March 28th, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Rally for Sgt. Gary Stein on Thursday, 3pm, outside main gate of Camp Pendleton


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 28, 2012

Jeff Schwilk

Founder, SoCal Patriots

Rally for Sgt. Gary Stein, Thursday 3-5pm, Camp Pendleton Main Gate

OCEANSIDE, CA.  A large rally in support of Sgt. Stein will take place outside the Camp Pendleton Main Gate at 3-5pm, March 29.  Veterans, Patriot groups, and concerned citizens from all over Southern California will be attending to show their support for Sgt. Stein and his strong public defense of the U.S. Constitution through his Armed Forces Tea Party facebook group.

Sgt. Stein has been ordered to a discharge hearing for his political comments about President Obama on the internet.  We won a small victory this morning as the Marine Corps has delayed the discharge hearing from March 31st to April 5th.  This gives Sgt. Stein and his attorneys more time to prepare for the hearing, but it does not ensure justice in this case.  Sgt. Stein’s commanding officer has made serious allegations and accusations against him in his March 21 official letter to him (see attached).  Sgt. Stein should be able to present evidence in his defense at the appropriate judicial court to defend himself against what he has called “blatantly false charges”.  We want a fair hearing and due process for Sgt. Stein to ensure that this is not a political persecution and squelching of Marines’ free speech rights within existing DOD regulations.

All Marines and service members swear an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  All Marines are also taught not to obey unlawful orders.  Sgt. Stein’s public re-affirmation of these core Marine Corps and American principles on his Facebook pages should be commended, not punished.  This sudden rush to end Sgt. Stein’s honorable 9 year career reeks of political correctness and a possible witch hunt on the part of his superior officers and Commanding General.

We veterans demand justice for Sgt. Stein and for all service members so that they may continue to ensure the good order and discipline, and high morale of our armed forces, especially in this time of war.  We thank Rep. Darrell Issa and Rep. Duncan Hunter (a Marine Reservist) for their public support of Sgt. Stein and our cause for justice for our brave service members who sacrifice so much for our nation.

Jeff Schwilk is a retired Marine Master Sergeant and a veteran of the 1st Marine Division based at Camp Pendleton.

####

Rep. Duncan Hunter (USMC-R):  Sgt. Stein should not be punished for anti-Obama Facebook posts

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/marine-corps/217901-hunter-marine-should-not-be-punished-for-facebook-posts




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20 Responses to “PRESS RELEASE: Rally for Sgt. Gary Stein on Thursday, 3pm, outside main gate of Camp Pendleton”

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  1. 1
    Mike Says:

    The important words there are Marines are taught not to obey unlawful orders. I think this is the part that these fools are leaving out.
    “Semper Fi”

  2. 2
    Erick Carpenter Says:

    Happy boy seems to have forgotten about the UCMJ.. and to put crap out on FaceBook is not private, it is announcing to the world that the POTUS (in his chain of command) was XXX they call that insulting a superior officer in my book, and, like it or not, he is the DULY elected president of the US…

    He is going to be very lucky if they don’t decide to courts martial his happy rear end.. and personally? I’d just send him to correctional custody for 30 days, then send him home.. the key words that YOU use are “within DOD standards” and that simply is not… You guys keep pushing this, and this happy go luck Sgt is going to end up in a courts martial..

    and if he can’t deal with who is president?

    He SHOULD leave the USMC…

    Erick Carpenter USMC 1981-1987

  3. 3
    Ron Bax Says:

    Dear Jeff,

    The problem with Article 89 of the UCMJ is the lack of provision for any commanding officer, especially Commander-in-Chief, who is violating the Constitution. While he’s a personable guy, President Obama has no business being Commander, as are Hilary Clinton and Al Gore for the abyssmal way they treated the White House military staff. While I first believed Sgt Stein’s active military status (and mine, 50 years ago) precluded our right to openly criticize the President, I now realize Article 89 is in direct conflict with Sgt Stein’s Oath to Protect the Constitution. While I initially thought he was foolhardy, I hope the fight will make those who vote for any President, without considering his Commander role, understand the extreme importance of that duty.

