Marine Lt. Col. Scheller Fired, But Vindman Got Praised

Marine Lt. Col. Scheller Fired, But Vindman Got Praised

Marine Lt. Col. Scheller Fired, But Vindman Got Praised

There is a chain of command in the military, and a code of behavior that is required from commanding officers.

Unfortunately, the military has become a political tool over the course of time. So let us look at the case of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller, who took to social media to demand accountability for the absolute unmitigated disaster that Afghanistan has become. Now, the Marine commander knew exactly what he was doing. He knew that it would cost him to post this video. And he did it anyway.

The infantry officer began the video message by addressing the terrorist attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan by Islamic State militants on Thursday, which claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members. On Friday, the Marine Corps issued a statement confirming that 11 of those killed in the attack were Marines.”

“I’ve been in the Marine infantry for 17 years. I started my tour with Victor 1-8, that’s the current unit that’s doing perimeter security, dealing with the mess that’s going on there,” Scheller said. “You can see open-source reporting that there was an explosion and some people were killed. I know through my inside channels that one of the people that was killed was someone that I have a personal relationship with. I won’t go into more detail because the families are still being notified.”

“I’m not making this video because it’s potentially an emotional time,” continued Scheller, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who’s held billets as a commander from the platoon, to company, and battalion level. “I’m making it because I have a growing discontent and contempt for my perceived ineptitude at the foreign policy level and I want to specifically ask some questions to some of my senior leaders.”

“But what I’ll say is, from my position, potentially all those people did die in vain if we don’t have senior leaders that own up and raise their hand and say ‘we did not do this well in the end,’” he said. “Without that we just keep repeating the same mistakes.”

“I want to say this very strongly: I have been fighting for 17 years. I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders ‘I demand accountability.’”

Now, as the sister of an officer, I have a pretty clear idea of what can and cannot be said publicly, and especially on social media. When you are in leadership, your mouth, much like your life while in any of the armed services, is not your own. Scheller knew fully that posting this video likely would be the end of his career, and he was right.

And as you can see from his statement, he takes responsibility for his own actions. His days in the Marine Corps, not just in command, are at an end with this one video. However, the political rules of the game have changed.

So, Lieutenant Colonel Scheller can be “relieved for cause” because he called out the chain of command and demanded accountability, but Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman – remember him? – can tattle on the President of the United States and testify against him in an impeachment trial, and be fêted by the media as a “resistance hero” because he took on the Bad Orange Man. And when President Trump “fired” him from his National Security Council post later, Vindman was not kicked out of the Army. Vindman voluntarily chose to leave the Army in July 2020 after complaining that the White House was blocking his promotion to colonel, and that the Army wasn’t “supporting” him enough. After Vindman left the Army, he published an op-ed in the Washington Post about what a tremendous hero he was for standing up to his commander-in-chief, and then got a book deal – for a book that apparently no one cares about at all.

Before Afghanistan happened, CNN was STILL bringing Vindman on to… complain about Trump not being impeached, because then people would have been saved from COVID-19. No, really. That’s how desperate they were to help Vindman sell books and prop up his resistance credibility.

So, here we have two lieutenant colonels. One from the Army, one from the Marine Corps. Both called out their chain of command over a decision they objected to. One was let go from his job, but chose to leave the Army later, and one is being let go immediately and will lose his career immediately as well. One got glowing coverage from the media, chances to write op-eds, and a book deal.

I look forward to reading Lt. Col. Scheller’s upcoming op-ed in the Washington Post about the failures in Afghanistan leading to a catastrophic withdrawl and the murders of young servicemen. Aren’t those the rules now? (Yes, I am being sarcastic.)

Featured image via russmac on Pixabay, cropped, Pixabay license

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  • Ted says:

    ♪ Whah, if ‘twern’t fer duo-standerds we’d have no standerds at awl. Doom, despair n agony, oh me. Double standards today, double standards to-morrow, double standards forever! We’ll have ‘EM (wink wink) voting for us for 200 years.

  • AF JAG retired says:

    When he was reassigned, Vindman’s supporters claimed it was retaliation for his testimony. Yet as I recall was being send to the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks. In the Air Force, this would be a plum assignment for an O-5, and a signal that his superiors wanted him promoted. I’d be surprised if it didn’t have the same meaning in the Army.

    As to Lt. Col. Scheller, it’s a shame he can never rise to general officer rank, but he knew what he was doing and willingly accepted the consequences. His type of integrity is what we need in the upper ranks of the armed forces. As a military lawyer, I spent 20 years supporting military discipline, but I admire his courage, honor and loyalty to his fellow Marines.

    As to the SecDef, CJCS, and others who’ve risen to the top, Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev told a story that might be in point. In the Czarist Russian navy, a battleship ran aground and sank. Most of the crew drowned but the admiral and the ship’s captain were saved. According to Khrushchev, thereafter Russian sailors used to say that this proved “gold sank and [human excrement] floated.”

    • AF JAG retired says:

      I’m starting to have doubts about Lt. Col. Scheller. It’s starting to look like he’s not just “speaking truth to power” but actively trying to be court-martialed. According to the Washington Examiner, he wrote a statement on Facebook directly to the Commandant. I don’t know what it says, but the Examiner article claims an Article 32 investigating officer has been appointed in his case, and that is only done after court-martial charges have been filed. I speculate that he may have written something directly disrespectful of the Commandant, which seems a more likely court-martial charge than violating a regulation about public statements. It’s frustrating no to know more.

  • liz says:

    When Vindman filed his OG complaint, he obtained de-facto whistle blower protection status. As a result, they couldn’t touch him. That is how he got away with it without being fired. He would simply claim reprisal (and this type of thing happens a great deal in the military, unfortunately).

    Good on Lt Colonel Scheller. He died with his boots on (metaphorically speaking). Hopefully it will have some impact. It is up to us to make his sacrifice count.

  • Liz says:

    Sorry, IG complaint. Not OG.
    I should never post before coffee.

  • […] Parker, also at Victory Girls, tells us of another man we should mention in noting honorable men is Lieutenant Colonel Stuart […]

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