A Marine officer went viral after he posted a video claiming senior U.S. military and civilian leaders are not “accepting accountability” for the handling of the chaotic troop withdrawal and evacuation in Afghanistan.
Lt. Col. Stu Scheller posted the video to social media just hours after a suicide bomber blast on Thursday killed 13 U.S. troops in Kabul, wounded at least 18 U.S. personnel, and killed at least 113 Afghan civilians near the gates of the Hamid Karzai International Airport.
“The reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the Marine on the battlefield let someone down,” Scheller said in the video. “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.'”
“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,'” Scheller said. “Without that, we just keep repeating the same mistakes.”
“Not making this video because it’s potentially an emotional time,” he continued. “Making it because I have a growing discontent and contempt for … perceived ineptitude at the foreign policy level.”
Remarkable video from Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller calling out senior leaders on Afghanistan. "People are upset because senior leaders let them down, and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying 'we messed this up.'" pic.twitter.com/rgtp8OncCX
— Dave Brown (@dave_brown24) August 27, 2021
Schneller’s video also referenced Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger’s letter to troops and veterans asking whether the nearly 20-year-long war in Afghanistan was worth it in the end.
Scheller was an active component during the noncombatant evacuation of U.S. citizens from Beirut in 2006 and later deployed to Ramadi, Iraq, in the subsequent year. Beginning in 2010, he spent a year in Afghanistan, where he led a team in Paktika and Ghazni province to destroy enemy explosive caches.
The marine’s public address could be a violation of military rules, according to Jim Golby, a 20-year Army veteran and an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
“I’m not sure the last time I’ve seen an active-duty battalion commander openly and directly challenge senior military officers, including the Commandant of the Marine Corps, in this way,” Golby told Stripes.com.
Scheller said he has no plans to resign, though he said the video uploaded on Thursday could risk the longevity of his career in the military.
“I think what you believe can only be defined by what you’re willing to risk,” he says. “I think it gives me some moral high ground to demand the same honesty, integrity, accountability from my senior leaders.”
The Biden administration’s top leadership has been roundly criticized by lawmakers, even including some Democrats . On Friday, a pair of GOP congressmen introduced an impeachment resolution against Secretary of State Antony Blinken over “a reckless abandonment of our nation’s interests, security, and values.”
In response to questions about Thursday’s explosion in Kabul, President Joe Biden conceded that he bore responsibility “for, fundamentally, all that’s happened of late.”
The intelligence community has defended itself amid questions of how the United States predicted the unfolding of events so poorly, as “numerous officials” reportedly insisted that “key intelligence assessments had consistently informed policymakers that the Taliban could overwhelm the country and take the capital within weeks.”
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio critiqued the Biden administration’s failure to anticipate the rapid invasion by the Taliban earlier this month, saying, “They decided to ignore these warnings & smugly tell everyone how smart & brilliant they are.”
The Washington Examiner contacted Scheller but did not immediately receive a response.
Author: Kaelan Deese
Source: Washington Examiner: Marine battalion commander calls out senior leaders for Afghanistan failures in viral rant