    Thanks,

    Ron

  4. 4
    Brian Moore Says:

    I am unclear on the law. Does the comment have to be directed towards the “superior commissioned officer” as a person? Or do policies created by that SCO count towards disrespect? I haven’t read the comments because I can’t find his facebook page. I also think there is a level of “intent” that has to be looked at. If his intent was to support a political cause that is very pro military and pro constitution, then that seems to be inline with military standards. If he is personally attacking President Obama and trying to undermine the military missions then that is another thing. On another note… Why aren’t the Generals that disagree with Obama being court martialed? Hmmm, maybe the law only applies to enlisted and junior officers? We’ll see…

    Semper Fi!

  5. 5
    Cal Says:

    @ Eric Carpetnter, “Happy boy seems to have forgotten about the UCMJ.. and to put crap out on FaceBook is not private, it is announcing to the world that the POTUS (in his chain of command) was XXX they call that insulting a superior officer in my book”.

    That would depend Eric. Did you take an Oath to “… support and defend the US Constitution… ” (”I, _____, 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; 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 and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code)
    and/or depending on if went on to officer status
    “I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ 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; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.” (DA Form 71)?

    If you did take an Oath to the US, and not one to the United Nations and NATO, then a president who has put us under the “Authority” of a foreign entity is committing treason, right? Yet, over his almost 4 years in office (since Obama was Chair for the UN) he and his administration has routinely cited the “Authority” of the United Nations over the US Constitution, the United States of America.
    Plus President Obama sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner in which he boldly asserted the “Authority” of international powers over and above the US Constitution.
    then there is Panetta, Dempsey and Obama openly declared that they no longer represent the American people and instead are representatives for a global dictatorship that has usurped the sovereignty of the United States.
    And The Pentagon through Gen. Martin Dempsey, “President” Obama, along with the US. Defense Secretary Panetta basically declared a Coup D’etat (takeover by a foreign entity, person, or nation) on our Constitutional government by giving the United Nations “Supreme Authority” over the US.
    Followed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta giving testimony (to the senate) asserting that the United Nations and NATO have “supreme authority” over the actions of the United States military.
    During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey brazenly admitted that their authority comes NOT from the U.S. Constitution, but that the United States is subservient to and takes its marching orders from the United Nations and NATO.

    If you are worried about unlawful orders from a US President (though you should NOT be, since we are not a dictatorship or monarchy, etc): The U.S. Supreme Court held that Navy commanders “act at their own peril” when obeying presidential orders when such orders are illegal.

    So now you know that a president can make illegal orders.

    “The Vietnam War presented the United States military courts with more cases of the “I was only following orders” defense than any previous conflict. The decisions during these cases reaffirmed that following manifestly illegal orders is not a viable defense from criminal prosecution.”

    With so many American citizens questioning Obama as a legal US president: *Domestic enemy, **oath breaker, Actively and knowingly going against the US Constitution and the citizens of the United States, Conduct seriously incompatible with either the constitutional form and principles of our government or the proper performance of constitutional duties of the presidential office, Misuse of powers assigned the executive branch by the constitution, Using powers not assigned to the executive branch, etc.

    * “Domestic enemies pursue legislation, programs against the powers of the US Constitution. They work on destroying and weakening the Rights of the People guaranteed by the Constitution. Plus they create laws, amendments, etc that goes against the restraint on the three branches of our government by the Constitution”
    ** The wording of the Presidential Oath was established in the Constitution in Article II, Section 1, Clause 10. The requirement for all Federal and State Civil officers to give their solemn and binding Oath is established in Article VI, Section 1, Clause 4. They are BOUND by their Oath to support the Constitution, and should they abrogate their Oath by their acts or inaction, are subject to charges of impeachment…
    **2 Oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”. Solemn: “legally binding, Common legal phrase indicating that an agreement has been consciously made, and certain actions are now either required or prohibited”, “The other requirement for an agreement or contract to be considered legally binding is consideration – both parties must knowingly understand what they are agreeing to”. (American fully expected a president who followed the US Constitutional definition of how our government operates. Part of his “why he was better candidate” brought up many times while running was that he was a Constitutional Professor), “marked by the observance of established form or ceremony”. “Bound – Being under legal or moral obligation; To constitute the boundary or limit of; To set a limit to; confine”

    Again, until the issue is settled that Obama is legally qualified to be the US President, and that he has not committed treason how can any military or anyone else follow his orders as lawful?

