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Friday, September 17, 2021

Recap: September 17, 2021

 

Seriously, I'm not going to get any credit for NOT mentioning the whole Hi I'm a rap star and my cousin knows a guy who has swollen nuts so anyway do your own research thing?

No?

Okay, well, then let's get right to it. 

Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, 

Seventeen years of service. From what I can see of his decorations he must have been a fairly decent Marine. 

He's right now busy destroying his entire career in a very public manner. 

The guy lost his shit over the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

A lot of us wish it had been done better, but as I've repeatedly noted: those who quit and retreat from the battlefield don't get to dictate terms. 

Biden could have done a better job. 

So could have Trump. 

So could have Obama.

So could have Bush. 

This is the nature of war. This is the nature of leaving a war you haven't won. I know they teach Marines about Vietnam, this guy should have paid more attention. 

I'm not saying it's right or wrong. I'm saying this is how it is. 

You don't have to like it. I don't have to like it. Lieutenant Colonel Scheller USMC doesn't have to like it. But the difference is that you and I can say whatever we want, publicly, privately and there's not much anyone can do about it.

But the rules are different for Scheller. 

He's an active duty Marine. An officer. His job is to lead by example. Period. No exceptions. No excuses. 

And so long as he's wearing that uniform, his job is to shut the fuck up and soldier. 

He doesn't have to like it. 

When I was an active duty officer, I served under George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and I'm going to tell you that it was very, very personal to me. Rumsfeld, that son of a bitch, lied us into this war. I watched him do it. As an intelligence officer, I knew those fuckers were lying. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Powell, all of them. I knew it. We all knew it. We knew those dirty rotten fuckers were full of it. But my job was to shut and soldier. To do the best I could with what I had and lead my people in accordance with military law, custom, and tradition. 

And I did. To the very best of my ability. Without complaint. Every minute of every damn day. 

What's that? 

Oh, I see. 

That bit about "the military doesn't have to follow illegal orders."

Heh heh.

Yeah, about that, the orders weren't illegal. 

See, the Constitution doesn't say shit about the President or the Vice President or the Secretary of Defense or any of the people in charge having to tell the truth. 

Go look for yourself. 

No where in our laws does it say that the President and Congress can't start a war on a lie. 

In fact, the way this works if you're in the military is that the President and Congress get to define what truth actually is. And trying to correct them on it has very unpleasant consequences. 

Cynical? 

Oh, you damn right I'm cynical. 

You have no idea how cynical I am. 

But that's how it is. You can maybe think otherwise if you're a junior troop, all shiny and new. But a Lieutenant Colonel with 17 years of service? Yeah, that guy knows better. There is no way that he doesn't. He knows what his job is. The Marine Corps is damn good at making sure you know. 

We work for the President of the United States of America. 

He says invade, we invade. 

He says retreat, we retreat. 

And it's our job -- literally our job -- to lead our troops in either direction with equal skill and fidelity. 

Shut up and soldier. That's the job. 

As an officer, you can't live with that? Then resign. Resign first.

As enlisted, wait to the end of your enlistment. 

Those are your options. 

Then you can say whatever you like. 

If you go back to the beginning of this blog, the very first day I started writing professionally, you'll see that it started the day after my retirement from the service. And not one minute before. I couldn't stand the son of a bitch in the White House and I despised what he had done to the country I had sworn to give my life for. But so long as I wore the uniform I did my duty, I led by example, and I carried out his lawful orders with fidelity, skill, and enthusiasm. 

Because that's the job. 

You know, I see an awful lot of former military say that their oath never ends. And then I see those same folks say things that aren't all that dissimilar from the insubordinate actions of Lieutenant Colonel Scheller -- if indeed their oath is still in effect. 

You say your oath is for life?

Really? 

Which part of your oath? All of it? Or just some mumbling about enemies foreign and domestic and you get to define who those enemies are? 

Because if your oath, all of your oath, is still something you consider yourself bound by, well, fellas, I guess you'd best shut the hell up about your elected officials. 

