Bombshell Senate report: As many as 9,000 American citizens stranded in Afghanistan after withdrawal

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The editorial comments in this article are brought to you by a former chief of police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

WASHINGTON, DC- A Senate report reveals shows that as many as 9,000 American citizens were left stranded in Afghanistan after the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal, the Daily Caller reports.

The report, released last week by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee calls into question public comments made by the Biden administration, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken who said that only 100-150 Americans remained in Afghanistan and who had contacted the U.S. government with requests to leave the country.

Despite also publicly admitting that large numbers of Americans were still leaving the war-torn nation, both the State Department and Defense Department stuck to the lower number.

The Senate report was signed by Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and shows State Department officials believed some 10,000 to 15,000 Americans were in Afghanistan as late as Aug. 17, 2021. In the next two weeks, it says, only 6,000 Americans were able to escape the country before the Taliban takeover.

In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Blinken said that “approximately 100-150 remained in Afghanistan who still wished to depart.”

The ability to accurately determine the number of Americans either residing in or visiting countries such as Afghanistan is difficult, 50% art and 50% science and educated guesswork,” according to former staffers of the Kabul embassy said.

This is because Americans are encouraged, but not required to register with the State Department when they enter a country. While specific countries are typically better able to provide estimates than the embassy, Afghanistan didn’t have the ability to do so.

As the withdrawal progressed as well as afterward, Blinken and U.S. Central Command leader Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie had a tendency to qualify their statements about Americans remaining in Afghanistan, noting they had maintained contact with “smaller” numbers who “want to leave.”

The failure to extricate all Americans prior to the withdrawal of American service members has been blamed for the number of American citizens left behind, indicating no forethought, or planning for the exit.

According to the Daily Caller, national security officials were still in the process of developing an exit strategy only the day before Kabul fell to the Taliban. This was in spite of Biden announcing the withdrawal of American forces some four months before the collapse of the allied government there.

In addition, the National Security Council didn’t coordinate the withdrawal operations between various segments of the government such as between State and Defense. The speed at which American troops were withdrawn “exacerbated the failed evacuation process,” the Daily Caller reported the Senate document as saying.

Even after Kabul fell to the Taliban, the administration was still slow to implement contingency responses for the withdrawal. For example, the Department of Transportation waited five days to authorize foreign airlines to evacuate those escaping the country to American airports, and an additional two days to activate the Civil Reserve Aircraft Fleet (CRAF), the report said.

CRAF is a private airline fleet that is utilized so supplement the armed services in a crisis, however it “was barely used and did little to impact evacuation operations.”

None of this should have come as a surprise to anyone in the government, since officials had warned in 2007 that any plans to withdraw from unsafe and hostile nations would need to be significantly overhauled, in particular related to reporting requirements for American citizens in those countries.

A key portion in those plans is reliance on the host government to provide an accurate number of Americans who would need to be evacuated. That issue hasn’t been corrected through the presidential administrations of George W. Bush, Obama, Trump and now Biden.

“The lack of host nation accounting for Americans is likely not unique to Afghanistan and will be a persistent feature in countries with weak central governments and inefficient accounting systems,” the report reads. “It is exactly these countries that are most prone to rapid onsets of instability requiring the evacuation of Americans.”

Despite all of the failures in the evacuation of Afghanistan, as well as the deaths of 13 American service members in an ISIS-K terrorist attack, and the ill-fated drone strike that

illed a number of Afghan civilians, including children, the Biden administration deems the withdrawal efforts a resounding success.

“We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history. With more than 120,000 people evacuated to safety, that number is more than double what most experts thought was possible. No nation—no nation has ever done anything like it in all the history,” Biden said, patting his administration on the back.

“The bottom line: 90% of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave,” Biden added.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t do any good for those left behind, whose place in line was occupied by Afghans (or others) who may have less than honorable intentions for the United States.

Bombshell Senate report: As many as 9,000 American citizens stranded in Afghanistan after withdrawal

For more on the Afghanistan withdrawal and how a Marine officer sacrificed his career in condemning it, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

The editorial comments in this article are brought to you by a former chief of police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

The primary face of Biden’s bungled Afghanistan withdrawal, besides the thirteen heroes who died in a homicide bombing and the civilians killed in the ill-fated drone attack, was Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, who was locked up for openly criticizing military commanders for their role in the cluster f*ck of an exit from that war-torn country.

Scheller faced a court martial for having the audacity to tell the truth, and pleaded guilty.

Long story short, Scheller’s withdrawal from the Marine Corps is complete with him having served no jail time other than the time he was locked up pending his court martial.

Now that he’s no longer held to a gag order, Scheller plans on going on a media blitz, according to Breitbart News.

