officers and that order was deemed to be lawful he would have to follow that order or face the consequences.
Let's have a lot of simple enough let's take a look at after the of them the oath of that well -- -- them all military personnel have taken.
They say -- State the name do solemnly swear or affirm that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States.
Against all enemies foreign and domestic that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.
The Nevada I -- and that I will Obey the orders of the president of the United States.
And the orders of the officers appointed over me according to regulations in the uniform code of military justice so help me god now -- one of the things Tom that.
You know should figure in here on this FaceBook page where yeah.
You -- that that got them the Marines so excited.
He's not even wearing a marine uniform in the photo he's just wearing his civilian clothes he does state though.
That he's an active duty marine does that make a difference.
Look at me you can state the fact that you're an active duty marine -- active duty service memorably you you know you can't say that I'm speaking for the military to create that impression that he can't.
He can't change the fact that he's in the military -- necessarily have to disguise that -- can't use it as a soapbox but John.
Going back to that oath that you just flashed up on the screen.
You should really that somebody should -- certain there or orders implicitly inserted did so with the law says that it is an obligation to file.
Follow legal orders in this goes all the way back to -- nor in Nuremberg trials called the Nuremberg.
Not only does the service -- have an -- salute right not to follow illegal orders.
He has a legal obligation.
Not to file legal orders -- that was the defense of all the all the that the Nazis in Nuremberg they -- a look at.
You know this was wrong but I was just following orders -- to Vietnam.
Lieutenant William Calley and alive in the Lai massacre that little we're just following orders to kill everything in sight all right can't do that -- it's illegal lord you -- to disavow it.
All right so Jeffrey I guess the question then becomes who gets to decide whether you know leave the ordered pick up American troops for instance whether that's legal -- not.
Well look I'm forcing this happens all the time in the Marines are forced to the rest of the Marines to detain -- the Marines.
If it is.
Consider that they have somehow violated the law of war or violated rules of engagement I mean that happens all the time.
But it's up to that individual marine to make a moral decision -- whether or not that's a lawful order.
And sometimes that is actually fought out in court -- especially in -- climate these days where there was an engagement are so gray but it.
I mean when I heard him on the news talk about my -- and -- Ernie and all of those things and that.
Is completely separate really I think from what's happening now went with the FaceBook page -- the free speech issue we will get there is this common perception.
We're gonna lose its common perception.
We're gonna to wrap it up there I'm sorry -- but we're gonna continue to watch this case certainly thank you both Jeffrey Caine Tom can I stuff.