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Military drops hammer on Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, announces six charges over criticism of commanders

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Image source: Department of Defense

The United States military plans to drop the hammer on Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, the Marine officer who criticized top military commanders for the role they played in the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.

What are the details?

The Marine Corps revealed last week that Scheller has been formally charged with six violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and will be tried before a special court-martial.

The charges against Scheller include UCMJ violations of:

  • Article 88: Contempt toward officials
  • Article 89: Disrespect toward superior commissioned officers
  • Article 90: Willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer
  • Article 92: Dereliction in the performance of duties
  • Article 92: Failure to obey order or regulation
  • Article 133: Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman

Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Training and Education Command, suggested the charges are directly related to Scheller's violation of the military chain of command by airing his grievances on social media.

"In the military there are proper forums to raise concerns with the chain of command," Capt. Stephenson told the Marine Corps Times. “In a general sense not specific to any case, posting to social media criticizing the chain of command is not the proper manner in which to raise concerns with the chain of command and may, depending upon the circumstances, constitute a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

Scheller was released from military jail last Tuesday. He was sent to the brig for pre-trial confinement after allegedly violating a gag order that ordered him to stop publicly discussing his case.

Why so tough?

Scheller is in hot water, not only for publicly criticizing his commanders, but for repeated embraces of the word "revolution," according to legal documents leaked to Task & Purpose.

However, Tim Parlatore, one of Scheller's attorneys, told Task & Purpose that Scheller has never advocated for actual violence.

"At no time has Lt. Col. Scheller ever advocated any violent overthrow of the government or any other insurrection," Parlatore said. "He does believe that there does need to be a change in the leadership, both the military and the political class, which is what he was referring to in all of these things."

The military is also reportedly upset over Scheller's promise to file charges against Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., the head of U.S. Central Command, over the terrorist attack outside the Kabul airport in August that resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. service members and 169 Afghan civilians.

Scheller's next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 14 at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, according to Task & Purpose.

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