Soldiers ordered not to criticize Taliban

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.

13 thoughts on “Soldiers ordered not to criticize Taliban

  1. Probably has something to do with jokes about Muhammed and his young bride, as in don’t make jokes from bigotry, etc. They should still be able to report child abuse though.

  2. I’m a survivor, I think that child abuse is abhorrent and normally I agree with you. However I disagree here.

    There are two reasons. Firstly, America has no right to be in Afghanistan. Anything that american’s say is treated with suspicion, because america is an invading and occupying force. Child abuse, women’s rights, and gay rights are serious problems, but they are happening in Afghanistan, not America.

    Secondly, American troops have no understanding of Afghan culture. They don’t know all of the subtleties that need to be engaged with before you can have a conversation about child abuse. Remember that a hundred years ago in England it was socially acceptable to send a child up a chimney to clean it. Then if he got scared, you could set a fire under him to “smoke him out”. This seems crazy to us today, yet it was my grandparent’s parents doing it. The only way that america can help is by quietly supporting Afghan led anti child abuse organisations. These Afghans understand their culture and can be effective.

    American “rescuers” have no right to be there, and their lack of cultural sensitivity ruins any attempt to help.

  3. Mike, I agree that U.S. troops are not versed in Afghan culture and that our presence in their country is a major issue. However, we are there and we are not leaving for the next few years. They are receiving our help (for a problem we admittedly caused), and it seems unethical and immoral for us to turn a blind eye to things we do not accept in our own culture.

  4. The other reason we are not to question pedophilia is because then you can’t (truthfully and accurately) call Mohammed the pedophile prophet. Anybody who can venerate a man who liked to screw (and married!) a prepubescent girl (Aisha) is a pedophile. Period.

    Of course, the Muslims hate people bringing that one up.

  5. “It seems unethical and immoral for us to turn a blind eye to things we do not accept in our own culture.” Isn’t that precisely the kind of thinking that got us into this mess in the first place? Somewhere along the line we elected ourselves the World Police, bringing order and democracy to the benighted heathen. The solution to problems caused by our special brand of tyrannical democracy cannot possibly be MORE tyrannical democracy. There is a great deal wrong with Afghan society, but I’m not sure the answer is American society.

  6. Isn’t that precisely the kind of thinking that got us into this mess in the first place?

    No. What got us into Afghanistan was tracking down the Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Of course, due to the Bush administration’s broken leadership, bin Laden and his goons fled to Pakistan. However, since we have been in Afghanistan we have tried to import our beliefs, and it is has not worked well. But my argument is different. My argument is that we should not buddy up to people to violate the morals we hold dear, nor should we compromise those morals for a momentary benefit.

  7. I agree with you. Morals should never be sacrificed for temporary (or even permanent) gain. The problem is the morals of the Afghan people aren’t the same as the morals of the American people. And the people we’re backing over there share neither our morals, nor those of the people. Maybe it’s time we left Afghanistan altogether.

  8. The problem is the morals of the Afghan people aren’t the same as the morals of the American people.

    That is my point, and that is why I find it troubling to see the administration seemingly compromising on this issue. It is one thing to ask troops not to mention touchy subjects, but to demand they turn a blind eye to something they would not tolerate here at home? Ludicrous.

  9. Pingback: Taliban rapes suicide bombers during training | Toy Soldiers

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