Marine who criticized Afghan pullout receives punishment

Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr., who posted video that criticized military leaders and the Biden administration for the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor-level charges on Thursday during his court-martial hearing.

He will receive a letter of reprimand and forfeit $5,000 of his pay for one month as a fine for his actions, according to Fox News. Charges included showing contempt toward officials, disobeying an officer, disrespecting officers, failing to abide by regulation, abandoning his duties, and displaying behavior unbecoming of an officer.

“This case represents more than Stu Scheller,” Tim Parlatore, who represents the Marine, told the court. “He showed the entire country the emotional roller coaster that a lot of vets are going through.”

“I think that the judge’s decision was very fair,” Parlatore stated. “He definitely considered all the facts and aggravation and mitigation. I think that this is a good, just sentence. So we are very pleased with the result.” Scheller has now resigned from the Marines and will not comment until after he officially leaves the service.

It should also be noted that the judge brought up the Jan. 6 riot in questioning Scheller’s prior comments which, he contended, may have been in several cases praising or at least complementary to the actions of the protesters according to Laura Ingraham on “The Ingraham Angle.” Scheller said his comments were taken out of context and that they were off-hand conversations. That line of questioning wound up not going anywhere in the trial.

(Video Credit: Fox News)

The judge, Col. Glen Hines, commented on Friday that he would have rendered a two-month forfeiture of pay but he took into consideration the nine days that Scheller spent in pre-trial confinement. He was set free from the brig last week after being arrested for purportedly violating an agreement to cease criticism against the military on social media.

Although the judge did not condone Scheller’s actions, he did note his 17-year career in the Marines and his outstanding service record which was taken into consideration during sentencing.

The prosecution had sought forfeiture of $5,000 in pay for 6 months and a letter of reprimand. Scheller could have lost 2/3 of his monthly pay for 12 months as well as a letter of reprimand if he had received the maximum penalty.

Hines said Scheller’s video showed a man who appeared “to be in pain,” “confused” and “significantly frustrated,” rather than a rogue and potentially violent Marine.

He described leaks to the press and the command’s pretrial confinement order as raising the “specter of unlawful command influence,” according to the Marine Times.

Eight witnesses testified on Scheller’s behalf Thursday, according to USA Today. They included three Republican politicians: U.S. Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, and U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina. Veterans who served with Scheller stateside and in Iraq and Afghanistan also defended him.

Scheller was relieved of duty in August after posting a viral video on Facebook and LinkedIn that heavily criticized the catastrophic bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul that resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. service members.

“Did anyone raise their hand and say, ‘We completely messed this up?'” Scheller asked in a video. “I’m not saying we can take back what has been done. All I asked for was accountability, for people to comment on what I said and to say, ‘Yes. Mistakes were made.’ And had they done that I would’ve gone back into rank and file, submitted, and accomplished what I wanted.”

“I did what I did because I thought it was in the best long-term interest of the Marine Corps,” Scheller said in court. “Going forward, I am still demanding accountability.”

“I think every veteran who served in Afghanistan is and should still be feeling pain from this situation,” Parlatore remarked. “He obviously exhibited his pain in a certain way, and I think that at this point he is going to go back and take some time for himself, some quiet time, and then figure out what he is going to do next in his life.”

Americans are outraged at the treatment of the decorated Marine for speaking the truth:


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