I liked to think that Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, a 17-year U.S. Marine Corp. veteran, and I share something in common: We both question authority.
Questioning authority is what i do for a living and, I hope, why many of you read these blogs.
The problem for Lt. Col. Scheller is that as a member of our Armed Forces he is not supposed to publicly question decisions made by the chain of command in the military. Well, on Friday, in what is now a widely-distributed video, he did just that when he chastised the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, plus some other generals, for some real bad moves in Afghanistan.
In particular, he questioned why our military walked away from the Bagram air base, a strategic and secure military airport in Afghanistan, knowing full well that it was not going to be easy to get our citizens, troops and allies out of that crazy country by using the international airport in Kabul.
Plus, it seems that we left about 1,000 of the really bad guys in jail at that base and they were quickly released by the Taliban when they took control. Now those lunatics will join the other lunatics in Afghanistan and use the weapons we gave the former Afghan army against us in some way or fashion.
Scheller's big mouth got him fired from the marines and, it appears, he is going to lose his military pension for speaking up. The bottom line is that there is no room in the military for soldiers to publicly disagree with their commanders. That is not how the military works.
But Scheller is absolutely right.
It is becoming incresingly clear that our military leaders blew it in both training the Afghan army, telling our political leaders everything was under control and creating a departure from that forlorn country that would safely get all Americans out. Once again, they seemed to get caught up in that much-hyped, but wrong (see Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia as some great examples) theory that America is always right and might is right.
My sense is that now-private citizen Scheller will soon be in big demand by groups around the country to further tell his story. He might even be convinced to run for national office.
If he does, and if he wins, one can only hope that he will continue to question authority, maybe even before these bad moves by a bunch of senior officers get more Americans killed.
Just my angle.
P.S. -- During the darkest days of the Civil War, when the North with seven times more people, all the money and the best weapons, were losing to a ragtag group of confederates, Lincoln kept firing his top generals until he found one who would fight: US Grant.