Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Calls on Congress to Investigate Pentagon’s Reprehensible Rape Policy

Sep 22, 2015
Press Release
“Someone Needs to be Fired”

Soldiers Should Not be Punished for Defending Children from Sexual Predators

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan today called for a congressional investigation into reports that the Pentagon disciplined two soldiers for attempting to protect children from sexual assaults on an American military base in Afghanistan.

In a letter to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-TX,  and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-AZ, Buchanan said he was “sickened” by a New York Times article that said U.S. soldiers were told to ignore sexual assaults against children by Afghan police in order to maintain good relations with our Afghan allies.

The Times reported “Some American service members who opposed the policy have been disciplined or seen their careers ruined because they fought it.”

Buchanan asked Thornberry and McCain to launch an inquiry to determine who was responsible for creating this reprehensible policy.

“Somebody needs to be fired,” Buchanan said. “Fighting in a foreign theater should not require our service members to turn a blind eye towards sexual abuse of children.  Those who wear the uniform of the U.S. military should be commended, not punished, for upholding American values.”

 

Full text of Buchanan’s letter below:

 

The Honorable Mac Thornberry

Chairman

U.S. House Armed Services Committee

 

The Honorable John McCain

Chairman

U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee

 

Dear Chairmen Thornberry and McCain;

I ask that you begin an immediate investigation into reports of a Pentagon policy under which service members have been disciplined for their effort to protect children from being raped by Afghan allies on an American military base.

Like millions of Americans, I was sickened by a report in yesterday’s New York Times exposing this shameful practice. One soldier stationed in Afghanistan said “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.”

I call on your committees to determine how this policy was developed and which individuals were responsible for its implementation.  Someone must be held accountable for this outrageous contravention of American values. Soldiers and Marines that protect children should be commended.  The only people who should be punished are the ones who created and condoned this immoral and savage code.

Administration officials characterized this policy as “fundamentally an Afghan law enforcement matter.”  This is not an acceptable answer.  

Regrettably, we have seen a pattern in recent years where the Administration provides information to the American people only after being pressured to do so by Congress.  Whether it is the terms of the release of the so-called “Taliban Five” terrorists from Guantanamo Bay or the progress of the U.S.-led coalition in the fight against the Islamic State, it has taken rigorous oversight by your committees to reveal the truth.  

I believe this policy, which condones the sort of barbarism that is reprehensible to all Americans, requires the same level of diligent oversight.

Fighting in a foreign theater should not require our service members to turn a blind eye towards sexual abuse of children. 

Those who wear the uniform of the U.S. military should be commended, not punished, for upholding American values.

 

Sincerely,

/s/

Vern Buchanan

Member of Congress