  6. 6
    Lee Says:

    Good Luck Sgt. Gary Stein! May the force be with you!

    Who knows, pretty boy Erick Carpenter might just show up in your defense, with a Certified Copy of the “illegal usurper’s” Selective Service Registration Card.

  7. 7
    Dave Haskins Says:

    Sgt Stein is a US Marine, and as such is required to abide by his oath to the Constitution. All other Marines are to stand up for their oath as well. And protecting Sgt. Stein with all the facts surrounding his case is critical is fulfilling that oath. For all of us.

  8. 8
    Rosemary Malloy Says:

    obama has yet to provide any legitimate documentation that he is even a US Citizen.
    That issue needs to be resolved before he gets us into more undeclared, unconstitutional wars, and certainly before the military takes one more order from this fraud.
    He is trying to usurp the constitutiona by claiming the the UN is constitutionally qualified to lead our military. Can anyone say TREASON?????????

  9. 9
    blood14_88honor Says:

    Cops are getting this static too and it’s costing them their jobs in some instances. Is Oathkeepers going to stand up for their 1st Amendment rights too? Or are we only targeting the ‘Police State’ angle instead?

    http://www.wwltv.com/news/Officer-who-posted-online-comments-has-gotten-into-trouble-before-144316965.html

    http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display&article_id=2426&issue_id=72011

  10. 10
    USMA68 Says:

    Free speech, as guaranteed by the first amendment, does exist in the military. There are curbs placed on free expression, but they are not as restrictive as they appear on the surface, and they are not without counterparts in civilian life. There are, after all, few wholly free agents in our society. For example, a judge is not free to practice civil disobedience from the bench but must conform to the rulings of the Supreme Court; nor is an employee of a private company protected by law from dismissal for expressing opinions distasteful to management. The situation is much the same in the armed forces.

    Freedom of speech, press, and assembly as secured by the Constitution does not mean that the right to speak or publish one’s convictions may be practiced without responsibility or without consideration for other factors. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stated in Schenck v. United States: “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater, and causing a panic.”2 As concluded in the Schenck opinion, the right to free speech is dependent on the circumstances surrounding its exercise. In considering these circumstances, the question becomes one of outcome. Again, Justice Holmes provided a guideline in the Schenck opinion: “the question in every case is whether the word are used in such circumstances and are of such nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. “3

    By 1950, the clear and present danger test was well established. In that year, however, a new requirement was forecast by the dissenting opinion of Justice William O. Douglas in Dennis v. United States.4 He argued that for speech to be punishable some immediate injury to society must be likely. This requirement was adopted outright nineteen years later in Brandenburg v. Ohio. The Supreme Court observed that statements must go beyond mere advocacy and be directed toward “inciting or producing imminent lawless action.”5

    In a military context, that standard forces us to ask whether or not free expression represents an imminent threat to the national interest. The national interest can take many forms, but for our purposes here it is generally synonymous with the ability of the armed forces to perform their wartime military mission. Senior officials, both military and civilian, agree that unlimited free speech is inconsistent with command, control, and military authority on which the armed forces are based and, therefore, must be restricted in some degree if the military is to maintain its capability for immediate and unified action.6 An army or navy whose members are allowed to spread internal dissension and disorder constitutes a hazard with perhaps as great a potential for danger to the country as a hostile foreign power.7 Thus, as an early legal commentator on military free speech states, “The national defense brooks no opposition and overrides many freedoms. . . even in peace time the military must act as if war were imminent, for new habits cannot be established on the day the balloon goes up. …”8 It is a true paradox that the soldier, under certain circumstances, must sacrifice some of the liberties that he is called on to protect.

    This suggested relationship is a balancing between the free speech rights of the individual military man on one side and the national interest on the other. As suggested by Justice Holmes, the balance is never even, nor is it always tipped in favor of one side only. The circumstances of the particular situation provide additional weight to one side, and the balance shifts in favor of the individual or the national interest.

