The U.S. Marine who called for accountability after the messy U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is risking a lot for fellow Americans, his parents say.
“He is an American war hero. He has fought for his men and women that follow him. He’s fought on the battlefield for them. I believe he has risked his life for his fellow service people and Americans. He is now risking his livelihood for them. He saw a misjustice happening at the top and he felt that they should be held accountable for it,” Cathy Scheller, Stuart Scheller’s mother, said on NTD’s “The Nation Speaks.”
Stuart Scheller’s father, Stu Scheller Sr., said support from fellow Americans will greatly help his son.
The Marine Corps will “win the battle,” he said. “But America is going to help Stuart win the war.”
Stuart Scheller was dismissed from command after publishing a series of videos calling for U.S. military leaders to step up and own the “obvious mistakes that were made” during the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The United States left over 100 Americans behind in the Middle Eastern country after completing the withdrawal on Aug. 30. Additionally, 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suicide bombing attack on the Kabul airport, which troops were holding for approximately two weeks to facilitate evacuations after the Taliban routed the U.S.-backed Afghan forces.
Military leaders have said they were shocked by how quickly the Taliban captured the country and were caught off guard.
But none have so far resigned and they have by and large painted the evacuation effort as a success, pointing to the over 120,000 people, primarily Afghan nationals, that the United States evacuated or facilitated the evacuation of before pulling out.
Stuart Scheller said he wanted senior leaders to admit mistakes were made. After being removed from command over his videos, he resigned in late August. He was thrown in the brig recently and remains there at this time. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5.
Stuart Scheller is suspected of violating four articles outlined in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including Article 88, which prohibits the use of “contemptuous words” toward superiors, a Marine spokesperson told Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas).
Stuart Scheller’s parents are advocating for his release and helping raise funds for his defense. They and the Pipe Hitter Foundation have raised over $2 million so far.
“I do know that he broke rank and I know that he knows that there are consequences for that. But he didn’t hurt anyone. He didn’t do any violent crimes. He spoke up on Facebook. And yes, there is a chain of command and there should be punishment for that,” Cathy Scheller said on NTD.
“But that chain of command that we saw broken, we also just saw broken on the Senate floor. That chain of command was broken. Our son has been given a gag order and thrown in prison and strip searched and thrown in isolation and is facing prison for breaking his chain of command. I’m fine if that’s the exact punishment that is taken out all the way across the board for anyone who breaks command,” she added.
Scheller Sr. said that the congressional hearings this week, which saw Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Gen. Kenneth McKenzie questioned sharply by members of Congress and appearing to lie about at least one matter, made evident that senior military leaders “are not accepting responsibility or accountability for their failures.”
Milley was asked by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) whether he would resign when informed military leaders had urged President Joe Biden to keep troops in Afghanistan but Biden chose to complete the withdrawal anyways.
“It would be an incredible act of political defiance for a commissioned officer to just resign because my advice wasn’t taken. This country doesn’t want generals figuring what orders we’re going to accept and do or not,” Milley said.
Milley later called the end of the war a “strategic failure” while Austin defended the evacuation effort, noting that it moved many people out of the country.
“Was it perfect? Of course not,” he said.