In a December 23 post on his Facebook page, Scheller wrote:

“Out of respect to my senior leaders, I haven’t done a single interview since this began. But now it’s my turn. My television media blitz starts with Tucker Carlson on 4 January.”

Carlson of course hosts the highly-rated Tucker Carlson Tonight program on Fox News, weeknights at 8:00 p.m.

Scheller pledged to write one post per day leading up to that January 4 interview, and spoke of American patriot George Washington’s first major victory of the American Revolution on December 26, 1776.

“The attack on December 26th wasn’t decisive, but as history shows, it was a turning point in the war,” Scheller wrote, then recalling his own battle with Marine Corps leadership, writing:

“To recap my series of defeats after demanding accountability; I was relieved of command, slandered as homicidal/suicidal by the USMC’s public affairs team, ordered to get a mental health evaluation, lied about in the investigation by my ‘friends,’ denied my legal right to prefer charges against another service member beholden to the UCMJ, imprisoned under the false pretense of ‘flight risk,’ left without basic items in prison for five days, offered a legal deal while held illegally in jail (you can’t be placed in pre-trial for a special court martial), slandered again when my medical records and investigation were released to the media, fined 5K dollars, called a narcissist in my letter of reprimand, kept under a gag order for four months, denied the ability to request mast twice, given the lowest characterization (General under Honorable Conditions) allowed by the plea deal, and lost my retirement.”

Scheller than added:

“Was it worth it? Well…unfortunately for them…the war isn’t over. I think we just arrived at a turning point. The old system underestimated US then…and they underestimate US now.”

“2022 is the start of a new year. It’s the start of a new generation. The lions are home from war. And we aren’t assimilating anymore. We Can’t All Be Wrong,” he added.

Breitbart noted that on Christmas, Scheller posted a “Socratic dialogue” in which he explained his reasoning for speaking out against his chain of command, despite the knowledge he could be punished for doing so on social media.

“If we don’t address consistent failure and hypocrisy in an open forum, we accelerate the collapse of the system. Do you really believe the same senior leaders who can’t admit fault are going to turn around and make changes?” Scheller wrote.

 

On the subject of using social media in order to demand accountability, Scheller said:

“The Commandant’s office releases all white papers, official correspondence, and birthday messages through social media.

Are we saying military communication through social media is reserved only for senior military leaders? Isn’t that the opposite of how our philosophy works?”

Continuing, he wrote:

“If we only had senior military officers with the courage to publicly address our failures, or assume any kind of accountability for that matter, I might not feel morally obligated to speak on behalf of the military service.

You remember the My Lai moral courage case study? Fun fact rarely focused on in that case study…the only officers held accountable were at the company level. Not a single General was fired over the incident. Sound familiar?”

Yes, it does.

Breitbart noted that December 26, Scheller summarized an email received on September 2, 2021, from a civilian official with the Marine Corps Communications Directorate.

He claimed the email read, “Communications Directorate is running the following campaign to counter the narrative, ‘There is a forum in which Marine leaders can address their disagreements with the chain of command, but it’s not social media.’

This narrative was able to affect the sentiment with many of the articles, with 17% of the overall articles including the statement.”

 

Scheller said that email was placed inside his command investigation, which he obtained a copy of.

“The takeaway…if you speak out against the Marine Corps, they literally have an entire department whose only goal is to discredit you while spinning the narrative in their favor.

And all the senior Generals, despite stating their impartiality during the legal process…are on the email chain.”

Scheller said the Marine Corps tried to undermine his character, painting a false narrative of the Marine veteran. He said the Corps tried to show him as “suicidal, homicidal, and guilty,” Breitbart reported.

“When I was released from jail, a week before my court martial, the Marine Corps, still trying to spin the narrative, released my command investigation and medical records to the media.

Thus, a week before my court-martial…news agencies were able to cherry pick selective quotes to make me look guilty.

“After 17 years of representing the Marine Corps…it breaks my heart that this is how the system works.”

Two men arrested and charged with the attempted murder of a Chicago cop after shooting him during a traffic stop

For more on Lt. Col Scheller, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

According to reports, the Marine Corps has filed six charges against Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller over his comments on leadership mistakes that marked the botched Afghanistan withdrawal.

Fox News reported that Scheller will face a misdemeanor-level special martial for his viral videos that blasted both civilian and military leadership. The charges were referred by Maj. Gen. Julian D. Alford and came just one day after Scheller was released from the brig at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.

Scheller was fired from his command at one of Camp LeJeune’s infantry training battalions after posting the videos to Facebook and LinkedIn. The videos were posted in response to the bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport, which took the lives of 13 U.S. service members.

Scheller is accused of displaying contempt toward officials, disrespecting superior commissioned officers, willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer, dereliction in the performance of his duties and failure to obey an order or regulation, and displaying conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman.

