It seems the Obama administration made several concessions in their new army manual in order to lessen the conflict between American and Afghan security forces. From the Judicial Watch article:
The soon-to-be-released Army handbook is still being drafted, but a mainstream newspaper got a sneak preview and published an article that should infuriate the American taxpayers funding the never-ending war on terror. The manual is being created because someone with authority bought the theory that cultural insensitivity is driving insider attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. [...] The draft leaked to the newspaper offers a list of “taboo conversation topics” that soldiers should avoid, including “making derogatory comments about the Taliban,” “advocating women’s rights,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” “directing any criticism towards Afghans,” “mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct” or “anything related to Islam.”
Wanting to dance around testy issues like women’s and gay rights is one thing, but not criticizing pedophilia? I have noted before that the coalition forces have been shockingly quiet about the rampant child rape that happens in Afghanistan. Even though the American, British, and Canadian governments know about the bacha bereesh or bacha bazi, the dancing boys, of Afghanistan, neither those governments, the United Nations, or any human rights groups have done anything about it.
I have written about this problem several times, the first back in 2007, and yet still the practice goes on. The Taliban had actually put an end to it, but once our forces routed them, the Afghan warlords went back to their old ways. These are the same warlords our forces work with to maintain control of the region. We give them money, which they then use to buy boys from various poor families. They train these boys to act, dress, and dance like girls for parties, and after the parties they rape them.
Again, these are the people coalition forces rely on. They are our allies. They rape children and we do nothing. Now our soldiers are being told not to question that.
Of all the acts that should never go unquestioned, raping a child should be one of them. This is inexcusable that this might make it into the the official army manual. According to the article:
At least one high-ranking military official had the backbone to publicly criticize the new manual, albeit through a spokesperson. U.S. Marine General John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, doesn’t endorse it and rejected a proposed forward drafted by Army officials in his name. “He does not approve of its contents,” according to a military spokesman quoted in the story.
We will have to see what makes it into the official manual. At the moment, the only coverage of this is in conservative news media. Should the liberal news media pick this up and examine the only issues they would care about–women and gay rights–there might be enough pressure, assuming the draft is legit, to get those portions changed.
While it is understandable that the Obama administration does not want to do anything to further the tension between U.S. and Afghan forces, these concessions go too far. It is one thing to respect someone’s faith, but it is another to ignore human rights’ violations and child rape for the sake of winning battles.