As it now stands, the only person to pay a price for President Joe Biden’s hasty and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan is the Marine Corps officer who publicly criticized the exit, which got 13 U.S. troops killed.
Former Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller said this week he had been formally discharged from the Corps. Scheller’s 17-year career as an infantry officer ended when he was issued a general discharge under honorable conditions, the lowest form of release above a dishonorable discharge, for multiple charges, including disrespecting and willfully disobeying superior officers. The decision cost Scheller his retirement benefits.
Scheller said late last week that out of respect for those same commanders he had eschewed media interviews about his case. But now, he added, he will talk, beginning with an interview with Tucker Carlson of Fox News on Tuesday.
On the contrary, those at the Pentagon behind the misguided drone strike that killed 10 Afghan nationals, including seven children, will, unlike Scheller, go on their merry way within the Biden administration.
As The New York Times recently reported, “None of the military personnel involved in a botched drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed 10 civilians will face any kind of punishment.
Initially, the drone strike was pitched to the public as a hit on terrorists who may have sought to attack other American troops. As the Times reported, however, “almost everything senior defense officials asserted in the hours, days and weeks after it turned out to be false.”
Now, accordingly, Defense Department leaders have labeled that attack a “tragic mistake,” blamed on “confirmation bias” by warfighters, the Times reported.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, as the Times noted, delegated the final decision on possible punishment to two senior commanders. He then approved their recommendation not to punish anyone.
“What we saw here was a breakdown in process, and execution in procedural events, not the result of negligence, not the result of misconduct, not the result of poor leadership,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters recently.
“So I do not anticipate there being issues of personal accountability to be had with respect to the Aug. 29 airstrike.”
So to be clear, Lt. Col. Scheller gave a major portion of his life in defense of his country, and when he criticized those whose dopey thinking got 13 Americans killed, he was incarcerated, called a nut, and eventually shipped out to civilian life.
Yet none of those who blatantly killed civilians, including seven children, will suffer nothing, not even a simple letter of reprimand.
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