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?
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.
Oh, I see.
That bit about "the military doesn't have to follow illegal orders."
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.
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?
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.
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.