US Marine Relieved of Duty After Demanding 'Accountability' For Afghan Chaos in a Viral Clip
© Blogger photo Facebook/@Stuart Scheller/screenshot videoStuart Scheller to the American leadership
Kabul was hit by a series of explosions on Thursday that took the lives of over 100 people, including 13 US servicemen, mostly Marines. As of Thursday evening, US President Joe Biden was still standing firm in his decision to continue the military withdrawal from the country.
Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller said that he was relieved of command after publicly demanding “accountability” from senior US leaders over their actions and decisions related to the US military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
What Did He Have to Say?
In a viral clip that was shared over 38,000 times, Scheller addressed “the American leadership” just a few hours after 13 US service members were killed in a series of attacks in Kabul on 26 August.
“Not making this video because it’s potentially an emotional time,” the officer said. “Making it because I have a growing discontent and contempt for … perceived ineptitude at the foreign policy level.”
The Marine battalion commander said that he was ready to make a sacrifice of his 17-year-long career in the USMC Infantry to call on senior leaders to admit their failures in Afghanistan:
"I'm not saying we need 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 said that he was now hearing questions from his friends in the military about whether all the lost lives over the past two decades were worth it following America’s hectic withdrawal from the country that allowed the Taliban* to seize power.
“What I’ll say is, from my position, potentially all those people died in vain. We don’t have senior leaders who own up and raise their hands and say, ‘We did not do this well in the end,’ he said. “Without that, we keep repeating the same mistakes.”
Scheller, a father of three and a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, said that he was personally affected by the Kabul tragedy that took the lives of some people he was close to. According to the man’s biography on his command’s website, he started his military career with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment - one of the units now deployed to Kabul’s airport.
About 18 hours after his video was uploaded to Facebook, the Marine announced that he had been relieved of his command “based on a lack of confidence.”
“My chain of command is doing exactly what I would do… if I were in their shoes. I appreciate the opportunities AITB command provided. To all the news agencies asking for interviews… I will not be making any statements other than what’s on my social platforms until I exit the Marine Corps,” he wrote on Facebook.
Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger confirmed the development in a statement to The Washington Post, saying that Scheller was removed from his position “due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command.”
© REUTERS / US MARINESBritish Royal Marine Commandos and U.S. Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit work at an Evacuation Control Center (ECC) during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021
British Royal Marine Commandos and U.S. Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit work at an Evacuation Control Center (ECC) during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021
The Marine added in a follow-up post that he had received an “overwhelming response” to his plea, as thousands of people shared messages of support under the video, saying that this “needed to be said.”
The man admitted, however, that “multiple Marines” asked him to take the post down, saying “We all agree with you Stu, but nothing will change, and it will come at a huge personal cost to you.”
“Now that I’ve had time to process… I’ll offer this… we can’t ALL be wrong. If you all agree… then step up. They only have the power because we allow it. What if we all demanded accountability?” Scheller later said.
Officials confirmed to Fox News that among the 13 US servicemen who died on Thursday were 11 Marines, a Navy corpsman and an Army soldier. Dozens of Afghans were also killed by two reported strikes near the Kabul airport, where crowds of people have been waiting to be airlifted from the country following the Taliban’s takeover.
Following the blasts, President Biden expressed resolve to evacuate all American citizens and Afghan allies from the country by 31 August, despite reports from intelligence saying that this was highly unlikely.
* A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.