There comes a day when you are no longer bound by that oath. 

I spent two and a half decades living up to that oath every day, and that's enough. 

The day after my retirement was official, I started writing publicly about politics, because then I was a civilian and I had the right to say as I please. Just like any other civilian. And that's when I could call the president a son of a bitch to his face. And did. 

Nowadays, I'll say as I please. And do. 

Lieutenant Colonel Scheller has every right to detest his Commander-In-Chief. 

However, so long as he's wearing that uniform that's where his freedom of expression ends. 

His public statements, his appearance on Fox News and various other broadcasts, disparaging the elected government of the United States, his Commander-in-Chief, his superior officers, that is gross insubordination and a violation of half a dozen articles of the UCMJ. 

He's a disgrace to the Corps.

He has dishonored his uniform and his oath.

And more than that, he has pissed on the very ideals of the Constitution he claims to uphold. 

Now, some have suggested that this officer has suffered a mental break. 

I don't know about that. I'm not a mental health expert.

He might appear irrational to you, but the problem is with MAGAs and some officers like this is that it's hard to tell. Some of these guys are wrapped so fucking tight and are so utterly gung-ho that outside of a very specific environment they appear to be insane. 

But inside that environment, well, they are what you need when the job is war. 

Guys like this, some of them, they can't function outside of war. 

They can't return to civilian life. 

I think that's what you're looking at here. 

That's why their marriages fall apart. That's why they end up estranged from their kids. That's why they drink and turn to drugs and maybe put a pistol in their mouths. That's why they sign up with some thinly disguised mercenary outfit while pretending to be a "security contractor" and spend the rest of their lives murdering people for money in a foreign land. Or become a cop here

That's why they end up smashing their way into the US Capitol, in the middle of an insurrection, in the name of some wannabe fascist. That's how a guy who spent his whole life sworn to the defense of the nation finds himself beating a cop to death with the American flag.

Insane? 

Sure. Probably. I dunno. When everyone is insane, what's sanity? 

Like I said, I'm not a mental health expert. But war is by definition insane. And when you spend your entire life in it, well, maybe some of it rubs off. 

Doesn't matter. It's not an excuse. 

This kind of gross insubordination cannot be tolerated in the ranks. 

Scheller, whatever his mental state, he knew what the consequences of his actions would be. 

And it's time to pay the price. 


See you tomorrow. 








53 comments:

  1. Thank you. I didn't serve but dammit I know history. You are on point as usual. Thank you for your insight and welcome home.

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  2. Yup. Wore the uniform proudly from 68-72.

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  3. Clear, concise. Thank you, sir.

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  4. Concise, and clear
    Thank you, sir.

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  5. As an Officer you DAMN WELL lead from the front! I was an Officer in thevRAF for 22 years. I went t war 4 times, My Leadership styyle is: Overv the top gus FOLLOW me!

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  6. BRAVO!! Thank you for speaking out,Jim!!!

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  7. Absofuckinglutely. There is no leeway here. If he's active duty he must follow the rules, and the rules are you shut your mouth and follow orders.

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    1. My husband spent 20 years in the Navy and Army. Much of what he did in the Army was classified as Secret as late as 45 years after the fact, he would not even tell me. He said that was what he swore to, so must maintain. He even had a bullet wound in his leg that was not on his final DD214 that he swore was a dog bite, and I know what a bullet wound looks like! Much of what he did was probably not what civilians would think was regular military actions, but if he had no choice and was ordered he would do what he was ordered to do. He did have refusal rights on actions done by "Men in black" mandvi dont mean the movie! But then they were not his superiors giving him orders, strictly voluntary. He turned some of them down, as had to operate with no Military ID and no guarantee would be rescued if things went south. He knew guys who did those and were never seen again. But then they weren't Military operations. This fool will get eaten up by the system eventually, he wont be trusted by any legitimate organization.

