Rather than the triumphant exit of a successful imperial invader, the US government’s departure from Afghanistan was more akin to a dog leaving with its tail tucked between its legs. As Kabul fell weeks or months before expected, the State Department scrambled to get its personnel out of Afghanistan. US troops were called back to secure the airport in Kabul and help with the evacuation of US citizens, a slapdash and haphazard affair.
Adding insult to injury, 13 US servicemen were killed in a suicide bomb attack at the airport in the midst of their efforts to evacuate US citizens and Afghan allies. Millions of Americans were incensed with how incompetent the Biden administration looked in evacuating people. And the Taliban reveled in every minute of their victory.
It’s not surprising that many people spoke out forcefully against what transpired. But even active duty military officers criticized what they saw. And now one is going to pay for what he said.
Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, USMC, spoke out in a viral video against what he witnessed. And he called out military leadership, asking for them to be held accountable for their failures. Unfortunately Col. Scheller is not high enough on the totem pole to be able to speak freely, and so his superiors have decided to make an example of him.
Scheller’s chain of command essentially placed him under a gag order, one which he brazenly violated. In a recent Facebook post he excoriated senior military leadership and retired generals, including former Defense Secretary James Mattis and disgraced former Army general David Petraeus. As a result of his flagrant disobeying the gag order, he has now been confined to the brig at Camp Lejeune, awaiting a hearing. He has not yet been charged with anything, but his commanders are determining what to charge him with.
It’s pretty disgusting that military leadership would seek to make an example of a straight shooter rather than apologize for their own inept and incompetent behavior. But the name of the game in the military is not to rock the boat, rather than do what’s right. And so those who call out corruption, abuse, and incompetence will be drummed out, while the corrupt, abusive, and incompetent will continue being promoted.
It’s also pretty telling that military leadership would attempt to abridge Col. Scheller’s First Amendment rights, particularly as he hasn’t even been charged with a crime. But if you’re a senior officer in a standing army that isn’t authorized by the Constitution, I guess you can’t be expected to care about Constitutional rights. We’ll see how Col. Scheller ends up getting treated, but most likely the Marine Corps will throw the book at him.
While it’s sad to see, it’s also going to result in fewer officers speaking their minds, speaking truth to power, or doing anything to combat the wokeness running amok within the military. And our military and society will be all the worse for that.