So I ran across this really odious, stupid graphic on Facebook today.
Why is it odious and stupid? Well, because it’s almost completely bullshit, and the points on which it is not just plain wrong, it deliberately distorts and warps the truth.
This is how you’re lied to. This is how people take facts and twist them to make you hate what you’re supposed to.
This is how you are controlled by the power elite, and this is how you allow them to do it. Things like this.
First, let’s take the obvious errors:
Both names are spelled wrong.
This man didn’t “kill 14 soldiers at Ft. Hood.” He actually killed 6 soldiers, 6 officers, and a civilian. Not that this makes it any better, but it’s just another wrong fact, another deliberate lie designed to increase hate and decrease reason. Because it’s not quite enough to just note that he killed 13 people, that doesn’t provoke the right level of mindless outrage and senseless hate. It doesn’t reinforce the “pro-military = anti-Obama” narrative, nor the “pro-US = anti-Muslim” narrative.
Then we get to the comment of the guy who posted it.
SHAME....SHAME...SHAME The whole chain of command should hide their faces in shame...starting with the Commander in Chief.
I’m not sure exactly how one gets to attacking the President based on long-established rules set for in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That set of laws governs everything about military service in the United States. In particular, there is Subchapter 10, Section 888, Article 88, which reads in full:
Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct. (Please see note at end of article for corrective information - jh)
Now it seems to me that when you say this:
"As an Active Duty Marine I say 'Screw Obama' and I will not follow all orders from him ... has [sic] for saluting Obama as commander-in-chief ... I will not!"
It’s pretty clear that a) you are speaking as a member of the US Military and b) you are using “contemptuous words against the president.”
So it seems pretty cut-and-dried. He broke the rules, he got punished for it according to the law, the end. Much less complicated than say thirteen counts of murder and thirty-four counts of attempted murder in an attack by a serviceman on a military base, which could result in a death penalty. Takes a little longer to work that sort of thing out, you know.
Perhaps the creator of this graphic would feel better if Stein - like Hassan - was paralyzed from the chest down due to being shot while taken into custody, and then held for trial where he will face the strong possibility of the death penalty?
Does that guy look like he's "smiling" to you?
He still gets a check because, like it or not, he hasn't been convicted of anything yet and therefore he's not been discharged and therefore he's eligible for pay. The presumption of innocence is one of the foundational principles of the US justice system, which includes the military courts. While I agree that this is a rather strange situation, I also understand how it happens, and why. Would the writer of the graphic prefer that we punish people for crimes before we convict them?
Do we not grasp how the mechanics of a trial for 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder might take a bit longer than a trial for insubordination? Which, incidentally, was not a matter of "putting Obama's face on a jackass," but of publicly stating, while acting in his capacity as a US Marine, that he would not follow orders from his commander-in-chief. Indeed, he referred to Obama as "the domestic enemy," a phrase which has a very particular meaning to military personnel since they take an oath of office to defend the country against "all enemies, foreign and domestic." In theory, designation of someone as a domestic enemy is, in the military, a license to kill.
How long would you expect to keep your job, if you refused to do what your boss asked you and implied that you would kill him. Stein's lucky all he got out of that stupidity was a LTHD - they could have made a case for sedition, which would have made him eligible for the death penalty.
But that’s not the end of it. Check out some of these comments on the image thread:
Brenda Mitchell Gray Sam, Sam, Sam, Remember, we don't have a Commander in Chief. That position has been vacant since Jan. 2009.