The Marine Corps contends that members should use their chain of command to voice concerns, not publicly criticize the leadership on social media.

However, many of defended Scheller as his case winds its way through military courts, which has helped the Marine raise funds through the Pipe Hitter Foundation.

A source familiar with the case told the Washington Times that Scheller is said to be “doing great” and has been “energized by the support of rank-and-file Marines.” The source also indicated that the Marine has not softened his stance, adding:

“If the generals in charge of the Afghanistan debacle thought a week in an air-conditioned jail cell was going to stop his calls for accountability, they are sorely mistaken.”

Scheller has also been defended by his parents, who say he was only demanding accountability from military leaders. Scheller’s father, Stu Scheller Sr., said in a statement:

“All our son did was ask the questions that everybody was asking themselves, but they were too scared to speak out loud. He was asking for accountability. In fact, I think he even asked for an apology that we made mistakes, but they couldn’t do that, which is mind-blowing.”

The Marine Corps said Scheller is being punished for the manner of his dissent. Marine Capt. Sam Stephenson said in a statement:

“Posting to social media criticizing the chain of command is not the proper manner in which to raise concerns. Orders and directives regulate the conduct of members of our military and ensure good order and discipline.”

The time between now and the court-martial is likely to be of negotiation. A source “with knowledge of the discussions” reported that Scheller is hoping for an honorable discharge. Greg Rinckey, a former Army prosecutor and Judge Advocate General’s Corps defense attorney said:

“I think it’s very likely that they will accept a resignation in lieu of a court-martial.”

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said the case shows the need for reforming the military justice system. He added:

“The Uniform Code of Military Justice was created to facilitate the exigencies of war, but is now too often abused and merely strips our soldiers of their constitutional rights.”

Prior to being released from pre-trial confinement, more than 30 House Republicans issued a letter to Marine Corps Commander Gen. David Berger asking that Scheller be released from confinement. Many of the members made their own statements on Twitter. Congressman Ben Cline wrote:

“It’s outrageous that the only military official who has borne any consequence over the botched Afghanistan withdrawal is Lt. Col Scheller, who sought accountability from civilian and military leadership. My colleagues and I demanded he be removed from confinement immediately.”

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Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller who was fired for demanding accountability from senior leadership, expects to “do some jail time”

September 2nd, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The Marine Lt. Col. who was relieved from his duties after openly criticizing the Biden administration’s botched and dangerous withdrawal from Afghanistan has announced that he expects to “do some jail time” if the Marine Corps decides to pursue court-martial.

In his recent update, Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller said:

“The Marine Corps will assign an investigating officer. Most likely a Colonel. Once the investigating officer finalizes his recommendation, the Marine Corps will decide if they should pursue court-martial.”

It it goes to court-martial, Scheller added:

“I will be found guilty and will probably do some jail time. This will provide me a valuable opportunity to read, write, and contemplate.”

Reportedly, the Marines confirmed Scheller’s “situation is currently under investigation,” but declined to provide further details to the Washington Examiner. According to Capt. Sam Stephenson a spokesman for the Training and Education Command:

“The Marine Corps is not providing any additional information regarding Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller. His situation is currently under investigation and being handled appropriately by his chain of command and therefore, we cannot comment further.”

Stephenson added:

“As Marines decompress from the gravity of events in Afghanistan over the week, it is important for those struggling to speak with their fellow Marines, their chain of command, or seek counseling.”

Scheller’s updated claims come less than 24 hours after he addressed Gen. David H. Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps on Facebook, saying, “I understand you want to court martial me.” He added:

“General Berger isn’t allowed to comment on the situation or else it will appear as ‘undue command influence.'”

Scheller said he was asked by his commanding officer to be evaluated by mental health specialists and claimed he complied with the order. A day after receiving the order, he issued a written request for a resignation to the secretary of the Navy.

In his initial video, Scheller demanded accountability from the Biden administration and ripped into military leadership over the deadly explosion at Hamid Karzai International Airport that left 13 U.S. service members dead. He said:

“People are upset because their senior leaders let them down and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, ‘We messed this up.'”

He added:

“I’m not saying we’ve got to be in Afghanistan forever, but I am saying: Did any of you throw your rank and file 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 hands and say, ‘We completely messed this up.”

A Politico reporter confirmed Scheller was relieved of his duties after the video went viral:

“Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, who posted a viral video demanding accountability from military leaders over Afghanistan, has been relieved of his duties and will leave the Marine Corps, the service confirms.”

https://twitter.com/legalloops/status/1431385027384840199

Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw responded to the incident by saying:

“This guy is all class. He knew what the consequences would be. His concerns are not wrong. Many people feeling the same lack of accountability. When the dust settles that accountability must happen.”

