Navy veteran Stuart Scheller, who was fired and jailed after demanding accountability for the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, has criticized the leadership of the US military for lacking moral courage and carrying out plans to withdrawal with which they did not agree and which resulted in the death of 13 soldiers.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News ahead of the release of her book Leadership Crisis: How We Lost Trust in American Generals and Politicians, Scheller said, “President Biden has ordered a withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan, and he has chosen a public relations date of 9/11. So he ordered a drop of 2500 to 650 military troops and we did that before evacuating the US citizens. Our general officers did not back down. I was really upset about this. They later said they didn’t agree with it, but they followed the orders that were given.
Indeed, the then commander of US Central Command, Marine General Frank McKenzie, recently admitted in a Fox News interview that he believed Kabul would fall to the Taliban before the 9/11 withdrawal date and had advised against standing down, but executed him anyway.
When asked if he or other military leaders should have resigned in protest, McKenzie dodged the question, saying only:
I’m confident my assessments have gone up the chain of command – I’m sure the President has seen them. The President of the United States has to make decisions based on various factors. My contribution was certainly one of those factors and I appreciate the opportunity to have had this contribution. But the president will have to make decisions based on a much wider range of considerations.
Scheller in his book describes how he attempted to press charges against McKenzie, but was blocked by his chain of command.
He spoke to Breitbart News about the hypocrisy of no one holding McKenzie accountable but his chain of command firing him, silencing him with a gag order, then putting him in jail when he broke the gag order in continuing to post on social media.
“We have all this training in the military on moral courage – like formal semester courses, and I was just pointing out, like, ‘Hey guys, you’re not fulfilling your end of the bargain. I’m sick of talking , I want action. I want you to fulfill the values that you embrace,’ and I just haven’t seen that from my leaders,” he said.
Scheller said he filmed this video because despite the many mistakes made during the pullout, he knew the military would call it a crushing success and no one would take responsibility.
“I knew we were going to deviate and try to call it a success. And I just felt like service members deserved an accurate and timely assessment of failure. And it had to come from someone in a position of authority who knew what he was talking about. And so for all of these reasons, I decided to make a video holding my senior leaders to account,” he said.
Scheller, who served 17 years in the Marine Corps, said the Army’s promotion system produces leaders who demonstrate conformity rather than competence.
He said that in the corporate world, failed leaders are replaced. But in government bureaucracies, the individuals who get promoted are those who please their bosses rather than those whose performance warrants promotion.
“What happens in all these government institutions is that you realize that you have to impress your boss and if that boss has a goal other than the fundamentals of the institution, then you learn throughout your career that you just have to please your boss. . And what he does over time is he conditions people not to focus on the core values of the institution,” a- he declared.
“And so my theory, in the military at least, if I’m an infantry officer, I should be up against another infantry officer, and it should be a performance game. If I’m an F-15 pilot, same thing. Let’s go through an F-15 course and the best pilot is the one who gets preferential treatment for promotion, not the pilot who got the highest subjective rating from his boss,” he said.
Scheller also spoke with Breitbart News about how the current military leadership, of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, is not focused on the core values of the army.
“Obviously our leaders have the wrong orientation. I mean, Lloyd Austin came into office while the Russians were stopping at the Ukraine border. We were trying to pull out of one of the longest wars in American history. And after 100 days in office, he said he had identified the issues and decided that COVID was the biggest threat to the DoD, followed by extremism. As obviously his priorities are skewed,” Scheller said.
The fight must be the center of attention at all times. And obviously you need a Secretary of Defense to handle that. And Mark Milley is the same, [he’s talking] not just “white rage”, it’s about climate control. “Hey Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, like your job is to advise on military policy to win wars like climate control is not in your wheelhouse” but the reason they do is because people like them, for all the reasons I just described.
They are conditioned to give their boss what they want. And they look at their politicians and they see that, you know, equal opportunity or climate control or white rabies are big issues, so they have to talk about it. And what they should be doing is protecting the values of the institution they lead.
Scheller said no one has yet been held accountable for the botched takedown, even a year later.
“There were no senior military leaders who took any kind of responsibility, nor our politicians. I mean, the whole – the whole system failed,” he said. “No leader could stand up and say, ‘Hey, we screwed it up.’ And that’s just, I think, an indictment of the whole system and our politicians, our current politicians in place.
Scheller said he hopes Americans read his book to better understand the military and demand accountability.
“Americans feel they need to show their appreciation to the military, which the military appreciates. But at the same time, their lack of understanding…has allowed the military to drift because no one is holding them accountable” , did he declare.
“And they work for the American people, not for the president. They work for the American people. And so the American people need to understand the problem so they can start contacting their representatives. And I give a few ways the American people can get active and hold the military accountable. And so I hope the American people will read it, understand it, and educate themselves so they can start influencing change,” he said.
Scheller’s book comes out Tuesday, September 6.
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