A Marine Corps officer who went public in August with his scathing denunciations of military leaders and the strategic blunders of the withdrawal from Afghanistan is now jailed, according to his family.
Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller made waves in late August when he released a video saying, “People are upset because their senior leaders let them down, and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, ‘We messed this up,’” according to the military-oriented website Task & Purpose.
His father said he has paid the price for saying out loud what no one else would say.
“All our son did is ask the questions that everybody was asking themselves, but they were too scared to speak out loud,” 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.”
His son faces a hearing on Thursday.
“They had a gag order on him and asked him not to speak,” Stu Scheller Sr said. “He did, and they incarcerated him. They don’t know what to do with him.”
The Marine Corps confirmed Scheller’s status.
“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,” said Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Training and Education Command, according to Task & Purpose. “The time, date, and location of the proceedings have not been determined. Lt. Col. Scheller will be afforded all due process.”
Scheller had been a Battalion Commander for Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at School of Infantry-East at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Scheller’s father said that in his son’s Aug. 26 video that scorched senior leadership, he was “asking for the same accountability that is expected of him and his men.”
Scheller’s point hit a nerve with many veterans, his father 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 told Task & Purpose. “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.”
Scheller’s video publicly questioned the military’s top leaders.
“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,’” he said, asking if any leader dared to admit their mistakes.
In a Saturday Facebook post, Scheller wrote that he’d been ordered to stay off social media. But made it clear he wasn’t obeying.
“Fear cannot exist in the pursuit of love and truth. I believe in love. I believe in America. I believe in strength. I believe in honesty. I believe I am ready to go to jail based on these beliefs,” he wrote, before launching into a litany of criticism of military and political leaders that included former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama, former Secretary of State and retired Gen. Marine Corps James Mattis and former National Security Advisor and retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn.
“[W]hy is the Republic in decline? The Apathetic American convinces himself to apply pressure in other ways only because he can’t see the invisible chains. The keyholders refuse to take accountability when it is so obvious. They are unable or unwilling to do what is right. But WE are not like the Apathetic American. WE have faith. WE believe what you stand for can only be defined by what you’re willing to risk,” he wrote.
“They need US scared. They need US silenced. They need US divided. Fear, division, and ignorance facilitates control. WE the people are not republican/democrat, black/white, straight/gay, christian/atheist, mask/nomask, police/community, wallstreet/mainstreet… so on and so on. We are Americans. Adjectives are not required. Don’t dim your light to walk into their darkness. Walk into their darkness and light s**t up,” he wrote (he didn’t use asterisks).
Scheller concluded by addressing Col. David Emmel, commanding officer of the School of Infantry-East, with the expectation he was going to be arrested.
“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? Col Emmel please have the MPs waiting for me at 0800 on Monday. I’m ready for jail,” he wrote.
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