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You remember him.
He’s the United States Marine who–while still on active duty–excoriated his chain of command regarding their decision to leave Afghanistan in August of 2021. There were several posts about it on Ricochet at, and just after, the time (some of them even by me) Here are a few of them:
Here’s the original video:
Net, net: He lost a great deal as a result of speaking out, not least of which was his seventeen-year, close to full-pension retirement, very distinguished, military career.
Since then, his life appears to have had its ups and downs. He wrote a bestselling book. His family fell apart. He spent some time in the brig. He was ordered into mental health counseling. He launched a website–who doesn’t? He was court-martialed and received a “general discharge under honorable conditions” one which indicates satisfactory performance, but a failure to meet all expectations of military conduct. He was encouraged to run for political office, but declined to do so.
And he now seems to have immersed himself in support of, and service to, military veterans in general, and those having difficulty re-integrating themselves into society as a result of the Global War on Terror in particular.
This, I find very commendable. I hope he never gives that up.
On the most recent Marine Corps Birthday (November 10, 2023) he wrote a post for The Federalist, Can America, and its Veterans, Find Their Purpose? Nothing I haven’t heard before, trust me. But bless him, he got it in front of millions of eyeballs which—these days—is what matters.
I see now that he is appealing the conditions of his discharge from the Marine Corps, and that he has a hearing scheduled on February 22 at the Washington Naval Yard. The question that he asks, in his Facebook post on the subject is, “What is Honor?”
I think it’s a pretty good question, especially in the circumstances.
Is Scheller honorable for having—while still on active duty—criticized the decisions made by his chain of command?
Or is someone like General Frank McKenzie, USMC, [Super-Honorably] Retired, the person who was the commander of CENTCOM at the time of the Afghanistan withdrawal, more worthy of the “honorable” designation?
Let’s be clear, McKenzie is a guy who’s been backtracking, one step at a time, in public, ever since he retired and was awarded his Marine Corps gold watch.
A year after Kabul fell, McKenzie met with Fox News’s Jennifer Griffith. He made it clear (by this time, he’d retired super-honorably) that he and others in the know had advised at the time against the actions eventually taken by the Biden administration.
I can’t help noticing his equivocation about “alternatives,” and how he dodges the question about whether he should have—after strenuously advising another path—put his career on the line and resigned when the administration failed to follow his advice. Then there is the bit about how the administration asserted that no-one thought Kabul would fall so quickly, when it’s readily apparent that many in the know knew exactly that and said so at the time.
Even more recently (just five months ago) General McKenzie USMC, Super-Honorably Retired, gave an interview to Fox News in which he said the following:
I believe history is going to view the decision to come out of Afghanistan in the way that we did and the manner that we were directed to come out as a fatal flaw.
I have a lot of regrets about how it ended in Afghanistan. I have a regret with the basic decision, which I think was the wrong decision. And I particularly regret that we did not choose to begin to evacuate our people, our embassy personnel, our American citizens and our at-risk Afghans at the time we made the decision to bring in our combat forces. I think that was a serious mistake, and I think that led to the events of August 2021 directly.
LtCol Stuart Scheller, USMC, Fired, put his career on the line to say exactly that, at a time when he knew what it would cost him.
General McKenzie, USMC, Retired and Super-Honorably Discharged, not-so-much.
What a disgrace to the uniform.Published in