Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, who had criticized military leadership on social media for the poorly executed US exit from the Afghan war, has been charged with six crimes in a special court-martial. This vindictive act of disproportionate punishment of a US citizen, who simply exercised his constitutional right to free speech, demonstrates the Pentagon’s double-standard when it comes to dealing with those who challenge what the military calls “chain of command.”
Four months before Col. Scheller publicly denounced the military brass for what most Americans consider a reckless and deadly failure, Space Force Commander Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier was fired for speaking out against the Pentagon’s powers that be. Lohmeier made an observation on his podcast that, instead of preparing US warriors for winning battles, military leadership placed too much focus on advancing Marxist ideologies such as Critical Race Theory. Both of these patriotic officers lost their jobs simply because they did the “unthinkable”: They dared to call out their superiors for deficiencies. Both of these brave officers sought to make our military more prepared to handle foreign threats.
Contrast this with Alexander Vindman, the retired US Army colonel who spurred the impeachment process of former President Trump, and with Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who made secret calls to China behind Donald Trump’s back. Vindman, in a recent book, proudly admitted that he “was the driving force” behind Trump’s impeachment.
He reported “up the chain” that the content of President Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky merited impeachment. Vindman, who listened in on the call as part of his duties, was upset that Trump was pressuring Ukraine to take a firmer stance against corruption before disbursing American taxpayers’ money in security assistance to one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
Vindman and his coterie of lawyers, informants and other DC swamp creatures plunged Washington into political dysfunction, further polarizing an already deeply divided nation. Ironically, their actions were in line with Putin’s goal of unbalancing America, something Moscow tried to achieve during the 2016 election. Milley, for his part, promised his Communist Chinese counterpart that he would provide him with advance warning in the event of an imminent attack by Washington.
Shamefully and dangerously, both Vindman and Milley acted against US security interests by undermining our democratically elected president. Yet Milley is still serving as America’s top military officer. He recently held talks with another foreign counterpart, Russia’s General Valery Gerasimov, ostensibly also to “reduce risk of conflict.”
As a former DIA intelligence officer and Russia specialist, let me tell you about Gerasimov. The chief of Russian General Staff, he authored the anti-US offensive strategy called “controlled instability.” It aims to achieve Putin’s goal to “destabilize” and subvert our society with cyber strikes, election sabotage, attacks on Americans that cause “Havana Syndrome” and similar “asymmetric” weapons that leverage Russia’s lesser power against that of a stronger one, the United States.
Vindman, after his early dismissal from the National Security Council, retired from the Army, having concluded that future promotion was unlikely given his role in Trump’s impeachment. He was hailed as an American hero by left-wing ideologues and Trump haters.
As someone who has been on the wrong side of the Washington Establishment, I know first-hand how vindictive the government bureaucracy can be. In December 2016, I was ousted from my position as a senior intelligence officer for Russian Doctrine & Strategy at the DIA. My offense was my persistent warnings about the Russian threat, which I saw as being underestimated.
The threat was largely ignored by the Obama Administration, which foolishly pursued the unachievable goal of a “reset” with Putin. I also pointed out the lack of proper expertise within our intelligence apparatus necessary to counter the looming Russian menace.
As payback, I was tossed out of the DIA, based on trumped up allegations in a Soviet-style process governed by the Administrative State’s unelected functionaries.
Cols. Scheller and Lohmeier deserve our gratitude. Demanding accountability from our leaders for grave mistakes is the right thing to do. Calling out the threat of Marxist ideology within the military, as it erodes US combat readiness, is an obligation of any officer who swore to uphold America’s security.
While only a handful of brave officers, like Scheller and Lohmeier, reach the headlines, there are hundreds of us who’ve lost careers and livelihoods for speaking truth to power. Intolerance of dissent and criticism and retaliation against whistleblowers is a systemic problem in the Pentagon and the government bureaucracy at large. The almighty permanent government strikes back with vengeance at anyone who dares to disclose its incompetence, airing it out in public.
The Feds are forgetting, though, that it is already clear to everyone that they are much more adept at unleashing the full power of the State against innocent Americans than they are at combatting foreign threats. They’ve shown us that the bureaucracy is simply unable to devise a viable strategy to capably withdraw from Afghanistan, prevent Putin’s cyberattacks, or to detect and warn about the deadly Chinese virus. The incompetence and double-standards of the Pentagon and our spy agencies endanger Americans.
Rebekah Koffler is a former DIA intelligence officer and the author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America.” Follow her on Twitter @rebekah0132