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September 30, 2021

LtCol Stuart Scheller (USMC) Jailed

This Marine knew the outcome and is now bearing those consequences.

Front and center with congressional testimony this week were the inept trio of military “leaders” who are, without question, guilty of dereliction of duty regarding Joe Biden’s disastrous surrender and retreat from Afghanistan. They are Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley, and head of U.S. Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie.

Of course, it is Biden who should bear the full burden of that decision and its consequences, including the rise of the Taliban and its agents of destruction, the al-Qa'ida terrorist network — and the reign of terror now besieging Afghan men, women, and children, which will eventually emerge to strike Western targets again. But there will be no accountability and consequences for Biden. Just as there will be no accountability and consequences for his politically motivated retaliatory strike against that “high-value target” in Kabul — which turned out to be nothing more than a deadly strike on a group of innocent civilians.

Prior to the murder of our military Patriots in Kabul, the direct consequence of Biden’s ineptitude and that of his commanders, our national security analyst General B.B. Bell (USA, Ret.) strongly condemned Biden’s disgraceful surrender and retreat. Bell noted Biden’s “shameful presidential dereliction of duty” and declared emphatically that not only should Biden’s military leaders resign, but that “he should be impeached and removed from office immediately, and criminal charges should be considered.”

But, neither SecDef Austin nor CJCS Gen. Milley nor Gen. McKenzie will demonstrate the honor and integrity to resign, and Biden’s spokesperson Jen Psaki has confirmed Biden will fire nobody.

However, in the wake of the attack killing 13 military personnel (the first deaths in 18 moths) and more than 155 Afghan civilian men, women, and children, one distinguished active-duty combat-hardened Marine officer called out his failed leadership, understanding that in doing so, it would end his career.

In a public video posted on social media the day after the attack against our military personnel, Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, commander of the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, demanded accountability from his chain of command. He understood clearly that demanding that accountability for the fiasco in Afghanistan would come with heavy consequences.

After being ordered to “refrain from posting any and all material, in any form without exception, to any social media” until the consequences of his actions could be adjudicated, Scheller defied those orders and issued another video in uniform, explaining his circumstances. He indicated he would seek charges against Gen. McKenzie for dereliction of duty.

Predictably, that defiance landed him in the brig.

According to the Marine Corps: “Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr. is currently in pre-trial confinement in the Regional Brig for Marine Corps Installations East aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune pending an Article 32 preliminary hearing. The time, date, and location of the proceedings have not been determined. Lt. Col. Scheller will be afforded all due process.”

Scheller will likely stand trial before a military tribunal on Uniform Code of Military Justice charges, including, Article 88: Contempt toward officials; Article 90: Willfully disobeying superior commissioned officer; Article 92: Failure to obey an order; and Article 133: Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. It is likely now this will result in a court-martial trial based on the evidence presented on the other charges.

This was the inevitable outcome, particularly given that Scheller’s public videos were made in uniform. He knew when he broke silence again that he would be arrested. He asked his command, “Please have the MPs waiting for me at 0800 on Monday. I’m ready for jail.”

As one colleague observed, after a career as a criminal investigator in the military, by placing LtCol Scheller in pretrial confinement, DoD is sending a clear message to any other would-be whistleblowers who might be thinking about sacrificing their careers to make a profound public statement, don’t do it.

So, what Scheller has accomplished is an assurance that Biden’s AFG debacle and his failed leadership will stay in the news cycle a bit longer — at the expense of his career, and maybe much more.

Though Scheller’s outrage at the failure of military leadership is uniformly shared among most Marines in both the officer and enlisted ranks, it is the considered opinion of many Marine officers that Scheller should have resigned his commission before speaking out — thus not breaking faith with his fellow officers’ obligations under UCMJ, and his own oath “to support and defend” our Constitution.

Moreover, I have watched and read all of Scheller’s public remarks, and frankly, given the sequence of events, I am left with a concern that, despite his clear and justified demands and honorable intentions, Scheller is suffering a degree of stress affliction that precedes his latest actions. There is a discontinuity in his communications, maybe associated with PTSD, that elevates my concern for him on a personal level — a subtle discontinuity that will be imperceptible by the MSM news-churn talkingheads and many of those heralding him as a hero. Stu Scheller is suffering more than discontent with some senior leadership.

Of course, any suggestion that Scheller’s judgement may be impaired by PTSD or some other issue will be condemned by some as an effort to undermine the veracity of his objections. Let me state clearly: Scheller’s objections and call for accountability are fully warranted.

What we can best do for Stu at this point is what he and his parents have asked: Pray for him, his wife, and their children.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776

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