This Marine Battalion Commander Probably Burned Down His Career to Demand Accountability for Chain-of-Command Failures in Afghanistan

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

If you are a commissioned officer, going public with your concerns about how the military or your particular service is going is an activity nearly guaranteed to provide you all the fun and entertainment you can reasonably handle. However, where integrity and forthrightness are given a place of honor in lesson plans and speeches, the reality is that at senior levels, you are expected to shut up and toe the command’s line. You deviate from that norm at your peril.


If you disagree with racism being inculcated into the military, and you hold a command position, you don’t have the ability to voice any concerns about the very, very dark place that is taking us. (As an aside, how often do you think you can force young white, there I said it, white men to sit in a class and be ridiculed and humiliated because of their race and not have a non-trivial number of them say, f*** it, if you think I’m an oppressor, then I can be your huckleberry?) For instance, when Space Force Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Lohmeier wrote a book critical of the implantation of Marxist ideology into the military by command fiat, he was relieved of his command.

Sometimes, criticism can cross the line. I think Harry Truman relieving Douglas McArthur was necessary and showed an amazing amount of courage on behalf of Truman. Major John Singlaub deliberately set his career on fire, twice, by publicly rebuking Jimmy Carter. But what we see today is not principled, even if misguided, senior leaders like McArthur and Singlaub.

Instead, we’re beset with toadies and time-servers like Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley who will shamelessly parrot the Biden White House talking points and do whatever dumbf***ery they are told to do — no matter how many American troops get killed (see SecDef Austin and JCS Chairman Milley Show They Are Completely Devoted to Critical Race Theory at the Expense of Combat Effectiveness).


This last one shows just how subservient the military has become to the left. I don’t think any sane person thought evacuating out of Kabul was a better choice than Bagram, and yet we have Milley defending the decision as though it was self-obvious.

Today, on Facebook, we see what principles look like. I’m sure when Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller made this video, he anticipated that his days in command were numbered, but he did what more officers should do. He called out his chain of command for their failure to keep faith with their troops.

Good evening, my name is Lieutenant Colonel Stu Scheller, USMC, and current commander for an advanced infantry training battalion. 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. 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. 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. And I will say that as a person who’s not at 20 years, I feel like I have a lot to lose.

If you play chess, you can only see two-to-three moves out because there’s too many variables. 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. But I think what you believe in, can only be defined by what you’re willing to risk. So, if I’m willing to risk my current battalion commander 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, accountability from my senior leaders.

I going to start with, and I’m just going to use the Marine Corps, my…we’ll just stick with the Marine Corps. In the current fallout of Afghanistan, a lot of Marines were posting on social media. In response to that the Commandant posted a letter, which is the service chief of the Marine Corps. (See the letter here.) I want to read from that. It was dated 18 August, so only a week ago. The Commandant…and sir, you wrote “Some of you may be struggling with the simple question ‘was it all worth it? We want you to know that your service is meaningful, powerful and important. You fought for the Marine to your left and the Marine to your right. You never let them down.”
Then you go on to say that if we’re struggling, we should seek counseling. Which, you know, I get it. People have killed people. I’ve killed people, and I seek counseling, and that’s fine. There’s a time and place for that.

But the reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the Marine on the battlefield let someone down. That service member always rose to the occasion and has done extraordinary things. 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.’

If an O-5 battalion commander has the simplest live fire incident, EO complaint. Boom. Fired. But we have a secretary of defense that testified to Congress in May that the Afghan National Security Forces could withstand the Taliban advance. We have Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs — who the commandant is a member of that — who’s supposed to advise on military policy. We have a Marine combatant commander. All of these people are supposed to advise.

And 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?”

I have some battalion commander friends right now that are posting some weird things, and they are saying, you know, wondering if all the lives were lost in vain, all those people we’ve lost over the last 20 years.

And it goes on to say that you’re all part of a chain, while every link may not be tested, the strength of the chain is only as strong and its links you’ve got to be a good link. Something like that.

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. 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 am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders ‘I demand accountability.”


This is what leadership is about. If senior officers are not willing to push back against their political masters by resigning in protest, if need be, they have broken faith with the troops whose lives depend upon their judgment and integrity. A point has been reached where the military rank structure has devolved into a bizarre perversion of what a military organization should look like. Now, the higher you move up in rank, the less accountability you have. Where a junior officer gets burned down for minor errors, the general officer corps has become a troop of macaque monkeys engaged in perpetual group grooming.

There is no doubt that the decision to abandon Bagram and rely on the kindness of the Taliban for security at Kabul was a political decision, because doing the job right would have required moving about a division or so to Afghanistan to ensure the evacuation site was secure. Unfortunately, the politics of the Biden cabal would not allow for that. So rather than fight for the safety of the troops and the people seeking evacuation, the military leadership simply became another tentacle of the Democrat party apparatus, and Marines and civilians were sacrificed in the service of making Biden look like he has a clue.


LTC Scheller is right. If you won’t lay your rank on the table rather than participate in a criminal endeavor, you’re part of the problem. The next president needs to keep this in mind when looking at his military and trying to decide if he can trust them to do their jobs or not.



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