    Judge George W. Latimer, in a separate opinion in United States v. Voorhees observed: “Undoubtedly, we should not deny to servicemen any right that can be given reasonably. But, in measuring reasonableness, we should bear in mind that military units have one purpose justifying their existence: to prepare themselves for war and to wage it successfully. That purpose must never be overlooked. …”9

    The unrestricted application of first amendment rights by servicemen could seriously jeopardize this single purpose by undermining discipline and morale. Judge Latimer succinctly noted in his Voorhee opinion, “A war cannot be won in the halls of debate, and conditions do not permit meeting lies with truth. . . . In times of peace, those who voluntarily or involuntarily work to protect our nation should not be required to toil in contention and strife engendered from within.”10

    It has been clearly established, beginning with the Schenck decision, that restraints which reasonably protect the national interest do not violate the constitutional rights guaranteed in the first amendment. Within the armed forces, the restraints take the form of regulations that require review and clearance for release of information by military members and prior approval for the distribution or posting of written material on a military installation. They also prohibit personnel stationed overseas from participating in demonstrations.11

    Enforcement of these regulations, policy restraints, and traditional restrictions affecting discipline is accomplished through seven articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).12 Specific articles prohibit:

    1. Commissioned officers from using contemptuous words against the President and other senior civilian government officials.

    2. Any person from behaving with disrespect toward a superior commissioned officer.

    3. Insubordinate conduct (speech) toward a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer or petty officer.

    4. Willful disobedience of an order or regulation.

    5. Persons from making provoking or reproachful speeches or gestures towards other persons subject to the UCMJ.

    6. Conduct unbecoming an officer.

    7. Conduct prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the armed forces, or that will bring discredit upon the service.

    Within the framework of regulations and the UCMJ, the basic elements of the limitations imposed depend on the time, place, and circumstances associated with the particular expression made by the military member.13 The final authority in determining whether the application of these limitations denies the serviceman his basic constitutional rights rests with the United States Court of Military.

    A significant and much publicized military first amendment case of recent times was United States v. Howe.14 Howe, a second lieutenant stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, was convicted of using contemptuous words against the President and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman, in violation of articles 88 and 133, Uniform Code of Military Justice. Specifically, he had participated in a demonstration in downtown El Paso and was observed by military police while carrying a sign reading: “Let’s have more than a choice between petty ignorant fascists in 1968,” and, on the reverse side, “End Johnson’s fascist aggression in Vietnam.” Lieutenant Howe appealed his conviction to the Court of Military Appeals, arguing, in part, that the charges against him violated his first amendment rights.

    In affirming the conviction, the military high court answered the first amendment question by relying on the principle of civilian control over the military. Traditionally, members of the armed forces, particularly officers, have been restricted from using contemptuous words against or otherwise maligning the policies of the civilian leadership. Beginning with the adoption of the first Articles of War in 1775, Congress and other civilian leaders have sanctioned this restriction in order to prevent the possibility of a military coup. In applying this principle to the Howe case, the court stated:

    True, petitioner is a reserve officer, rather than a professional officer, but during the time he serves on active duty, he is, and must be, controlled by the provisions of military law. In this instance, military restrictions fall upon a reluctant “summer soldier”; but in another time, and differing circumstances, the ancient and wise provisions insuring civilian control of the military will restrict the “man on the white horse “15

    The rationale offered by the USCMA in its Howe decision traces the necessity of civilian supremacy over the military and the intent, from our earliest history, to use article 88 and its precursors to ensure that supremacy. Actual practice has not followed that intent, however. Past applications of article 88 have usually been confined to political activists, enemy sympathizers, and various types of malcontents. When civilian supremacy has actually been at stake, administrative actions, such as removal, reassignment, and forced retirement have been taken against the errant officer.16

    A more recent military case that reached the Supreme Court, Parker v. Levy,17 has further defined the limits of military free speech. Dr. Levy was convicted for making disloyal and disrespectful comments to enlisted personnel intended to promote disaffection among the troops, in violation of articles 133 and 134, and for failure to obey a lawful order, in violation of article 92.