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  8. I served under Nixon, Ford, and Carter. Like you, I was intel. Like you, sometimes I knew that what they were saying was an outrage, but I 'soldiered' on. I met Ford once. Seemed like a nice enough guy and he was my Commander in Chief, so I did what he told me to do. I didn't necessarily like it or think it was the best course of action, but I did it because I took that oath. I got out in '78. They tried to get me to come back in '82. There were a lot of reasons that I refused to return, but one of them was exactly what you laid out here: I would have to work with whatever they laid in front of me, most notably President Reagan. The idea didn't sit well and that contributed to my decision to stay a civilian. Well said, as usual.

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  9. Yup. Period. No exceptions. No excuses.

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  10. Re: the guy with the swollen testicles. Stephen Colbert said that’s why he got his vaccine in his shoulder.

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  11. My dad was an intelligence officer in the USAF and worked at the Pentagon from 1973 until his retirement in 1979. Fast forward to 2006 and Dick Cheney was on the news for some kind of interview and I was sitting with my dad. I said Dad that man creeps me out, there is an evil vibe about him. My Dad - who never - ever talked about what he did in the Air Force - not even when I had an opportunity to take a trip to Russia in the 1980's when Glasnost was opening the Iron Curtain - he only showed me a letter from his always locked file cabinet that said I was not allowed to go to any socialistic or communistic country with out prior approval from the US Government - My dad looked me in the eye and said Caroline you have no idea - I had to work for that son of a bitch....then he pressed his lips and said no more. He has passed on - but I really wish I had the story on that one.

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    1. Oh, man, wouldn't we all. My dad would return from a few weeks at sea, and when I asked what they did, his reply was always, "Watched the waves."

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    2. We used to ask him what he did in the Pentagon and he said telephone budgets. After the first Gulf War and the news channels were televising the smart bombs and the play by play there was a leak in the dam...but only if it was on TV and he would tell you what it was and how it worked. We were stationed at Elmandorf AFB from 1968 to 1973 and once there was a SR22 that had to emergency land at the base. He put us kids in the car and we drove to the other side of the base to the far end of the field to get a look at it. Incredibly brave in retrospect. I am not positive what he did but it had much to do with Satellite reconnaissance.

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    3. Elmendorf is where I finished my career in 77-78. I saw the SR71 in Mildenhall, right after the record flight from NYC to London. Our craft shared a guard with the SR71 and we threw darts with the crew in dayroom. Your post reminds of those days.

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  12. Powerful and moving comnentary.

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  13. Hey Warrant, I'm as sick as you are of the Repukes who are as stupid as crap jelly sandwiches, including Zuckerburg. I love your writing, your perspectives---especially on Texas and its denizens, and on the world in general. I don't read (or even like) science fiction, but I like your writing and the way you phrase things, so keep it up. And to help you along, I'm sending a little something to add to the coffers and help in the fight. And in the event that you get bounced from FaceySpace, you can continue to needle people from here, and I'll be here right along with you. Keep it up, keep up the faith, and GO NAVY!!

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  14. By and large, I agree with everything you write here. Save for one thing - if you get directives, orders, guidance, etc from above, and you think it's the wrong thing to do, *AND* it's not a time critical life or death situation, then I have always believed I have a right, even an obligation, to object. Not in public, but up my direct chain of command. And with the complete understanding that when my bosses have heard my objections, they can tell me "shut up and soldier" and I do exactly that. Yes, you have to be willing to accept the consequences, but sometimes there is a real problem with an order, and *somebody* has to raise the flag and make sure it is known.
    Like, oh, say your Comm Sqdn commander wants to please the Wing Cmdr during an exercise, and tells the radio shop to bypass the crypto hardware on the Command Post so the colonel can talk to his F-16 pilots when the keys are being re-synched. Sometimes you gotta stand up and object before you make that choice between soldiering on or resigning.

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  15. You are absolutely correct re: Lieutenant Colonel Scheller.
    Taking that oath should mean something, and violating should as well. I am disgusted with the likes of Scheller, Flynn, et. al. They should all lose any VA benefits and pensions for their behavior.

