A U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel has been fired from for posting a video wherein he demanded "accountability" from senior military and political leaders for their failures in Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, who posted the video on Facebook, said on Friday that he been relieved of his duties and will leave U.S. service soon.
Scheller posted the video on Thursday, hours after 13 U.S. service members, including 11 U.S. Marines, were killed alongside 170 Afghans in a suicide bomb attack at the airport in Kabul. The decision once again shows the utter desperation of the US leadership in proving that the decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan wasn't wrong.
Fired for Being Outspoken
Scheller posted the four-minute, 45-second-long video to Facebook in which he can be seen in his military uniform. In the video, he rips into military leadership following the deadly suicide bombing at Kabul airport on Thursday.
"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.
"I have been fighting for 17 years," said Scheller, then commander of the advanced infantry training battalion. "I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders: 'I demand accountability,'" he added.
Scheller didn't name any of the senior military leaders, but straightaway pointed fingers at them. He also said that he knew one of the soldiers killed in Kabul in Thursday's blast, but at the same time clarified that he wasn't making his video "because I have a growing discontent and contempt for ... perceived ineptitude at the foreign policy level, and I want to specifically ask some questions to some of my senior leaders."
"I'm not saying we've got to be in Afghanistan forever," he added, "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?'"
Making Seniors Furious
Scheller's observations and the direct attack on the military leadership didn't go down well with his immediate seniors. The video went viral on social media but he was soon fired. Hours after posting the video, Scheller on Friday wrote on Facebook that he had been "relieved for cause based on a lack of trust and confidence as of 14:30 today."
"My chain of command is doing exactly what I would do ... if I were in their shoes," said Scheller, who has refused to speak to media outlets until he had formally leaves his position.
Scheller commands the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion and has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Marine Corps also announced on Friday that Scheller was being relieved "due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command," according to Task & Purpose.
"When my Marine Corps career comes to an end, I look forward to a new beginning," Scheller wrote. "My life's purpose is to make America the most lethal and effective foreign diplomacy instrument. While my days of hand-to-hand violence may be ending ... I see a new light on the horizon."
Scheller's posted the video on Facebook less than a week after Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger wrote a letter to the force acknowledging that some Marines may be struggling with questions of whether or not their service and sacrifice was worth it.