Gary Stein, the former Marine sergeant who received an other-than-honorable discharge after posting derogatory material about President Barack Obama on a Facebook page, isn't recoiling despite some admitted fears following his punishment.
In a recent interview with CBS, Stein said the controversy had left him concerned for his wife, his children and himself.
"Of course we are," he responded when asked if he was scared. "I think anybody'd be scared in this position."
Stein vaulted into the spotlight this year when his Armed Forces Tea Party Facebook page was uncovered. The page was designed as an outlet for service members to express their conservative ideologies, but according to reports, it frequently emerged as a forum for anti-Obama views seen as problematic by military officials.
The Associated Press relays some background on the content of the page:
The government submitted screen grabs of Stein's postings on one Facebook page he created called Armed Forces Tea Party, which the prosecutor said included the image of Obama on the "Jackass" movie poster. Stein also superimposed Obama's image on a poster for "The Incredibles" movie that he changed to "The Horribles," the prosecutor said.
CBS provides the substance of a private internet chat that supposedly set off the investigation into Stein's conduct:
"I said on there," Stein read, "'As an active-duty Marine, I say, "Screw Obama," and I will not follow the orders from him - all orders from him.'"
He also said he would not salute President Obama, that he's the economic enemy, the religious enemy, also, a "domestic enemy."
Asked by CBS if he regretted his comments, Stein stood by his right to criticize the president -- not surprising considering he is still suing to overturn the discharge.
"George Washington, said, 'When we become a soldier, we do not lay aside the citizen,'" Stein told CBS, maintaining his belief that Obama's health care reform was "a great travesty."
Official Pentagon policy may not entirely agree, however, as it has long placed limits on the free speech of active-duty military personnel, including criticism of the commander in chief.
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