    Although the issue on appeal was the vagueness and overbreadth of articles 133 and 134, the Supreme Court’s decision has considerable application to the issue of military free speech rights. The Court said that while members of the armed forces were not excluded from the protection of the first amendment, a different application was required because of the fundamental need for obedience and discipline. Stressing this uniqueness, the Court stated that civilian first amendment standards do not automatically apply to the military.18

    In reaching its decision, the Court relied on the Court of Military Appeals to explain the unique need of the military. The latter court stated in United States v. Priest:

    In the armed forces some restrictions exist for reasons that have no counterpart in the civilian community. Disrespectful and contemptuous speech, even advocacy of violent change, is tolerable in the civilian community, for it does not directly affect the capacity of the Government to discharge its responsibilities unless it both is directed to inciting imminent lawless action and is likely to produce such action. In military life, however, other considerations must be weighed. The armed forces depend on a command structure that at times must commit men to combat, not only hazarding their lives but ultimately involving the security of the Nation itself Speech that is protected in the civil population may nonetheless undermine the effectiveness of response to command. If it does, it is constitutionally unprotected.19

    This endorsement of the Priest decision clearly demonstrates the Supreme Court’s application of the balancing test, weighing the peculiar needs of the armed forces as but one factor to determine the extent of military free speech rights.

    One of the earliest first amendment cases decided by the USCMA, United States v. Voorhees,20 involved a lieutenant colonel who wrote an account of his war service in Korea. He submitted the manuscript for review, as required by military regulation, but refused to delete certain passages as requested by the reviewing authority. Ignoring an order to withdraw the manuscript, Lieutenant Colonel Voorhees went ahead with publication. He was convicted by court-martial of five violations of the UCMJ for publishing his work without proper clearance. A board of review reversed all the findings of guilty except one but upheld the sentence of dismissal and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

    On appeal, the USCMA concluded that a regulation requiring security review was valid and, therefore, did not violate the military member’s first amendment rights, noting that the right to free speech is not an indiscriminate right and is qualified by the requirements of reasonableness in relation to time, place, and circumstances. Although the court failed to address the issue of policy review, Judge Latimer, in a separate opinion, concluded that the first amendment does not guarantee any expression that would jeopardize the efforts of the armed forces. He wrote:

    A few dissident writers, occupying positions of importance in the military, could undermine the leadership of the armed forces, and if every member of the service was, during a time of conflict, or preparation therefor, permitted to ridicule, divide, deprecate, and destroy the character of those chosen to lead the armed forces, and the cause for which this country was fighting, then the war effort would most assuredly fail.21

    Thus, the Voorhees decision clearly supports the military’s authority to limit free speech with respect to both the security and policy interests of the armed forces.

    The case, United States v. Priest,22 resulted from the publishing activities of a navy journalist convicted of two specifications of printing and distributing issues of a publication which contained statements disloyal to the United States, in violation of article 134. The paper encouraged desertion and gave the names of groups in Canada who would aid deserters. It made references to assassinating the President, taking over the government, and bombing the United States.

    In affirming the conviction, the USCMA rejected the Brandenburg requirement that there be an incitement to imminent lawless action, holding that the clear and present danger test outlined by Justice Holmes in Schenck was the proper standard for determining the extent of free expression within the military services.23 The court further stated:

    The danger resulting from an eroding of military morale and discipline is too great to require that discipline must already have been impaired before prosecution for uttering statements can be sustained As we have said before, the right to free speech in the armed services is not unlimited and must be brought into balance with the paramount consideration of providing an effective fighting force for the defense of our country.24

    A final notable publication case is that of the Secretary of the Navy v. Avrech.25 Avrech, a Marine Corps private stationed in Vietnam, was convicted of attempting to publish disloyal statements with the intent to promote disaffection among the troops, in violation of articles 80 and 134. He had not actually published or distributed the material since he was apprehended while carrying the typed stencil.

    The case eventually reached the Supreme Court and was decided as a companion case to Parker v. Levy. The value of the Avrech decision is that it indicates that, while in a war zone, the balance is shifted almost exclusively in favor of the need to protect the national interest.

    The discussion of free speech to this point has centered on the balance between the national interest, as manifested in the morale and discipline of the armed forces, foreign policy and security considerations, and the individual military member’s rights. Another frequently used justification for the suppression of first amendment freedoms, however, is the issue of civilian control of the Department of Defense. The ultimate purpose of civilian supremacy is, of course, to prevent the military take-over of the government, a possibility that seems quite remote in our time. A more likely goal for restricting the content of statements by military officials, particularly flag officers, is to prevent excessive influence of the military in the formulation of government policy.