A few days after announced that he issued his written request for resignation, he told his followers that he will be taking some time off social media and added some “clarification” on why he was speaking out. He said:

“I want to clarify the purpose of this whole endeavor: accountability. Without accountability, Marines (Americans) cannot heal and the Marine Corps (America) cannot evolve as an organization.

I must acknowledge that the rage escalated in my body very quickly and perhaps my emotions didn’t always provide the rational clarity the situation required. But maybe … every once in a while … a little rage is required too.”

He added:

“Going forward at this point on my life’s path, I must remain committed to forcing accountability across our senior leaders. I do not trust that reviews done by panels at the political/military level will bring the change we seek.

And I do not trust that will change unless a strong enough force is applied to the system. Major changes are needed. The system needs to be broken and rebuilt.”

He continued:

“We need fresh blood and perspective across the entire system. Here’s a crazy idea to illustrate my point … what if we allowed the next EWS honor graduate to become the next Commandant?

If you say it’s not possible for a young, intelligent, charismatic leader to lead an organization such as the Marine Corps, then I’d say you haven’t been reviewing the history books you tell us to read.”

He concluded:

“If you say it’s not possible because that young officer can’t navigate the political landscape of DC … then I’d say you’re making the point for me. It’s time for a new generation to assume American power. We are ready and we reject the current system.”

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Say his name: U.S. Navy corpsman Maxton Soviak. He was murdered by terrorists in Kabul. He was 22.

September 2nd, 2021

UNITED STATES- On Friday, August 27th, the family of the Navy corpsman who was killed by an ISIS-K suicide bomber outside the Kabul international airport, identified the fallen hero as Maxton Soviak.

Soviak, a Navy hospital corpsman in his early 20s, was killed in the blast while stationed outside Hamid Karzai International Airport.

He had been helping to oversee the evacuation of thousands of Americans and Afghan allies.

Soviak’s last Instagram post, which was written 11 weeks ago, shared a chilling message beside a photo of him decked out in military gear with two other service members. The post read:

“It’s kill or be killed. definitely trynna be on the kill side.”

A woman who identified herself as Soviak’s older sister and who goes by Marilyn Soviak on Instagram, wrote a heartbreaking post about her younger brother’s death:

“I’ve never been one for politics and I’m not going to start now. What I will say is that my beautiful, intelligent, beat-to-the-sound of his own drum, annoying, charming baby brother was killed yesterday helping to save lives.”

She added:

“He was a (expletive) medic there to help people and now he is gone and my family will never be the same. There is a large Maxton sized hole that will never be filled.

He was just a kid. We are sending kids over there to die. Kids with families that now have holes just like ours. I’m not one for praying but damn could those kids over there use some right now. My heart is in pieces and I don’t think they’ll ever fit back right again.”

Soviak was a graduate in 2017 from Edison High School, where he was on the honor roll and football team. The school said in a statement:

“Max was a good student who was active in sports and other activities throughout his school career. He was well respected and liked by everyone who knew him.”

His alma mater played an away game against Bellevue, where both communities honored his bravery and sacrifice. Before the game started, the announcer said:

“One of the soldiers killed in that attack was combat Naval medic Max Soviak, a 2017 graduate of Edison High School. We lower our flag and take this moment of silence to acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice he made to protect our freedoms.”

Edison head football coach Jim Hall, who remembers Soviak as a leader, said in a statement:

“Max was a kid that really wore his heart on his sleeve. You know, he was a passionate kid, as a football player, he was always full tilt, 100 miles per hour, fearless.”

In addition to football, Soviak participated in wrestling, track, tennis and was in the school band. School officials said he studied electrical technology through the E-HOVE career center his junior and senior years. Soviak previously worked as a lifeguard and a maintenance technician.

https://twitter.com/freeamerican06/status/1431778502634844162

His decision to serve his country did not come as a surprise. Hall said in a statement:

“That was a fit for him. I think he loved it. He loved a challenge, physical challenge, you know, mental challenge.”

Edison Local Schools Superintendent Thomas Roth added:

“He just loved life. He was out there and enjoyed things and he was helpful to others. As I think we all can see from what happened yesterday, he was always there to help other people. He wanted to be of service and that’s what he did.”

His family released a statement, saying:

“On behalf of the entire Soviak family, we want to thank all those who have extended their support and prayers on the loss of our son, Max.

Max was a wonderful son who loved his family, his community, and was proud to serve in the U.S. Navy. He was excited about the opportunities the Navy would offer him and planned to make the Navy a career.”

The statement added:

“We are incredibly proud of his service to our country. As we mourn the loss of our son, we also mourn for the loss of the Marines and Soldier who were killed and pray for the speedy recovery of all those wounded in Afghanistan.

Words cannot express how heartbroken we are with this news and we will miss Max tremendously. As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for our family and we respectfully request that you honor our privacy. Thank you.”

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