While celebrities were looking the other direction in regards to blatant sexual misconduct, the Obama administration was instructing troops to ignore pedophilia taking place in Afghanistan.
Although the Pentagon did not have formal guidelines discouraging troops from reporting child sex abuse they witnessed or knew of, several military personnel said they were informally told to simply ignore the situation, according to a recent report from the Department of Defense inspector general.
“Following a review of DoD Instructions, Command Policy and Service guidance, we did not identify any guidance or policy that expressly discouraged personnel from reporting incidents of child sexual abuse,” the report noted.
“In some cases, the interviewees explained that they, or someone whom they knew, were told that nothing could be done about child sexual abuse because of Afghanistan’s status as a sovereign nation, that it was not a priority for the command, or that it was best to ignore the situation and to let the local police handle it,” it continued.
The report was the result of outrage following allegations that during 2011-2012, the Pentagon had a policy that prevented U.S. troops from reporting when Afghan police and militia officials sexually assaulted children in what was known as “bacha bazi” — or “boy play,” according to The Hill.
When military personnel violated that policy and reported instances of pedophilia, they were allegedly punished.
The Pentagon, however, denied that the policy existed, which prompted the inspector general to investigate the matter.
While no official policy was found, some branches of the military had “cultural awareness” training that identified child sex abuse as an “accepted practice” in Afghanistan, the report explained.
For example, Navy personnel were trained to “control and overcome any frustration caused by cultural differences that they may experience during their deployments.”
Meanwhile, Marines were told to be “mentally prepared to encounter this attitude, and to ‘move on,’” according to the report.
Neither the Army nor the Air Force discussed pedophilia in Afghanistan as part of their cultural training.
But the situation went further than just reading materials, as one interviewee told the inspector general that before deployment, a mock Afghan village was set up in Camp Lejeune, N.C. As part of the exercise, students were reportedly told to let local officials handle child sexual abuse.
“During the simulation, students were told that if they witnessed child sexual abuse, they should let the local officials or police know and not interfere with the locals,” the report explained. “The interviewee said that the reason given as to why not to interfere was due to maintaining cooperation with the Afghans.”
What’s worse was that higher-ups didn’t seem to care about the abuse taking place until The New York Times reported on it, which caused severe backlash.
“The initial reaction of the staff was ‘we don’t really care about this, and we’re not going to do anything about it,’” the interviewee said, according to the report. “Then, after The New York Times article came out, and the issue got traction, we had to pay attention to it.”
In the Times article, Gregory Buckley Sr., the father of Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr., recalled the last phone conversation he had with his son before Buckley Jr. was killed at his Afghanistan base in 2012.
From his bunk, the younger Buckley 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,” Buckley Sr. recalled his son saying.
When the father urged his son to tell his superiors, he was told that the “officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”
Another military member interviewed by the inspector general reportedly told superiors about a former Afghan Local Police commander abusing a 14-year-old boy, but was met with “an attitude of ‘Afghan problem, Afghan solution’ when it came to the removal of police officers.”
The chain of command further instructed a fourth interviewee that the situation was “out of our control.”
“There’s nothing we can do about it,” the interviewee recalled being told after reporting an assault. “This is Afghanistan,” or “It’s their country.”
On the contrary, under international law, U.S. forces can intervene and use reasonable force to prevent child sexual assault, the report found.
While personnel that use force to prevent such abuse may be subject to criminal complaints, the U.S. would have jurisdiction over that person and could reasonably find that the force was necessary to defend against death or grievous bodily harm.
In other words, members of the armed forces could be preventing these acts from occurring with little to no chance of being punished for it. But, for some reason, they were encouraged not to intervene.
This is the “multiculturalism” at work. As retired Grove City College professor Marvin Folkertsma wrote in his piece “Tracking America’s Suicide,” “our judgments should be based on the values that have defined our civilization for the past two millennia, and not airily dismissed on the grounds of multicultural moral relativism.”
While it remains important that we work with troops from other countries in our quest to establish peace in the Middle East, we cannot simply look the other way when children are being abused.
Nevertheless, the prevalent sexual abuse of young boys by powerful men in Afghanistan, an ancient Afghan custom known as bacha bazi (“playing with boys”), is culturally sanctioned.
Under the Taliban regime, the practice had been considered a capital offense, punishable by death.
However, the practice has been “resurrected” since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 overthrew the terrorist group’s regime, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), an independent U.S. watchdog.
Current law dictates that bacha bazi perpetrators could be executed, but only if the boy dies.
“Yet the ‘bacha bazi,’ as the sponsors are known, are rarely punished for the years of abuse they commit against the dancing boys, and it is not unusual to see older men in public with their young sex slaves,” reveals AP.
Huffington Post noted:
…”when U.S. troops entered Afghanistan en masse, pedophilia had been largely suppressed by the Taliban. However, since then, numerous Pashtun men have been abusing the new freedoms they gained by molesting young boys, a practice casually referred to as bacha bazi – literally “boy play.” This widespread, vile practice has been documented by an Afghan journalist in a report he prepared for a public television program, “Frontline.” The program states flatly: “In an Afghanistan ravaged by war and poverty, an ancient tradition has been secretly revived: Young boys sold by their families to wealthy merchants and warlords, taught to dance and entertain, and used for sex.”
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