Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Demands Pentagon Reverse Barbaric Rape Policy

Sep 21, 2015
Press Release
Urges Joint Chiefs of Staff to End “shameful policy”

Soldiers Who Reported Abuse by Afghan Forces Should be Praised, Not Punished”

WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, in a letter sent today to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, called for the Pentagon to reverse its “barbaric” policy of ignoring sexual abuse of children by military allies in Afghanistan. Buchanan blasted the Pentagon for punishing a decorated war hero who tried to stop Afghan police from raping young boys.

A New York Times article today described a chilling policy that told American soldiers to look the other way when Afghan allies sexually abused young boys, sometimes on military bases. One Bronze Star recipient is facing forcible retirement for his actions in trying to stop Afghan commanders from abusing children.

“This is one of the most disgraceful policies I have ever heard of,” Buchanan said in his letter to General Dempsey. “It is bad enough if we were ignoring this type of barbaric and savage behavior, it’s even worse if we are punishing American heroes who try to stop it.”

“The only people who should be punished are the ones who created and condoned this immoral and savage code,” Buchanan continued. “Fighting in a foreign theater should not require our service members to turn a blind eye towards criminal perversion.  Those who wear the uniform of the U.S. military should be commended, not punished, for upholding American values.”

 

Full text of the letter below:

September 21, 2015

Dear General Dempsey:

I urge you to immediately reverse the Pentagon’s shameful policy of punishing soldiers who try to stop the sexual abuse of children in Afghanistan, as reported today by the New York Times.

According to the Times, American soldiers serving our nation in the Army and Marines in Afghanistan have been told to stand down when encountering child sexual abuse perpetrated by local allies.  Protecting child predators is abhorrent and inconsistent with our values as a nation.  I call on you to end this shameful policy immediately.

It is bad enough if the Pentagon is telling our soldiers to ignore this type of barbaric and savage behavior, but it’s even worse if we are punishing those who try to stop it.

The only people who should be punished are the ones who created and condoned this immoral and savage code.

According to the Times, Captain Dan Quinn and Sgt. First Class Charles Martland confronted an American-backed Afghan commander “for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.”  Instead of commending Captain Quinn, the Army relieved him of his command.  It is now trying to forcibly retire Sergeant Martland as well.  

It is deeply troubling that our service members are instructed to ignore child sexual abuse.  You must end this policy, which requires Americans to “look the other way” when horrific crimes are committed by our supposed allies.

Fighting in a foreign theater should not require our service members to turn a blind eye towards criminal perversion.  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

cc:  The Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States

cc:  The Honorable Ash Carter, Secretary of Defense