There is a deep and growing malignancy under the supervision of the U.S. military, one that threatens our nation’s moral authority and perhaps our very souls. Our commander in chief must take steps to address it or it will destroy our ability to win the war on terror. Every woman in this country should be calling on President Obama to immediately deal with the evil being allowed to flourish under our supervision in Afghanistan.
In a disturbing report from Afghanistan, Joseph Goldstein of The New York Times reports that, “[S]oldiers 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.”
Not only that, but the U.S. military leadership is apparently punishing U.S. soldiers when they stand up against the rape and sexual abuse of children. The official policy is to “ignore child sexual abuse by their Afghan allies” and some “have faced discipline, even career ruin for disobeying it.”
The report tells the story of Capt. Dan Quinn and Sgt. Martland, both Green Berets who apparently “beat up an American-backed militia commander for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.” Capt. Quinn was relieved of his command and was pulled out of Afghanistan. Sgt. Martland is still facing retribution for his involvement in the incident.
I know it is almost impossible to believe that this would actually be U.S. military policy, but the report cites Col. Brian Tribus, the spokesman for the American command in Afghanistan, who told them, “Generally, allegations of child sexual abuse by Afghan military or police personnel would be a matter of domestic Afghan criminal law. [T]here would be no express requirement that U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan report it.”
Is he serious? They are not only allowing it to happen and empowering these fiends to continue their torture of children, but they don’t even want soldiers to report on it? This is simply unacceptable.
And this idea that we are just dealing with “domestic Afghan criminal law” matter is preposterous. One soldier cited in the story “recalled feeling sickened the day he entered a room on a base and saw three or four men lying on the floor with children between them.” Did you catch the kicker? On base. Again, this is just beyond the pale. The American military shares barracks with pedophiles molesting children in their midst, and they are not allowed to say anything about it?
Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father on his last phone call home, “At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it.” Let that sink in. This corporal slept so close to the abusers, he could hear these children scream. Then he was expected to wake up the next morning and train these abusers in U.S. military and policing techniques. And he better not say anything about it, if he wants to advance his military career.
Spare us the “domestic Afghan criminal law” drivel. This is a matter of U.S. military law. And it is a shame to our country. This policy must end now.
Is it too much to ask that anyone who is to benefit from U.S. military training comply with some disciplinary standards that include no sexual abuse of children? Is it?
But there is more, if you can stomach it. One soldier, Maj. Jason Brezler, was actually punished for sending an email warning about a predator that was back on a police post after being arrested for several infractions, including child abduction. You won’t believe what the Marine Corps lawyers said about it in a hearing. They “warned that information about the police commander’s penchant for abusing boys might be classified.”
Seriously, we have a former secretary of state running for president of the United States that sent multiple classified emails from her private servers, and they want to punish this soldier for sending an email exposing a criminal child molester? What is happening at the Department of Defense? Where is the commander in chief?
President Obama must intervene in this matter immediately and restore some sense of moral sanity to this situation. We cannot turn a blind eye to the sexual abuse of children right in front of us in order to “win” this war.
We won’t win like this, no matter what any military commander says. We simply cannot expect the blessings of Heaven will fall upon a people that turn a blind eye to this kind of evil in our midst. It may be harder, but fighting against this evil, at least within the reach of U.S. military training, is in fact the only path to victory. Providence would have it no other way.
• Penny Nance is the president and CEO of the Concerned Women for America. Mario Diaz is Concerned Women for America’s legal counsel and leads its legal studies department.