Marine who called President Obama the ‘domestic enemy’ could be discharged
By Jeremy Herb - 03/23/12 11:02 AM ET
A Marine in San Diego who has called President Obama the “domestic enemy” and says he will not follow unlawful orders from the president now faces dismissal from the Marine Corps.
Sgt. Gary Stein, who runs the “Armed Forces Tea Party” Facebook page and website, could receive an administrative discharge from the Marines over his comments.
On Stein’s Facebook page, he wrote, “Obama is the 'domestic enemy' our oath speaks about” and said he would not follow what he considered unlawful orders, like taking guns from U.S. citizens. He also wrote that statements by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about going to war without congressional approval were unconstitutional and a "high crime."
According to Pentagon rules, U.S. military members are not allowed to conduct political activities while in uniform, and commissioned officers may not use contemptuous words against civilian leaders such as Obama and Panetta. The political activity restrictions got a soldier who spoke out in uniform at an event for Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in trouble earlier this year.
In a statement, Stein stood by his comments about not following orders and accused the Marines of “drummed-up allegations” to make him an example.
“I swore an oath to obey the orders of the president … But those orders must be lawful,” Stein wrote. “It is the duty of each and every service member to know the difference between [what] an unlawful and lawful order is. ... Just following orders is not a defense when having to answer for following unlawful orders."
Stein said in an interview with The Associated Press that his statement about not following orders was part of the debate about U.S. troops being tried for the Quran burnings in Afghanistan.
He said he was facing a reduction in rank in addition to dismissal, and had been moved Wednesday from a recruiting post to a desk job with no computers.
Sunni Khalid, managing news editor at WYPR-FM, has been dropped by the public radio station after more than nine years on the job there.
His departure from WYPR was confirmed in an email by a newsroom staffer sent to colleagues at the station and elsewhere Monday. His last day was Friday.
Khalid and WYPR management both declined comment Wednesday.
Khalid, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, had been on probation in February for comments he posted on the Facebook page of a friend questioning the influence of Israel on American politics.
"I, for one, have had enough of this pandering before the Israeli regime," he wrote. "The war-mongering toward Iran has, once again, distracted the world from Israel's brutal military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights."Meanwhile, G. Jefferson Price -- a former Baltimore Sun editor who worked with Khalid at the newspaper -- wrote on his personal blog about an encounter he had with his former colleague last week in the WYPR studios.
Price wrote that someone made an obscene gesture toward him through a studio window as he was appearing as a guest on the Dan Rodricks' "Mid-Day" show. He does not name Khalid, but includes details that makes it clear who he is referring to.
"A man flipped me the bird this week! He did it in a place where one might least expect it," Price wrote. "This was not an expression of road rage on a busy roadway; it was at the studio of Baltimore’s local public radio station."
Reached by phone on Wednesday, Price confirmed the account on the blog, but added, "I did not name anyone."
Khalid, who previously worked for NPR, was the first full-time newsroom employee hired by WYPR after the Johns Hopkins University sold the old WJHU-FM to the community group that now holds the license.
David Zurawik appears on WYPR weekly as part of a content-sharing agreement with The Sun.