I’ve been thinking a lot about my last post, because as a conservative, my view seems to be a lone one. Looking at this situation I tried to break things down into a timeline and who said or did what and when. Then I assessed it based on my limited understanding of UCMJ, of the military, and any events similar to this that I recall. I tried very hard to view Lt. Col. Scheller’s actions through an apolitical lens, which is quite a challenge these days. My feelings of outrage about the lack of accountability of top generals and the Biden WH for the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle are very similar to Scheller’s, but (yeah, there are always those buts) my feelings aren’t what matters.
Bolstering the US military as an institution matters.
In our current hyper-partisan culture, coupled with the social media and news media rage machine spin war culture, each and every one of us is manipulated and influenced by this constant media incitement. We get the videos that go viral to stir up emotional responses. We also get a lot of inaccurate and often deliberately dishonest framing, to feed and fuel partisan views.
It’s easy to spot the spin crap on the other side, as I can attest, because after trying to understand the Dem spin information war since the 1990s, spotting dem and liberal spin seems second nature to me. I disagree with probably 99.9% of Dem and liberal spin narratives. It could be 100%, but perhaps a miracle will occur and there will be a Dem spin effort where they’ll say sometime that I agree with. Hasn’t happened yet, though.
The harder challenge is to spot the spin crap or inaccurate information from the side that feeds into my partisan political views. I’ve been very conservative my entire adult life.
I feel a great deal of anguish for Scheller’s parents, who have spoken out defending their son. Scheller served faithfully and with honor for over 17 years in the Marines, as an infantry officer. His father said Scheller did 5 deployments in that time. I’d imagine how the Biden administration misled this Afghanistan withdrawal debacle and the way several top generals and the Sec. of Defense paid lip service to the Biden spin effort felt like a betrayal and a disgrace to many servicemembers, who actually had skin in the game in Afghanistan and Iraq. Scheller’s father (around 3:00 in the above video) said after the suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport, his son snapped and was very angry. I felt a great deal of anger and a burning sense of outrage too and and I didn’t personally sacrifice anything in the “war on terror.” One of my sisters, a career Air Force vet, deployed to Afghanistan in the early years and one of my sons, who was in the Air Force, deployed to Iraq. Scheller’s parents went through 5 deployments with their son serving in the Marine Corps infantry – directly in harm’s way.
I understand Scheller’s anger. I also suspect that if Scheller had stopped posting videos to social media and abided by the gag order, he would not have ended up in the brig. He chose to disobey that lawful order. And here’s where there’s a bit of an information gap in my understanding – I wonder how many right-wing political types and pundits had contact with Scheller and if they influenced his decision to disobey the gag order. I wonder if they encouraged his efforts, made any promises to support his efforts, etc.
After a few days reflection on this situation, I still believe rules matter, I still believe blatant insubordination in the military can’t be ignored, and I believe that Scheller ended up in the brig for disobeying that gag order.
One of the things that bothered me was in the Ingraham interview (at 7:26) Ingraham asked Scheller’s parents about Senator Cotton asking Sec. of Defense, Lloyd Austin, why Scheller is being held in pretrial confinement. Austin appropriately did not answer. If Austin had weighed in, that is undue command influence in a pending case. Austin shouldn’t make any public comments on that case. Period. Ingraham foolishly was spouting that the Pentagon chief should be weighing in on a pending case. This is the spin world we live in – rules don’t matter, upholding institutional norms don’t matter. Only partisan spin incitement matters.