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Should a Marine Give-Up His or Her Rights Simply Because They Have Agreed to Serve Their Country?Bob Collinsworth Salem-News.com
There are a considerable number of Marines who visit Salem-News.com regularly and I would love to hear their take on this issue...
(HARRISVILLE, NH) - The title of this piece poses an interesting question . . . a question of where the issue of freedom of speech ends and willful damaging of the necessary authority structure begins.
Sgt. Gary Stein, 26, a meteorologist at Camp Pendleton, who posted the comments on the Facebook Armed Forces Tea Party page, will be discharged on “other than honorable” terms. His comments specifically stated that he would refuse to follow orders issued by President Obama. He later removed that post and verbally qualified it saying that he meant “unlawful orders”. Still, the damage had been done and there was no taking it back.
I have said it before but it is well worth repeating . . . every right granted to us by the Constitution should be sacred. All rights specifically contained therein were included for a good reason. People like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin discussed, debated, argued, dissected each of them and came to a final agreement (after a lengthy analysis) of which rights should be included and which should not.
"As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions." --James Madison, National Gazette Essay, 1792
In my opinion, trying to second guess these august individuals is a fool’s errand is usually prompted by an over-inflated ego.
Still, the need for a command structure in our armed forces and respect for the authority dictated by that command structure is obvious. Situations arise where taking time for democratic decisions will cost lives and a command decision must be made and subsequent orders must be followed or people will die.
This brings us to the current situation involving the posts made by Sgt. Gary Stein. Was it simply his failure to include a qualification of which orders he would follow and which he would not that resulted in his ultimate “less than honorable” discharge? We will probably never know for sure any more than we will know if he really meant that he would refuse to follow only “unlawful” orders. Could it be that it is a situation where excess power prevails to the point that respect for individual rights becomes non-existent? I don’t know if anyone could possibly make an accurate determination at this point.
Sgt. Stein, an Iraq veteran, has been outspoken with his political views for some time now. He has been spoken with on more than one occasion during his nearly nine year career in the Marine Corps for similar remarks. It appears that he may have been confused about where his rights as a U.S. citizen end because he agreed to serve his country as a U.S. Marine. It has been noted that he intended to re-enlist at the end of this tour of duty.
Maybe it would be helpful to examine Sgt. Stein’s complete record . . . one built over the past nine years (some of which was spent in a war zone). Along with his record, we should examine the record established by the current Administration. Have they shown respect for the individual rights guaranteed and protected by the Constitution? Has this Administration exhibited any of the traits that Sgt. Stein has accused them of having? I.e. Is there any truth in his numerous posts?
To be honest, I can’t make a call on this issue. I can see both sides of the issue pretty clearly but I simply cannot read minds and that is what I believe it would take to know the truth. Still, should putting on a uniform take away the rights granted to a U.S. citizen by the Constitution?
There are a considerable number of Marines who visit Salem-News.com regularly and I would love to hear their take on this issue... if only to help develop a firm opinion of my own. How about it gentlemen? Would any Marines who are no longer on active duty care to comment and give their opinions?
Writer Robert Collinsworth is an American who isn't hesitant to talk about the good side of his country, and that is a welcome thing in this day and age. Salem-News.com admittedly, is very critical of both American politics, as well as those of other nations that we perceive is being wrong in their motives and actions. At the same time, within these structures we criticize, are many outstanding people who make each day a better place for all those around them. They embody and personify the American spirit that is sometimes fleeting, but always present. <
These are some of the things Robert takes into account when writing commentary that is designed reach people, to "get them thinking" in his words, and indeed it does. Salem-News.com's goal is for all people to be on the same page, we appreciate Bob's more conservative approach toward that same goal."
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