Marine battalion commander Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller said in a video that he was willing to “throw” away his military career as he demanded accountability from senior leaders over the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“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,” Scheller said in the video posted Thursday on Facebook and LinkedIn that has since gone viral. The comments were noted by Task and Purpose.
“If an O-5 battalion commander has the simplest live fire incident, EO complaint. Boom. Fired,” he added. “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.”
“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,'” the 17-year Marine veteran said. (RELATED: ‘Dragged’: Meghan McCain Blasts ‘Every Single Person In Biden Administration’ Over Fall Of Kabul)
“Did anyone do that?” he added. “And when you didn’t think to do that, did anyone raise their hand and say ‘we completely messed this up?'” (RELATED: Conservative Political Commentators Blame Biden Admin For ‘Travesty’ After Explosion In Kabul)
“I’ve got battalion commander friends right now that are posting similar things and they are saying ‘wondering if all the lives were lost and it was in vain… last 20 years,'” Scheller continued. “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.'”
“And I will say that as a person who’s not at 20 years, I feel like I have a lot to lose … 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.” Scheller noted earlier in the video. “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 have been fighting for 17 years, and I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders ‘I demand accountability,'” Scheller concluded.
A terror attack Thursday outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan killed 13 U.S. service members and wounded 18 others.
Though initial reports claimed there were two suicide bombers involved in the attack, the Pentagon has since clarified that there was just one, NPR reported.
President Joe Biden’s deadline of Aug. 31 looms for the U.S. to withdraw from the country and evacuate American citizens.