Good Luck, Mr. Scheller - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Good Luck, Mr. Scheller
I see that former Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller, Jr., USMC, is now a civilian. Readers will recall that Scheller is the officer who called for accountability for the recent incompetent, abject, and thoroughly embarrassing surrender in Afghanistan. For his trouble Scheller was charged, temporarily jugged, and finally given less than a full honorable discharge for his audacity (many would say his honesty), even though his service to the point that he lipped off about incompetence and pandering at the top was the very soul of honorable. Scheller was given a “general discharge under honorable conditions.” Hardly a scarlet letter, but less than the gold standard straight honorable discharge. This honorable warrior was put through this undeserved ringer after he had followed his critical remarks by saying that he would resign his commission, even though he was close to retirement and the benefits this brings. Principled resignations in the military are so rare  that they can’t but amaze us when they happen.

It’s very tricky being a commissioned officer in the military today, even a retired one. This administration seems more determined than previous ones to stamp out any dissent in the ranks. And to use the military to for its political purposes. It has the right hall monitor for the job in Thoroughly Modern Milley, more of a boot-licking courtier than a warrior. He seems more concerned about Republicans in the ranks than about the Chinese. Of course there have to be limits on what military officers say about the commander in chief and his horse-holders. No one I know questions civilian control of the military. But should generals and admirals really carry water for the political agenda of the political party in power? No, Virginia, white rage and climate change are not the biggest threats to America, or even what the military was established to deal with.

In a social post Scheller made it clear that his complaints are with the officers at the top and the politicians jerking their chains, not the Marines who fought and bled with him. He thanked and saluted these Marines and thanked the Corps for “forging a man of me.” He makes it clear that he believes, as most Americans do, that the U.S. Marine Corps is still a fine fighting force, even though burdened by politically motivated capons at the top, both in and out of uniform.

Whether or not he was right in speaking the way he did, this lieutenant colonel really put his money where his values are. A lot of money in fact. In order to say what he thought needed saying he blew off a lifetime of generous retirement benefits that were only three years away for him. I sure hope his wife was on board with this decision. (If not he may be out more than just a lean, green, fighting machine’s paycheck every month.) I don’t know what Scheller will be up to now that he’s plain mister instead of colonel, though it’s a pretty safe bet that we haven’t heard the last of him. (Nor are the troubles over in Afghanistan just because President Clouseau turned the country — if it even is one — over to the Taliban and left them enough military equipment to defend it.) He should be pretty employable. But whatever he does he has a lot of economic ground to make up. Good luck to him.

Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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