Honorable soldiers who don’t want to arm and train child rapists in Afghanistan are harassed and persecuted in the United States military.
I wrote recently about a Green Beret who was being shoved out of the military, seemingly because he shoved an Afghan police officer who had raped a boy, beaten the mother for telling on him, and laughed in the face of the soldier when confronted. I asked if this represented a trend among Green Berets.
It seems it is a trend in the entire U.S. military in Afghanistan. The New York Times reported: “
In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.
“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”
Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally “boy play,” and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records.
It isn’t just that we have left the culture alone. We have intervened in the Afghan culture to give boy-rapists guns and power to abuse boys.
The policy has endured as American forces have recruited and organized Afghan militias to help hold territory against the Taliban. But soldiers and Marines have been increasingly troubled that instead of weeding out pedophiles, the American military was arming them in some cases and placing them as the commanders of villages — and doing little when they began abusing children.
“The reason we were here is because we heard the terrible things the Taliban were doing to people, how they were taking away human rights,” said Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain who beat up an American-backed militia commander for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave. “But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.”
So, even if the perverse crime is common, it isn’t really “part of the culture” in the sense that everyone approves of it. The village elders want their boys to grow up into young men who haven’t been traumatized and victimized, but the United States government has used your tax money (as leverage for a massive amount of debt) in order to put child rapists in charge. While there is a tradition in Afghanistan of warlords keeping harems of young boys for sex and as a status symbol, there are other cultural traditions that strongly oppose it. And we, the American military, have taken sides. We joined with the child molesters.
And to do this, military leadership has, to some degree, begun culling the military of people who have a conscience.
The policy of instructing soldiers to ignore child sexual abuse by their Afghan allies is coming under new scrutiny, particularly as it emerges that service members like Captain Quinn have faced discipline, even career ruin, for disobeying it.
Instead, we are getting more people who sound like Liberal politicians claiming to be “personally opposed” to abortion.
Some soldiers believed that the policy made sense, even if they were personally distressed at the sexual predation they witnessed or heard about.
“The bigger picture was fighting the Taliban,” a former Marine lance corporal reflected. “It wasn’t to stop molestation.”
What kind of military are we going to have if the only people left are those who will obey orders and rationalize ignoring the screams of raped children?
Supporting Jihadists in Afghanistan against the Soviets produced all sorts of blowback, arguably including 9-11. What sort of blowback do you think this might produce as these abused boys grow up?
We will deserve it if we don’t do something serious about this.