Art Hansl No freedom of speech for Marines, it seems. This one ought to go to the Supreme Court! (There is, as the UCMJ section I posted above, no freedom of speech for any us soldier. Never has been. I had this conversation with my dad when I was like…six or something. You don’t publicly criticize your chain of command while you’re in uniform unless you’re making a formal complaint. Period. -jh)
Rex Waltersdorf Sgt Gary Stien, I salute you, for your courage shown defending the country from all enemies both foreign and domestic(although no one has proven he is a citizen of this country to me yet). (Yes, a birther. They actually exist, believe it or not. –jh)
Douglas Mac They pay Hasan because he is only charged..not convicted. Once convicted, he'll forfeit his rank and pay. Just like that Lil prick PFC Manning..not convicted..still getting full pay. Of course, Maj Hasan was only arrested for "work place violence". I can't wait to retire and then truly exercise my vocal cords! (As outlined above, Hassan is charged with 13 counts of murder and 34 counts of attempted murder. I’m not sure where this idea that since these murders took place where the man worked they are therefore “workplace violence” by definition equates to letting him off the hook. One more example of how people don’t think before they react. –jh)
Robert Gardner Leon, get the fuck out!!!! Unamerican piece of Shit, you and everyone like you is what is wrong with the country!!!! (This in response to someone pointing out reality. So much for “free speech,” hm? –jh)
Michael Bucklin and we often wonder why soo many red blooded americans hate this country....this is why...why should a cold blooded killer go free while a SOLDIER who only expressed himself in a humourouse way be kicked out of the Marines....SO NOT FAIR....WHERE IS THE JUSTICE!!!!!!! (So now it’s patriotic to hate your country? Seriously, you can’t invent stupidity this pure. –jh)
Steve Escobar If Hitler were alive and running for president, every liberal would vote him in. (Yeah, because it’s liberals who want to destroy education, allow people who aren’t “worthy” to starve and die in the streets, give all the power to corporations, create a massive wealth imbalance that as a matter of practice deprives the average citizen of their liberty and creates despotism, and target particular ethnic and religious minorities for sometimes murderous harassment…oh wait, that’s the Republican Party. –jh)
None of this, of course, is to say that I condone or support Hassan’s actions. What he did is well worthy of a good long stay in prison. Of course, since I oppose the death penalty I also oppose it in this case – I would much rather see this man treated for his obvious psychosis and brought back to a state of full mental health. If that’s not possible, then by definition he is sick and should be treated in a long-term high-security psychiatric facility for the rest of his life.
But what these commenters miss is that they have a great deal more in common with Hassan than they do with any of the founding fathers. Their hateful ignorance, their glee at the thought of killing a human being, their blood thirst, their preference for vengeance over justice, their dehumanization of those who think differently than them, and their striking and hostile ignorance and aggression against the President are as un-American as one can possibly be. Through eight years of the Bush administration, never once did I wish the man dead. Never accused him of “hating patriotic Americans,” nor did I ever mistake that kind of thinking for patriotism.
This graphic is intended to provoke through hate. Hate is – invariably – the product of ignorance and fear. What you are looking at in these comments is a rogue’s gallery of cowards and traitors, people who only believe in the principles of freedom this nation supposedly stands for when it’s the freedom to agree with them. If you disagree with them, you should be killed. You aren’t a “real American.” You’re a nazi, or a muslim, or a commie, or whatever misused word their small, hateful minds can dredge up to throw at you.
There is nothing “American” or “free” about these attitudes. These people are slaves to their own hate and stupidity, and frankly I’m not so sure they don’t deserve the country they’re trying to build. Unfortunately if they succeed in building it, we’ll have a nation of psychopathic warmongers in control of the world’s most powerful military, and that’s not good for this nation or for the rest of the world.
The comments I’ve posted above, and most of the others that appear on the comment thread for that photo, are prima facie evidence that there are a lot of people in this country right now who have lost their minds. They don’t care about freedom, and they don’t want to be free. They want a world in which everyone thinks the same, nobody dissents, nobody disagrees with them, and nobody dares stand up to them. If they can’t get it, they’ll become increasingly aggressive and violent.
These are the Timothy McVeighs of the world. These are the Montana Freemen and Michigan Militias of the world.
These are the people who are destroying this nation and every principle upon which it was founded, all in the name of “defending” their “right” to demand that everyone think and act the way they do, or else.
These are the people who must be stopped. These people are the reason that we cannot allow a right-wing victory in November. These people are the reason that, even though I strongly disapprove of a good many things this administration has done, I will be voting to keep this administration in power for another four years.
Because if these nutjobs regain power in this country, all that we stand for will be lost, and we may never get it back.
The tea party is, by definition, a hate group, and it must be rejected.
More than that, as Americans and as human beings we must commit to no longer allow this kind of deliberate lie to distort our political discourse into hate and aggression. That is the fuel that propels this handbasket, folks. Rise above it.
(Note: As commenter Ric West points out below, Stein held the rank of Sergeant prior to his discharge; this means that the quoted section above actually doesn't apply to him, because he was not a commissioned officer. However, the President is a commissioned officer, from the time he takes his oath of office until he leaves, and therefore he is covered under the section after the one I erroneously cited, Section 889 Article 89, which reads in full:
Any person subject to this chapter who behaves with disrespect toward his superior commissioned officer shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
Thanks to Ric for catching this and pointing me to the properly applicable law in this case! -jh)