Last evening, Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller put his military career and livelihood on the line by posting a powerful and moving Facebook video in which he poses inconvenient questions about the mess in Afghanistan.
Scheller, a 17-year Marine infantry veteran, spoke out after suicide bombers struck at the Hamid Karzai International Airport. In his heartfelt video, he speaks of his “growing discontent and contempt” for the “ineptitude” of those conducting our foreign policy and addresses the questions his fellow service members have about whether their sacrifices and casualties in Afghanistan over the last 20 years were all in vain.
You should watch and share his video while you can.
In anticipation of his de-platforming, here’s a partial transcript of this brave man’s remarks.
Referring to the members of the military who are distressed over the poorly planned withdrawal from Afghanistan, Scheller said:
People are upset because their senior leaders let them down and none of them are are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying “we messed this up.”
. . .
“But we have a secretary of defense who testified to Congress in May that the Afghan national security force could withstand the Taliban advance. We have a chairman of the Joint Chiefs — of whom the [Marine] commandant is a member — that is supposed to advise on military policy. . . . All of these people are supposed to advise. And I’m not saying we have got to be in Afghanistan forever. But I am saying, did any of you throw your rank on the table and say “Hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Air Base before we evacuate everyone?”
Did anyone do that? And when you didn’t think to do that, did anyone raise their hand and say “we completely messed this up”?
. . .
What I’ll say is, from my perspective, potentially all those people did die in vain if we don’t have senior leaders that own up and say “we did not do this well in the end.”
Without that, we just keep repeating the same mistakes. This amalgamation of the economic/corporate/political/higher military ranks are not holding up their end of the bargain.
I want to say this very strongly. I have been fighting for 17 years. I’m willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders: “I demand accountability.”
By speaking truth to power, Scheller has demonstrated great courage and integrity.
But don’t expect our military leaders to follow suit. Instead of taking responsibility for the unfolding disaster, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has defended the decision to close Bagram purportedly because, with only 2,500 troops left in Afghanistan, a decision had to be made between securing the base and the Kabul airport. “We had to collapse one or the other, and a decision was made,” said Milley to reporters.
Or, as the German Wehrmacht used to say, “We were only following orders.”
When the the Biden regime decided to abandon Bagram, did Milley, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, or any high-ranking military leader “throw his rank on the table” to protest this idiotic decision? No, they didn’t. Because that would have required enough courage and integrity to risk their careers and gold-plated futures in the military-industrial complex.
Career before country. The yes-man, zero-defect ticket punchers versus the warriors. It’s all a sickening story familiar to those of us who remember the Vietnam War.
As Lt. Col. Scheller said, “We just keep repeating the same mistakes.”
George Parry is a former federal and state prosecutor. He blogs at knowledgeisgood.net and may be reached by email at email@example.com.