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Should a U.S. marine be discharged for criticizing Barack Obama online?

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 U.S. marines are not allowed to criticize their superiors, according to military rules. (Associated Press)
A U.S. Marine will lose his job and most of his benefits for criticizing and ridiculing President Barack Obama on Facebook. 

Sgt. Gary Stein, who has served in the marines for almost a decade, will be discharged for disobeying policies that restrict the speech of active duty military personnel. 

These rules, which have been in place since the Civil War, dictate that active military members cannot criticize the commander-in-chief or use contemptuous words against senior officials. 

On Facebook, Stein posted insubordinate remarks including "Screw Obama and I will not follow all orders from him" and a statement that implied he would break rank. He also posted an altered Jackass movie poster starring Obama.

 Sgt. Gary Stein has served with the Marines for almost a decade. (Associated Press)

Military prosecutors said Stein ignored repeated warnings from his superiors. 

But Stein argued that his rights to free speech are protected by the constitution. 

"I'm having a hard time seeing how 15 words on Facebook could have ruined my nine-year career."

Still, some online commenters said Stein should obey existing rules and policies.

But others defended Stein's right to express his views, and even started an online petition on his behalf. 

"My right to disagree is guaranteed to me by the Constitution. And that right is guaranteed to Sgt. Stein as well," the online petition reads. 

Should a U.S. marine should be dismissed for criticizing the president on social media? Why or why not? Should active military members be able to voice their disapproval of Barack Obama? 

Or, should soldiers follow orders and abide by the policies they agreed to when they enlisted in the military? Many employees would be fired for criticizing their bosses in a public, online forum. Should this issue be viewed in the same way? Why or why not? Please have your say by taking the poll below and adding your comments below. 

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
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