Marine officer fired for venting about Afghanistan exit says he'll 'probably' run for office in '24
"I am a conservative, but I think we need leaders and not politicians," former Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, Jr. said.
Former Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, Jr., who went viral for his Facebook video criticizing the withdrawal from Afghanistan and was fired for it in December, says he'll "probably" seek elected office in 2024.
Scheller is putting together a coalition of candidates running for political office — many of them veterans — which currently consists of 20 for the House of Representatives and five for the Senate. With his Votes For Vets coalition, he said he offers candidates access to political action committees, media members, and other groups to bring coverage and resources to their races.
"I am a conservative, but I think we need leaders and not politicians," Scheller told the John Solomon Reports podcast on Wednesday,
Conceding that he probably doesn't have "the physical, mental, spiritual endurance right now to jump into a race," he said: "So what I plan on doing is supporting this coalition that I built — and it's still growing — and I'll probably jump into a race in '24."
Referring to his viral video on the Afghan withdrawal and subsequent statements, Scheller said he would "go back and do this over again" but just change some of his phrasing to minimize his words being taken out of context.
Defending the substantive thrust of his much-dissected video, he said that "what has tripped me up are selective, out-of-context, little statements that people try to use to discredit my whole message."
Noting that he "never mentioned Biden's name once" in his criticism of the Afghanistan withdrawal, Scheller said he has "a lot of respect for the office of the president."
While he said "Biden has a lot of problems, and he's not, in my opinion, very good," he explained that the way to hold a president accountable is through voting.
Senior military leaders, on the other hand, must be held accountable for the bungled withdrawal from within the institution, Scheller explained.
The "military on the tactical level is very effective," Scheller observed. "Where we are failing wars is at the operational level and the strategic level. And that's the general-officer-to-the-political-realm link that's just consistently failing. And I think that starts with accountability. I think if you hold senior leaders accountable, you'd be more effective."
Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, should be held accountable for the exit from Afghanistan, as it's his job to convince the president of "the best course of action," Scheller argued.
"Or, if [the plan is] just not executable, and you can't pull it off," he continued, "you resign, or you assume responsibility and accountability for the resources applied to you by that civilian leadership. Like there is no fourth option. There's no, like, then the plan fails, and everyone just points at each other, and that's that ... that is not acceptable."