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  16. Bless your work Good Sir
    Thank You

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  17. Thanks for this, Jim. I hear you loud and clear. I joined the AF in '79 and got out in '83 almost exclusively because of Reagan. I'm from Southern California, and I saw first hand how he damn near destroyed my home state as Governor. I hate him with the hate of a thousand suns.

    I saw what was happening with him as President while I was in. It was a tough choice, but I couldn't see myself being quiet about him, as things started coming out that only the military knows about first. If Carter had won, I'd have done at least one more enlistment. With the moronic puppet in there, I had to leave.

    I knew what and where my limitations were in maintaining my Oath, in regards to him. I had zero issue following the rest of it, and was glad that I served. That said, I kept my mouth shut for 2 more years after I got out, until my service was fully complete. I was one of those people who actually read up on the Oath and the UCMJ.

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  18. Clear, bright light on what is happening. Refreshing. Thank you.

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  19. Thank you for writing about this guy. I saw a video of him talking about giving his wife some kind o 72-hour deadline. Then yelling "You don't know what I'm capable of". He mentioned his "followers" a lot. His entire rant was unsettling. As was the familiarity of his speech patterns, tone, and cadence. He sounded like my brother, who coincidentally was the commander of the same battalion (the 3/2) 17 years ago. I can only hope the USMC steps in to keep this guy's family safe from him.

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  20. Another issue is that he did what he did while wearing his uniform. I don't know what the Marine version of it is, but AR 670-1 in the Army is VERY clear what you CANNOT do while in uniform. And what he did easily falls under that.

    Sadly this rule seems to not be enforced much. Just prior and while I was in Afghanistan back in 2006-07, USAF types who were very tied to the Religious Right (Like Focus on the Family based not far from the Colorado Air Force Academy) would routinely show up at religious themed functions in full uniform and espouse stuff that should have got them shit-canned.

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  21. RE: "As an officer, you can't live with that? Then resign. Resign first.
    As enlisted, wait to the end of your enlistment.
    Those are your options."

    I disagree. No matter how few options you think you have, you always have four more options than that: 1) call the Chaplain, 2) call the IG, 3) go over the wall, or 4) kill yourself. The first will probably be harmless, the second will probably be career-impairing, the third will almost definitely be career-impairing and could potentially involve years making large rocks into smaller rocks, and the fourth will definitely end your career if it doesn't end your life.

    This guy has simply discovered a new hybrid use case combining #1, #2, and #3.

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  22. As others have said - on point, sir!

    Thank you!

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  23. The numbers who cannot turn off Battlemind are legion. Being stateside make no sense to them. Despite being blown up and with PTSD out the yinyang, they want to go out for another deployment. Because THAT world makes sense to them and it is very clear -you do what you are told. Stateside is crazy making because nothing is clear, people want them to FEEL something when they have been trained to stick emotions and bad pictures in their heads in a box and lock it. Many a service member has frozen in a panic in my office “ someone, just tell me what to do!” when it is all too much. Jim, you have described this state of being with great descriptive insight for the civilian. Thank you.

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    1. I understand what you're saying completely. My husband had very few friends who were big military. He felt they would understand his quirks as he was 50% ptsd due to participation in the front lines of 3 wars. However he was quite aware of the dangers of too much war. One if his friends volunteered 4 times for tours of Vietnsm in the mid 60s. When he wanted to go back a 5th time even the Army refused to let him! He got a medical retirement and drank himself to death. There is a lot of that, being more acceptable than shooting yourself, though a lot of that happens too. Some things no person can do without being emotionally distroyed.

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  24. Well said, and thank you for your service.

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  25. The worst part is that when this guy gets disciplined for his insubordination that he will be treated as a martyr by Fox and other RW media.

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  26. Too Much Honesty
    Can't Maintain Consciousness

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  27. I was stationed at Plattsburgh AFB in upstate NY. A bunch of us had gathered in a friend's dorm room just before Nixon's resignation speech, because they had a decent color tv. First Sgt. walked down the halls warning that he didn't want to hear anything until 2 minutes AFTER it was over because until then, he was still OUR Commander In Chief, by gawd! We were all pretty mum. Finally Nixon's speech ended. And there were those moments of silence our of us before the cheering started. As I recall, it didn't last very long either. I still wish Ford hadn't pardoned him.