    In our democracy, formulation of policy is constitutionally vested in the civilian authorities of government. The professional military man merely executes policy in a nonpartisan manner. Prussian General Karl von Clausewitz explained this situation, stating: “The subordination of the political point of view to the military would be unreasonable, for policy has created war; policy is the intelligent faculty, war only the instrument, and not the reverse. The subordination of the military point of view is, therefore, the only thing which is possible.”28

    Throughout our history some senior military officers have been unable to accept this concept and have challenged its traditions, but most have recognized the wisdom of civilian supremacy and reconciled any differences they may have had with their government. The Continental Congress insisted in 1774 on civilian control of the military. General Washington made it clear that he would bow to the congressional will, even if he was personally opposed to its policy.29 General U. S. Grant, while commanding federal troops during the Civil War, expressed his feelings on the subject by stating: “So long as I hold my present position, I do not believe I have the right to criticize the policy or orders of those above me, or give utterance to views of my own, except to the authorities in Washington.”30 General George C. Marshall, perhaps the greatest soldier-statesman in our history, recalling his differences with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, hastened to add, “But I didn’t make any public speeches.”31 General Marshall approved of General Douglas MacArthur’s removal from command, saying that the situation of a local theater commander publicly voicing his displeasure and disagreement with the foreign policy of the nation was “wholly unprecedented.”32

    This view is shared equally by the civilian leadership within the government. The Senate Armed Services Committee, in a report released in October 1962, concluded that “once the decision has been made by the properly constituted authorities the military man must support it. . . . If, in good conscience, he cannot live with a decision, he should divest himself of his uniform and carry on his fight in a civilian status.”33

    Continuing this tradition, current guidelines have been clarified and reinforced by Secretary of the Army Clifford L. Alexander, Jr., in his address at West Point on 8 June 1977. Secretary Alexander outlined three distinct forums for opinion by the military professional:

    1. Within the military: Opinions can be voiced freely within the chain of command. Once a final decision has been made, however, the soldier’s responsibility is to work in a creative and dedicated manner to execute the decision.

    2. Before Congress: A military man can freely express personal opinion when asked. Once policy has been established, it is his duty to cite the policy and his intent to follow it. If asked, he can state an opinion at odds with the policy, so long as the opinion is so identified.

    3. Dealing with the media: The officer must be aware that even before policy is established, expressing personal opinion may be contrary to the national interest. On the other hand, in some cases, discussion may be helpful in the formulation of policy. The official must be sure to state that policy has not been established or is subject to final review by military or civilian authority.34

    Secretary Alexander further noted that, “in almost no instance will the national interest be served by a military person voicing disagreement with established policy. . . . Attempts to achieve outside the chain of command what one could not achieve inside the chain of command are out of keeping with this tradition [of the President as Commander-in-Chief] and inconsistent with military professionalism.”35

    It is important to note that the general officer is just as susceptible to prosecution as a result of his expressed thoughts as the enlisted man, even though a general officer has not been prosecuted since the court-martial of Billy Mitchell in 1925. As mentioned earlier, these errant officers are usually dealt with through the use of administrative sanctions such as removal from command, reassignment, or forced retirement. Nevertheless, as one writer comments, “The pyramid that starts with privates, seamen, and airmen bound to respect their noncommissioned officers culminates in generals and admirals bound to respect civilian secretaries and the President: These officials who bear the ultimate responsibility need protection from irresponsible abuse by their subordinates.”36 To demand less would destroy the framework of discipline necessary for the accomplishment of the military mission.

    SERVICEMEN do, in fact, have the same first amendment rights as their civilian brothers. They are, however, not absolute. But, then, neither are these rights absolute in civilian law. The difference is that the military has peculiar needs and interests apart from those of the civilian community it serves, and they preclude the exercise of the right of free speech on as broad a basis as is the practice in the civilian community. As Judge Latimer wrote almost twenty-five years ago: “No officer or man in the armed forces has a right, be it constitutional, statutory or otherwise, to publish any information [or make any statement] which will imperil his unit or its cause.”37

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