Foreign Affairs

US Marine officer resigns commission after being relieved of command for criticizing military leaders over Afghanistan withdrawal

Marine Officer Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller has resigned from his commission after being dismissed from command over his remarks about the U.S. troops withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller,¬†posted a video online questioning military leaders’ handling of the situation in Afghanistan which has led to the death of 13 service members who were involved in an evacuation mission.

Scheller, a Marine officer — who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, had posted a video to his Facebook page on Thursday, August 26, stating: “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.'”

He said in the video he was “willing to throw it all away” to publicly “demand accountability” from military leadership.

US Marine officer resigns commission after being relieved of command for criticizing military leaders over Afghanistan withdrawal

Scheller’s video was posted the same day that 13 US service members and more than 170 others were killed in an attack outside Kabul’s airport. His video went viral and sparked controversy, with some commentators praising Scheller’s notes about the operation and others criticizing him for calling out his senior leaders while in uniform and urging him to resign.

After the video was posted, Marine Corps spokesperson Maj. Jim Stenger said in a statement that Scheller had been relieved of command “due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command.”

“This is obviously an emotional time for a lot of Marines, and we encourage anyone struggling right now to seek counseling or talk to a fellow Marine. There is a forum in which Marine leaders can address their disagreements with the chain of command, but it’s not social media,” Stenger said.

After being relieved, Scheller wrote in a Facebook post that “my chain of command is doing exactly what I would do… if I were in their shoes.”

“I will not be making any statements other than what’s on my social platforms until I exit the Marine Corps. America has many issues… but it’s my home,” he wrote.

However on Sunday August 29, Scheller announced his resignation in a video posted on Facebook. He said;

“I’m currently not pending legal action and I could stay in the Marine Corps for another three years, but I don’t think that’s the path I am on. I’m resigning my commission as the United States Marine effective now,”

¬†“I have forfeited my retirement, all entitlements, I don’t want a single dollar.”

Scheller also recalled that his boss asked him about what he was trying to trying to accomplish by posting a video criticizing the Afghanistan withdrawal.

“Now it was a very tough question for me and my response was I want senior leaders to accept accountability,” Scheller said. All I asked for was accountability of my senior leaders when there are clear, obvious mistakes that were made. And had they done that I would have gone back into rank and accomplished what I wanted.”

Towards the end of the 10-minute video, Scheller warned of the consequence of going after stability and money, which, he said, can make a person “a slave to the system.”

“I don’t need a single dollar. I just need every single person that’s willing to go back outside the wire every single day to wear a blue collar, and just go into work every single day and feed their families,” he said. “Those are the people that I need. Follow me and we will bring the whole f****** system down.”

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