Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, an infantry officer and former battalion commander, made headlines in August and early September after he posted videos on social media criticizing the military leadership and calling for accountability for the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
"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," said Scheller in his first video, posted on Aug. 26. "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.'"
"The reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the marines on the battlefield let someone down. 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 up.'" (Related: The government spent BILLIONS to equip Afghan forces, only for American military hardware to end up in Taliban hands.)
The day after Scheller posted his first video, military leadership retaliated by firing him from his position. Before his firing, he was the battalion commander for the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion at School of Infantry East at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
This retaliatory strike against him only increased his reputation, and he followed it up with several other videos criticizing the military leadership.
In one of his last posts on social media before he was jailed, Scheller acknowledged that his open criticism of military leadership could land him in hot water.
"What happens when all you do is speak truth and no one wants to hear it? But they can probably stop listening because … I'm crazy, right?" he wrote. "I'm ready for jail."
According to a military spokesperson, Scheller is being accused of four offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice:
Scheller is currently in "pre-trial confinement" in Camp Lejeune. He will have to go through an Article 32 hearing. This pre-trial hearing will determine whether there is enough evidence against Scheller to warrant a proper court-martial.
"The time, date and location of the proceedings have not been determined," read a statement from Training and Education Command. "Lt. Col. Scheller will be afforded all due process."
Scheller's father, Stuart Scheller Sr., has defended his son's freedom of expression. He described his son as a proud American who loves the Marine Corps and has served his country with distinction for nearly 17 years.
"He's asking for the same accountability that is expected of him and his men," said the elder Scheller.
"All our son did is ask the questions that everybody was asking themselves, but they were too scared to speak out loud," he continued. "He was asking for accountability. In fact, I think he even asked for an apology that we made mistakes, but they couldn't do that, which is mind-blowing."
The elder Scheller has also accused the military of attempting to put a "gag order" on his son.
"They had a gag order on him and asked him not to speak," he said. "He did, and they incarcerated him. They don't know what to do with him."
The elder Scheller continued by talking about how he has been approached by Vietnam War veterans who congratulated his son for his courage. "Because they too want to know: Was it all worth it?" said the elder Scheller.
"And by demanding accountability and honesty from his senior leaders, that's all he was asking. And the way the Marine Corps has dealt with it: They have now put him in jail."
Learn more about how the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan has threatened the U.S. by reading the latest articles at NationalSecurity.news.