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  28. That is one righteous rant.

    I approve.

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  29. Typo for constructive feedback. Feel free to delete after but :

    "But so long as I worn my uniform I did my duty.."

    should be wore my uniform.

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  30. Modern war is a racket. That has never been more clear than right now (see Afghanistan and Iraq). Soldiers are de facto thugs for the war-gangsters and de facto terrorists (see the 7 dead children the U.S. military left as a parting gift to the people of Afghanistan). It's nothing to be proud of. There's no honor in it. Without obedient soldiers, the war profiteers and tyrants are just impotent crazy people; with them, they become weapons of mass destruction. Every military man should speak up against criminality and madness where he finds it; otherwise, it will just continue forever.

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  31. I agree with your writing and thank you for your efforts. But I think the withdrawal from Afghanistan could have been much better managed. My amateur's knowledge (and I stand to be corrected) is a planned withdrawal goes:
    Get your own civilians out;
    Get your collaborators ("quislings") out;
    Get your heavy equipment out;
    Get your troops out.
    I would have thought, given the time available, things could have been done in this manner. Instead they were done (or not done) in the reverse order. My contacts suggest the military was waiting for orders which came too late.

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  32. Another interesting read, Chief.

    On a separate but, IMO, related issue, and if you'll forgive my asking, what is your opinion about the revelations of the lengths that CJC Milley want to isolate the CinC between the election and Inauguration Day? On the one hand, I feel that Putin's Putain"s apparent mental state made Milley's actions at least appear defensible to this geriatric 4-F. OTOH, given how much of our society appears to hinge on all of us following mutually-agreed norms, I worry about a future CJC deciding to overrule a president that he, for instance, felt was too weak on the big, bad threat of the day.

    I was nervous about the then-president's mental state at the time; now I worry about what effect the precedent that Milley set may have in the future.

    I suspect that I'm not the only reader who would appreciate your take on this.

    Thanks!

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  33. Another interesting read, Chief.

    On a separate but, IMO, related issue, and if you'll forgive my asking, what is your opinion about the revelations of the lengths that CJC Milley want to isolate the CinC between the election and Inauguration Day? On the one hand, I feel that Putin's Putain"s apparent mental state made Milley's actions at least appear defensible to this geriatric 4-F. OTOH, given how much of our society appears to hinge on all of us following mutually-agreed norms, I worry about a future CJC deciding to overrule a president that he, for instance, felt was too weak on the big, bad threat of the day.

    I was nervous about the then-president's mental state at the time; now I worry about what effect the precedent that Milley set may have in the future.

    I suspect that I'm not the only reader who would appreciate your take on this.

    Thanks!

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  34. Pretty public career suicide. That in itself is evidence the guy is off his rocker. Too bad, I doubt the Court Martial will take that into account.

    EMH

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  35. I have yet to find a single time you have ever posted a single thing that doesn't make 100% absolute, inarguable sense. Even the things I disagree with (which are few and far between).

    I so desperately with more people had your common sense and wisdom and ability to dissect an issue with the precision of a brand-new scalpel.

    You need to write a book. No, *many* books.

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  36. I was frozen last week for laying on my criticism about the planned obsolescence of motherboards in electronic sewing machines. Apparently the algorithm took issue with the word “mother”.
    Do you ever get to come back?

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  37. Jim, I'm grateful to read your "nail-on-the-head" observations every day that you take the time, trouble and energy to compose them. Thank you.

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  38. I'm SO glad to be able to read you again. I deleted Facebook years ago, when I realized how completely toxic its design and policies are- what maximizes "engagement" for platforms destroys people and communities. Not even accessing people I want to read was worth "engaging" there, so I'm really glad you've brought your daily stuff back to your own site :)

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  39. Just a quick observation, but the working definition of "Lt. Colonel" is "too fucked up to be an ACTUAL Colonel

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