LCol (ret’d) Stuart Scheller blew up the internet last year when he decided to publicly criticize his Marine Corps chain of command in a Facebook video; while in uniform!
How It All Began
If you haven’t checked out his original post on Youtube, you should. As you can imagine, Stuart set off a bomb and there was no turning back. In our chat, he explains how hard it was to decide to post this and how he still stands by his fundamental stance that there needs to be accountability at the highest levels of the military and Marines.
Afghanistan War Summed Up
Stuart has been called every name in the book, lost his family, lost his career, and been thrown in the brig but has always stuck to his message that there needs to be accountability for military failures at the highest level.
He’s a principled guy and has written a great book called, “Crisis of Command“. We met up in Las Vegas to chat about it at the Military Influencer Conference and tell war stories about his time fighting terrorists and what his next moves are professionally.
What I enjoyed most about our conversation is his raw honesty and humour about the last twenty years of war. When I asked him, “why were we fighting in Afghanistan?” His answer was likely the best I’ve ever heard.
“…I think America should’ve gone into Afghanistan after September 11th…you could argue the response should’ve been in Saudi Arabia…we don’t do that because of our oil interests…Then the mission changed, instead of killing the Al Qaeda presence it turned into driving the Taliban out and building a central government. I don’t know if we can pinpoint a time and say this is when we made that decision…The reason we never left is because we never killed Osama Bin Laden…the Taliban is shooting at us, shoot back…it became this mess.”
Having been there for 8 months, I couldn’t agree more with his reasoning. I genuinely thought I was going there to win a war. However, it became very apparent that there was no “win” ever envisioned. It was simply “pushing the ball down the field” as Stuart explained it. Generals were more than happy to make their PowerPoint slides of how many bad guys they killed, how many projects they completed and hand it off to the next guy a year later.
I liked Stuart’s criteria for waging war from now on. A four-star general gets the job to win the war and must be committed to ten years of fighting. If not, he can move aside for the next one and if no one is willing, then maybe we shouldn’t be fighting this war.
The Lions Are Home From War
This was one of the last lines in Stuart’s book, Crisis of Command;
“The lions are home from war. And we’re not assimilating.”
I love this line. It exemplifies how I felt after the Military Influencer Conference. I met so many awesome veterans doing awesome things in the business and political space that I’m more inspired than ever. It’s a call to action for all veterans to get after it and not acquiesce.
The biggest takeaway from speaking with leaders like Stuart is what he coins, “post-traumatic growth”. I can get behind this message because I’ve had my issues with the war but it also allowed me to grow emotionally, physically and professionally. I knew the war was going to be hard and reshape me. I’m glad I had my war experience and I enjoy the privilege of having lived like a lion on the battlefield.
Stuart is going to keep pressing on by promoting his book and pondering a reluctant move into politics. As a fellow chess player, I’ll be closely monitoring his moves to assess his strategy since I’m sure he’ll be a major player in reshaping our political landscape. You can follow him, uncensored, on his website Authentic Americans.
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Train Hard, Fight Easy
Dave is a retired infantry officer and Afghanistan war veteran. He’s the creator of the HRD2KILL training programs that were built on the principles that got him from not being able to get out of bed to competing in the Crossfit Open, Spartan Races and the Ironman. You can find more mobility-based exercises in his new book, “The Nimble Warrior”, now available or tune into his Best Veteran Army Podcast of 2022 The Hard to Kill Podcast