Washington Examiner breaking news reporter Kaelan Deese has a disturbing update on Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller, who last week posted the video seeking accountability for the fiasco in Kabul from his superiors in the chain of command. So far as we know, Col. Scheller is the only military or civilian official to have been held to account. In an update last week, I noted his statement that he had been relieved of his command.
Deese’s update derives from social media posts by Col. Scheller himself. Deese does not vouch for the accuracy of the developments that Col. Scheller notes or anticipates. Rather, with the exceptions of the quotes from the Corps spokesman and Corps Commandant, Deese frames these as Scheller’s claims:
• He has lost his rank (i.e., he is a former Marine Lieutenant Colonel).
• He speculates he might be court-martialed.
• He states that “[t]he Marine Corps will assign an investigating officer. Most likely a Colonel.”
• “Once the investigating officer finalizes his recommendation, the Marine Corps will decide if they should pursue court-martial.”
• If court-martialed, “I will be found guilty and will probably do some jail time. This will provide me a valuable opportunity to read, write, and contemplate.”
• The Marines have confirmed that Scheller’s “situation is currently under investigation” according to Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for the Training and Education Command. Stephenson declined to provide further details to the Examiner on Wednesday.
• Stephenson’s statement continues: “The Marine Corps is not providing any additional information regarding Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller. His situation is currently under investigation and being handled appropriately by his chain of command, and therefore, we cannot comment further.”
• Scheller addressed Corps Commandant Gen. David H. Berger on Facebook: “I understand you want to court martial me.” On Wednesday, Scheller added, “General Burger isn’t allowed to comment on the situation or else it will appear as ‘undue command influence.'”
• Scheller said he was asked by his commanding officer to be evaluated by mental health specialists on Monday and complied with the order. On Tuesday, he submitted a written request to resign from the Corps to the secretary of the Navy.
• The Examiner contacted the Defense Department for comment but has received no response.
Scheller posted a copy of his August 31 resignation request here. He gives his rank as Lieutenant Colonel. He seeks to resign effective September 11.
Checking his Facebook page, I see he has posted a statement this morning. He writes in part: “I want to clarify the purpose of this whole endeavor: accountability. Without accountability, Marines (Americans) cannot heal and the Marine Corps (America) cannot evolve as an organization. I must acknowledge that the rage escalated in my body very quickly, and perhaps my emotions didn’t always provide the rational clarity the situation required. But maybe… every once in a while… a little rage is required too.” Whole thing here.
UPDATE: I have been given to understand that Col. Scheller has not “lost his rank” and that he cannot lose rank at all, unless he’s court-martialed and the rank is formally removed and/or reduced by the Secretary of the Navy.