$2 Mln Raised for US Marine Officer Put in Brig for Blasting Bungled Afghan Pullout
12:02 GMT 03.10.2021 (Updated: 19:40 GMT 19.10.2022)
The Biden administration has repeatedly been scolded by both Democrats and Republicans over the hasty withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, where the Taliban* seized power in mid-August following a rapid advance on government forces.
Thousands of military veterans from the US and beyond have so far donated more than $2 million to a fundraiser to support a US Marine put in the brig over his criticism of the American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan
More than 27,000 donors have already pumped money into the fundraiser organised by the Pipe Hitter Foundation, with the majority writing checks for small amounts for Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller.
The 40-year-old is currently in solitary confinement at the Camp LeJeune marine base in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
The donations come as Scheller's parents told the New York Post on Saturday that their son was "in a cell with no books, no phone, no nothing".
"We're heartbroken over this and so is he. We love America and we are so shocked at what we're learning about what the new military is like in this country", they pointed out.
The couple added that they do not know what to expect from the upcoming closed-door hearing on Scheller, which will decide whether the military should throw the book at the marine or release him.
Scheller Hits Out at US Top Brass Over Afghan Withdrawal
Last month, Stuart Scheller was thrown into the brig after he released a series of videos, where he condemned the chaotic US troop exit from Afghanistan.
In the initial footage posted on his Facebook page, the 40-year-old lashed out at the US military leadership following the 26 August suicide attacks at the Kabul Airport, which killed 13 US service members and at least 200 civilians. Along with criticising the military leadership's decisions, Scheller called for accountability among the military's top brass.
He also indicated that he had a "personal relationship" with one of those who was killed in the Kabul blast.
The marine officer underscored that he had not made the video because "it's potentially an emotional time" but because he had "a growing discontent and contempt for […] perceived ineptitude at the foreign policy level".
"I'm not saying we need to be in Afghanistan forever, but I am saying, did any of you throw your rank on the table and say, 'Hey, it's a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Airfield, a strategic airbase, before we evacuate everyone?' Did anyone do that? And when you didn't think to do that, did anyone raise their hand and say, 'We completely messed this up?'", he emphasised.
Scheller added that he was now hearing questions from his military colleagues about whether all the casualties in Afghanistan over the past two decades were worth it following the US pullout from the country that allowed the Taliban to seize power.
In a subsequent Facebook video, he noted that he had "been relieved for cause based on a lack of trust and confidence", adding in one of his latest posts, "please have the MPs waiting for me at 0800 on Monday. I'm ready for jail".
28 September 2021, 04:43 GMT
The 26 August bombings, claimed by Daesh*, came amid the US evacuation effort in Afghanistan
, which was preceded by the Taliban's takeover of the capital Kabul as a result of the militant group's swift offensive against government forces.
*The Taliban and Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State) are terrorist groups banned in Russia and many other countries.