Marine who criticized Obama seeks shelter under the First Amendment

See Washington Post. My military legal experience is limited. But, if there’s one thing I learned when I was in the Army — there’s no First Amendment on base.

That said, it seems perverse that a guy can’t engage in political speech just because he is in the military.

UPDATE: Eric Mayer, who knows from this stuff, tells me that this is the best treatment of the story he’s seen so far.

10 Responses to Marine who criticized Obama seeks shelter under the First Amendment

  1. dan says:

    it may seem perverse, but it appears to be based on a lot of law.
    pretty much anything falls under the ‘group mission’ and thus does not have to balance the interests of the parties or establish a connection between the act and harm.

  2. blueollie says:

    Think of it this way: if you work for someone, you can blast them in your speech…and you’d get fired.

    Like it or not, the POTUS is the commander in chief and blasting him in public is like blasting your commanding officer.

    Yes, when I served in the Navy, Ronald Reagan was president and I had to keep my “public” mouth shut.

  3. Kasey says:

    I don’t really see it as him being disciplined because he made political statements and is in the military, I see it more as he is in the military and attempted to organize other service-members for the purpose of criticizing their commander-in-chief.

    • vinnie every says:

      In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order.

  4. jikamens says:

    IANAL, but my understanding jives with that of the other commenters, and I really don’t have a problem with the government telling active service members that they aren’t allowed to publicly criticize the command structure (which includes POTUS), let alone attempt to organize other service members to do it.

    This guy is essentially engaging in civil disobedience, which is his right, but one of the rules of civil disobedience is that you have to be willing to take your licks for it, which this guy apparently isn’t willing to do.

  5. The question is, can we envision a different type of military that allows service members to voice political views and perhaps even opt out of missions they disagree with — even if they aren’t opposed to all war under all circumstances?

    A lot of the military people I knew were vehemently against going into Iraq, but they had to keep quiet publicly. Military personnel are the most knowledgeable people about a lot of topics. Purposefully keeping them out of the public discourse doesn’t seem to be in America’s best interest.

    For that matter, many of the people who are unwilling to participate in a military that removes their right to a political opinion might have made good military leaders.

  6. Christoph says:

    Obama is his (incompetent) CIC. I think he should have shut the fuck up. I’m glad he didn’t. I’m conflicted. He should be charged and convicted. Sigh.

    You can’t do that to your CIC.

  7. Christoph says:

    The question is, can we envision a different type of military that allows service members to voice political views and perhaps even opt out of missions they disagree with — even if they aren’t opposed to all war under all circumstances?

    No. That’s even worse than the French units that used to vote before going to battle. It’s fucking daft.

    You can do all that, if you don’t mind inculcating a culture of military defeats, and suffering all the civvy-side effects that entails.

    You know, loss of freedom, liberties, daughters’ hymens to foreign soldiers — that sort of thing

  8. It is one thing to discharge him, but another to give him an “other than honorable discharge.”

    • Christoph says:

      I think he deserved it.

      The point of not having military members politicking is to protect the democracy from the military. It’s an important tradition in western nations and should be upheld.

      They can still vote.

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