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.
You can read the whole thing if you have the stomach. It’s appalling. The Obama Administration, of course, is saying they just found out about it from the news.
Look, I’m all in favor of cultural tolerance. If our soldiers are guests in an Islamic country, I’m OK with not having booze or something. But this is WAY beyond that kind of cultural tolerance, especially when it’s happening on an American military base.
As Jazz Shaw pointed out over at Hot Air, this isn’t really a partisan issue, despite my snarking. For all we know, this policy has been in place for many years. But whatever the origin, this needs to stop. It’s not as if letting militia leaders rape boys is going to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan.