Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, the officer who went viral when he slammed the military’s leadership over a chaotic and poorly executed withdrawal from Afghanistan – has now officially been arrested for speaking out.
“All our son did is ask the questions that everybody was asking themselves, but they were too scared to speak out loud,” Scheller’s father, Stu Scheller Sr., told Task & Purpose. “He was asking for accountability. In fact, I think he even asked for an apology that we made mistakes, but they couldn’t do that, which is mind-blowing.”
Scheller, a 17-year veteran risked his career and pension when he posted a video to facebook shredding military leaders who failed U.S. servicemen serving in Afghanistan.
Scheller questioned their command decisions on the events leading up to and during the final evacuation effort which ultimately handed the country over to the Taliban and left American citizens stranded in addition to 13 servicemembers being killed in a suicide explosion.
“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,” said Scheller.
“I’m not saying we’ve 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 Airfield, a strategic airbase, 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’?” Scheller added.
“I thought through, if I post this video, what might happen to me — especially if the video picks up traction, if I have the courage to post it,” he said. “But I think what you believe in can only be defined by what you’re willing to risk. If I’m willing to risk my current battalion seat, my retirement, my family’s stability to say some of the things I want to say, I think it gives me some moral high ground to demand the same honesty, integrity, and accountability from my senior leaders.”
Scheller would go on to release several more videos, generating praise and controversy while drawing the ire of military leadership. Eventually, he was told by superiors to stop posting to social media altogether, an order he immediately ignored by posting about the gag order.
The officer also seemingly realized that last post could result in his trip to the brig but proceeded with doing what he felt was right.
“What happens when all you do is speak truth and no one wants to hear it. But they can probably stop listening because… I’m crazy… right?” Scheller wrote at the end of the post. “Col Emmel please have the MPs waiting for me at 0800 on Monday. I’m ready for jail.”
As of now, Scheller is “currently in pre-trial confinement,” a spokesperson for Training and Education Command said.
“The time, date, and location of the proceedings have not been determined. Lt. Col. Scheller will be afforded all due process,” the statement continued.
But the elder Scheller defended his son, arguing that he was only asking for “accountability” from the military’s top brass.
“He’s asking for the same accountability that is expected of him and his men,” he said.
“I’ve had Vietnam veterans contacting me applauding him for his courage because they too want to know: Was it all worth it?” he continued. “And by demanding accountability and honesty from his senior leaders, that’s all he was asking. And the way the Marine Corps has dealt with it: They have now put him in jail.”
Author: Liam Folster