The parents of the Marine officer who is jailed after posting a scathing video about the botched Afghan withdrawal slammed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Gen. Frank McKenzie – and called for their resignations.
Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller has landed in the brig after he ripped into military leadership following the devastating suicide bombing at the Kabul airport, which killed 13 US service members and scores of Afghans.
The officer announced he was resigning and walking away from a $2 million pension after 17 years of service.
His parents, Stuart Scheller Sr. and Cathy Scheller, said in an interview on “The Ingraham Angle” on Tuesday that their son is being unfairly punished as he sits in solitary confinement at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC, Fox News reported.
They expressed their anger at Milley, Austin and McKenzie, the commander of the US Central Command, saying they refused to take accountability during their earlier appearances at a Senate hearing.
“Our son called for accountability. Throughout the hearing today I don’t feel like they accepted accountability,” Scheller Sr. told host Laura Ingraham.
“I am extremely disappointed. It’s no coincidence in my opinion that they put a gag order on [Stuart Jr.] and they put him in prison the day before they had to appear in front of senators – and tomorrow in front of congressmen,” the father said
“I think that is fairly an act of cowardice,” he added.
The officer’s mother said he is being held in “pretrial detention,” but has not yet been given a trial date or charged with any crime, adding that he has been unable to contact them besides a short phone call to her to help him get a lawyer, according to Fox News.
Cathy also responded to Milley’s testimony before the Senate, where he responded to a question from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark), who asked if he should have resigned when the president decided to fully withdraw from Afghanistan against generals’ advice.
“It would be an incredible act of political defiance for a commissioned officer to just resign because my advice is not taken,” Milley testified. “This country doesn’t want generals figuring out what orders we are going to accept and do or not. That’s not our job.”
Milley added his father, who fought at Iwo Jima, “didn’t get a choice to resign.”
Cathy told Ingraham: “My thoughts are, our son said to him, ‘If you thought this was a bad idea, were you willing to take your rank and put it down and say I won’t put our men and women in peril?’”
She said Milley should have “resigned and said, ‘I will not do this to our members.’ He didn’t do that.”
The mother told the Washington Examiner that she “ran the gamut of rage to tears” when she learned her son was arrested Monday.
“I have taken up his cause. I will do everything I can to make sure this doesn’t disappear. I am very proud of him for standing for the service members and asking for accountability,” Cathy told the news outlet.
Stuart Scheller Sr. said his son had been ordered not to communicate on social media.
“Effective immediately upon your receipt below, you are hereby ordered to refrain from posting any and all material, in any form without exception, to any social media. In this context, the term ‘social media’ shall be construed very broadly to include any medium by which you may share information with groups of people…” the officer was told, according to a Sept. 25 Facebook post cited by the Examiner.
“A week ago, they issued a gag order. He was very aware that he broke that gag order, and he told his commanding officer to have the [police] there at 8 a.m. Monday to arrest him,” his father told the paper.
“Stuart is a man of incredible principle. He’s a highly decorated war hero. He is a warrior still fighting for his Marines and veterans,” he said.
“They decided to throw my son in jail to shut him up,” Scheller Sr. added. “Stuart didn’t murder anyone. Stuart didn’t do drugs or sexually offend anyone. He spoke the truth and asked for accountability.”
Cathey said that in her son’s “17 years of service, I have never heard him make a disparaging remark about any president, past or present.
“I believe this outburst came as his frustration mounted over this entire debacle in Afghanistan and his call for accountability. Even then, he could not bring himself to speak ill of a standing president,” she added.