Marine Commander Who Demanded Accountability Of Military Leadership Docked $5k, Issued Letter of Reprimand
Meanwhile, CNN beclowns itself. Again.
Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller knew when he made and posted on social media a video demanding accountability from his superiors that he was risking his 17-year unblemished military career and, possibly, his freedom. He also knew that he had to speak up.
The Biden catastrophe in Afghanistan, including the foreseeable and entirely preventable deaths of 13 U.S. military personnel, prompted Colonel Scheller to post the following:
This is what real leadership looks like. https://t.co/ScQFskzP1e
— Sean Parnell (@SeanParnellUSA) August 27, 2021
He wasn’t wrong. But, as I noted at the time, “when I first saw this video on Friday, I knew—as did Colonel Scheller—that his military career was over. Sure enough, he was swiftly relieved of his command.”
I don’t think anyone was surprised by that development nor by his subsequent court martial, including Colonel Scheller himself. He knew. And he did it anyway.
Colonel Scheller ended up pleading guilty to all charges, and let’s face it, he was guilty of all charges. He knew. And he did it anyway.
In the end, Colonel Scheller elected to a trial by a military judge and received what can only be considered a wrist slap, by any (but CNN’s) standard.
A military judge has sentenced U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller to receive a letter of reprimand and a loss of one month’s pay, $5,000, after he pled guilty to six misdemeanor level offenses for his criticisms of the military’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Fox News reported the judge’s sentence was far short of what prosecutors had recommended, which called for the letter of reprimand and forfeiture of six months of Scheller’s pay. The judge said he did not condone Scheller’s offenses, which included contempt and disrespect for superiors, but noted the Marine’s 17 years of military service and strong record up to that point.
. . . . The sentencing decision comes one day after Scheller pleaded to all six charges: contempt toward officials; disrespect toward superior commissioned officers; willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer; dereliction in the performance of duties; failure to obey an order or regulation and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.
Scheller’s attorney said the Marine felt that after so publicly calling for accountability from senior military leaders, he too needed to accept accountability and plead guilty to the ensuing charges.
Colonel Scheller will be leaving the military, but the question remains about whether or not he’ll receive an honorable discharge.
The judge also recommended the Secretary of the Navy gives Scheller either an honorable discharge or a general discharge under honorable conditions. The Pipe Hitter Foundation said the judge’s findings “send a strong message for an honorable discharge.”
With an honorable discharge, Scheller may keep all veteran benefits he is entitled to this point in his military career. With a general discharge under honorable conditions, Scheller would stand to lose some benefits.
An honorable or a general discharge under honorable conditions is all that should be on the table due to Colonel Scheller’s plea deal.
However, the current Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, is about as much of a woke political hack as Joint Chiefs head Mark Milley or DOD head Lloyd Austin, so who knows what he will decide. Del Toro may decide to go outside the plea deal (and he can) and pursue a dishonorable discharge. Even if the worst happens, though, Colonel Scheller certainly knew a less than honorable discharge was more than possible. And he did it anyway.
So that’s what actually happened and may yet happen. With this in mind, let’s–just for S&G–take a look at the CNN report on the effective wrist slap Colonel Scheller received. This is not to in any way diminish the import of a letter of reprimand on a pristine military record, nor to discount the true pain Colonel Scheller must feel at being separated from the Marines and his command, to both of which he is forever bound. But we all know, it could have been much, much worse.
And since it wasn’t, CNN churns up its incompetent spin machine to make the ruling sound far worse than it really is and to beclown itself in the process.
The headline is hyperbolic gold (archive link): “Marine forced to forfeit $5,000 in pay following conviction related to his videos criticizing the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.” “Forced to forfeit”? Hee.
It’s a judgment, so yeah, “forced to forfeit” is technically correct, but too funny. And $5k compared to what the prosecution was asking? Laughable. Colonel Scheller strikes me as a sensible Marine, one who certainly can afford to pay $5k for speaking his mind. And his “conviction” was based on his pleading guilty to all charges. Period.
The following line made me laugh, literally laugh, out loud: “On Thursday, Hines found Scheller guilty after he entered guilty pleas to all five charges he faced.” Erm, what? Colonel Scheller pleaded guilty, and Judge Hines “found” him (antecedent issues galore) guilty? My eyes can’t roll back far enough for this tortured logic, nor at the sentence construct itself, does CNN not have any editors left?
Line up the Pulitzer nominations for this keen and riveting CNN reporting:
Scheller appeared relaxed in the military court room on Friday morning. He was chatting with his attorneys and his parents, who sat on a bench behind him, and drinking coffee out of a disposable cup before court started.
Coffee! Out of a disposable cup! He appeared relaxed! His parents were there! Again, does CNN not have any editors?
At the end of the day, Colonel Scheller’s career as a Marine is over. As he knew it would be. But he did it anyway.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.