Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller was relieved of command less than 24 hours after posting a video to social media criticizing top military leadership for the Afghanistan failure. Scheller has been heaped with praise by the right.
Last week, Marine Corps Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller released a video on his personal social media blasting senior civilian and military leadership for the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle.
- In the video, Scheller questioned whether the military’s top brass and civilian leadership will take any responsibility over the withdrawal strategy.
- The video was in specific response to an open letter to Marines by Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger, who noted “that some Marines may be struggling with questions of whether or not their service and sacrifice was worth it” and the larger foreign policy missteps of federal officials.
- One day later, Lt. Col. Scheller was relieved of command “due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command.”
- After being removed of command duty, Lt. Col. Scheller resigned his commission. Marine officials attempted to suggest Scheller is in need of counseling and “that social media is not the place to air disagreements with the chain of command.”
- CNN noted Scheller’s response to his relief of command, saying he would have done the same thing if he were in his leadership’s shoes.
- The Washington Post highlighted Scheller’s comments upon retirement that he is willingly giving up pension benefits instead of remaining “silent for three more years to reach the 20 years of service required for full pension.”
- Newsweek’s reporting focused on the propaganda fodder the episode has provided for China, who is using it to show proof of “low morale” among American military personnel.
- The New York Post reported how rare it is for officers to publicly condemn, rebuke, or disagree with top brass. The Post also highlighted the praise Scheller received from veteran and Congressman Dan Crenshaw.
- RedState collated snippets of interviews Lt. Col. Scheller and his father gave, noting the now-retired Marine took a shot at the Baby Boomer generation in an interview with the New York Post.
- Scheller’s video announcing his retirement was the focus of Breitbart’s latest coverage, in which he says he will forego retirement and VA benefits, and he will “bring the whole f-ing system down.”
Scheller saying what he did publicly took guts. But no one should be surprised he lost his command and retired. When one steps outside the chain of command in such a public way, there will be consequences detrimental to one’s military career. Scheller seems to have understood this.
One also wonders what the response from the right would have been if an officer did this when President Donald Trump or President George W. Bush were in office. I suspect they would not be so charitable.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021