A bill soon to be introduced in Congress stipulates firmly that sexual atrocities committed by allies on U.S. military bases will not be tolerated.
While the text of the legislation may seem obvious, it’s far from obvious to U.S. troops who served in Afghanistan. These troops were unofficially told by higher-ups in the military to look the other way in the face of rampant sexual abuse of children by local Afghans, especially police officers, Army Times reports.
The normal instinct is to intervene and put a stop to the abuse. Desperation to gain the favor among Afghans overrides that instinct. These very Afghans are often in positions of power, the same ones the U.S. must rely on to reconstruct the country as part of a hands-off approach to rebuilding Afghanistan.
GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter’s bill, titled the Mandating America’s Responsibility to Limit Abuse, Negligence and Depravity, declares that U.S. troops should not have to abide by any policy from military officials which mandates that they ignore sexual abuse to placate local allies. In effect, the bill would allow servicemembers to intervene in more circumstances than is currently allowed.
The bill is named after Sgt. Charles Martland, a Green Beret the Army wants drummed out of the service for shoving an Afghan boy-rapist to the ground back in 2011, after hearing the pleas of the boy who was brutally raped by a police officer. Martland has received yet another delay from the Army and now has until May 1, at which point the service is scheduled to deliver a decision. GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan just urged the Pentagon to quit relying on delays and simply end the misguided campaign against Martland by reinstating him immediately.
The support for this legislation comes from Pentagon policy cited in the bill, namely that troops must oppose prostitution and human trafficking.
If the act is passes, Defense Secretary Ash Carter will have no more than 90 days to submit a plan to reaffirm that child abuse “shall not be conducted or condoned on any United States military installation, whether located in the United States or overseas, by either citizens or nationals of the United States or foreign nationals.”
“Somehow the Department of defense doesn’t have a policy that forbids pedophilia and child rape on U.S. installations,” Hunter told The Washington Times. “They refuse to do the right thing in this case.”
“My bill makes it illegal to have child rape on a military base,” Hunter added. “You’re not allowed to rape children on U.S. installations. It’s that simple.”
The inspector general at the Department of Defense has launched a major investigation after finding some amount of credibility in initial allegations that a policy of silence regarding sexual abuse exists in the U.S. military, which now warrants a more in-depth study.
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