A persecuted Marine officer has become a folk hero to conservatives. Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller went viral in August after he publicly criticized military leaders over the debacle in Afghanistan. Scheller particularly attacked senior commanders for not resisting the abandonment of Bagram Air Base, which occurred over a month before the US’ withdrawal from the country was completed. This echoed popular talking points about why our final exit from the country was so chaotic, since it had to be managed from Kabul’s civilian airport instead, which was close to the city center and difficult to defend. Critics say that if the US military had kept Bagram until the end, we would have had a more orderly departure.
Scheller’s criticism made him a martyr after he was relieved of command following his comments. He didn’t shut up, and vowed to expose the military’s dirty deeds for all the world to see. He was eventually arrested and thrown into the brig for violating a gag order the military had placed on him. This only increased his capital as a martyr – as well as funding for his legal defense fund.
Conservatives see him as a sign that military officers and enlisted men are ready to rise up against their woke commanders. In reality he doesn’t show that, however. Scheller’s only criticisms related to how the departure from Afghanistan was conducted, and insisting that we should have remained there. That’s not the America First position. Moreover, he doesn’t like Donald Trump or his movement, who are the very people helping him. He said this in a Facebook post:
President Trump. I was told by everyone to kiss the ring because of your following and power. I refuse. While I respect your foreign policy positions, I hate how you divided the country. I don’t need or want your help. You do not have the ability to pull US together. You may even win the next election. But your generation’s time is running out. Tell your son to stop tweeting about me. Your whole family knows nothing about US or our sacrifices. I could never work with you. I’d rather sit in jail and be released with a dishonorable than make compromises in my beliefs.
He got his wish to sit in jail — but he kept the support from Trump, too.
The Scheller saga illustrates a crucial point: The military is not on our side. Most would agree on this, but would stipulate that the enlisted men and junior officers are still among the good guys. Increasingly, that’s not true. The military — from generals on down to privates — are hostile to the historic American nation and work against its interests. There are plenty of exceptions, and we all know vets who are 100% solid guys and solid on the issues. But they seem to be the exceptions.
On face value, Scheller appears to be one of the good guys. He looks like an all-American chad who had the courage to face down his terrible commanders. But looking closely at his record, he appears to in fact be no more than an unhinged loyalist to the Empire who couldn’t believe his commanders followed their orders to leave Afghanistan. He even hates Trump for “dividing America,” a common trope among goofy centrists and Never Trumpers. And his reference to the fact that Trump’s “generation’s time is running out” could be a possible allusion to the Great Replacement knocking aside old white people. The new generation comes in every color and proudly serves in the Marines, after all! By every metric that matters, Scheller is no different from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley.
We all know that those in senior command are terrible, so I won’t belabor that point. What needs to be understood, however, is how the enlisted men and junior officers are on the same page as their woke commanders.
In one of the few cases of a senior general doing anything good, Major General Christopher Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne, ordered his troops to clear out a transport plane of several Afghan migrants so they could have room for a war trophy vehicle that had been captured from the Taliban. That seems like a much better use of military resources than yet more Afghan migrants coming to the US — but not to his troops. Several of his subordinates ratted Donahue out to the conservative media. They claimed the rank and file were appalled that the general valued the war trophy more than bringing unvetted Afghans to American shores.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Veterans were heavily involved in advocating for mass Afghan resettlement. In fact, they took the lead on this. Sixteen veterans groups signed a letter calling on Biden to evacuate all Afghan “allies” from the country. “Embedded in our service is an ethos to leave no one behind,” said Chris Purdy, Program Manager of Veterans for American Ideals. The New Yorker published a long profile of some of the veterans working day and night to flood America with Afghans. One of the main figures it highlights is Matt Zeller, a vet and former CIA spook. Counter-Currents readers may remember him from an earlier article where he became a conservative hero for criticizing Biden for not doing enough to extract tens of thousands of Afghans. Zeller served as the poster boy for this effort. In an interview, he said that Stephen Miller should be tried for war crimes for opposing Afghan resettlement. This opinion is, sadly, not atypical for these vets.
While many on the Right believe most of the troops back Right-wing candidates, the numbers tell a different story. A Military Times poll before the 2020 election found that more active duty service members preferred Biden over Trump, at 41.3% to 37.4%. Nearly half of serving troops said that they had an unfavorable opinion of the then-President. At the start of 2020, Bernie Sanders garnered the most military donations of any candidate, including Trump. In the 2020 general election, only those who listed the Marines and the US military as their employer gave more to Republicans than to Democrats. Donors who listed the Army or Air Force were split between the two candidates, while those who listed the Department of Defense or Navy donated overwhelmingly to Biden.
The military’s current demographics may explain this. It’s becoming increasingly less white, with 43% of active duty members being non-white today. Many of its white service members also marry outside their own people. Mixed-race marriages are far higher among servicemen than it is in the civilian population. An example of this is Rylee McCollum. McCollum was one of the 13 soldiers killed in the terrorist bombing at Kabul Airport on August 26. His black wife gave birth to their child a few weeks after his death.
The military is an environment that emphasizes diversity. Young men are placed alongside people of every race and given the latest in critical race theory training. It’s unsurprising that this is having a significant effect. And the military is doubling down on diversity efforts under President Biden.
The impact of the woke ideology on ordinary troops can be discerned in a recent Twitter brawl involving conservative Josiah Lippincott, a former Marine officer. Lippincott mocked General Milley’s physique, which drew the full ire of military Twitter. Male soldiers who proudly announce that they are sexual assault survivors ripped into Lippincott for daring to attack a general. Even some otherwise Right-leaning vets joined in the pile-on.
Many troops, regardless of their politics, will stand up for their corrupt leaders. Many of them ultimately believe in the “Globalist American Empire,” because they fought for it. Many of them become the biggest regime loyalists out of this misplaced faith. Of course, there are also many vets see through the bullshit and strongly oppose the Empire, but they’re not the ones who are turned into media darlings or run veterans’ groups. It’s the regime loyalists who get those roles.
That’s why it’s so important for the American Right to stop worshipping the troops. Stop turning nuts like Stu Scheller into heroes. Stop nodding along as some Marine screams for more Afghans and more wars. Stop telling some pen-pusher in uniform, “Thank you for your service.” This doesn’t mean that you should hate the troops; just be realistic about them. They serve the regime that hates you, and will likely use their weapons and skills against you if ordered to do so. That doesn’t deserve a salute.
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