It is a story that is literally jaw dropping. Soldiers who served in Afghanistan stripped of their command for standing up against Afghan men who were sexually abusing young boys.
Why? Because the abusers, our government said, were the good guys.
If those are the good guys who are the bad ones?
This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.
It is a blockbuster story released by the New York Times. The accusation? That American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene—in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused young boys and children on U.S. military bases.One of the focuses of this article is how the U.S. Army stripped U.S. Special Forces Captain Dan Quinn—who has since quit the military—of his command after a 2011 incident in which he allegedly assaulted an Afghan police commander who had admitted to keeping a local boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.
Since the release of the Times article, there have been dozens of stories coming to light of so called “dancing boys” who are coveted by Afghan commanders, and “pretty” boys who were abused and held because they are considered a prize.
In fact, there are a number of threads on Reddit which include the stories of soldiers from the Afghanistan war who recount how prevalent this issue was.
To be clear, reports from the military insist that this is just a part of Afghan culture. Because access to women is rare, many men turn to each other. But the abuse of children is certainly different.
Colonel Quinn, who is a Green Beret, said to the Times, “The reason we were here is because we heard the terrible things the Taliban were doing to people, how they were taking away human rights, but we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did—that was something village elders voiced to me.”
Remember, that was the reason the American people were told that we were in Afghanistan even when we knew that Osama bin Laden wasn’t.
“Thanks to our military and our allies and the great fighters of Afghanistan, the Taliban regime is coming to an end,” former President George W. Bush said in a speech on the war in Afghanistan.
“The agreement we signed sends a clear message to the Afghan people, as you stand up you will not stand alone,” President Barack Obama said in Afghanistan. “…it supports afghan efforts for development and dignity for their people.”But in taking down the Taliban, who have re-emerged, did the U.S. make things better?
Not according to Quinn who told the Times, “But the American policy of treating child sexual abuse as a cultural issue has often alienated the villages whose children are being preyed upon.”
And that is what you need to know. Look, the U.S. commander over Afghanistan has stated that there is no official policy to not report child sex abuse and yet dozens of soldiers have responded to that claim stating that nothing stops you from reporting it. It’s just that commanders look the other way and say it's none of our business.
Here are the facts: $685 billion spent on Afghanistan, trillions more with veteran costs. 20,051 soldiers returned wounded, and 2,361 soldiers were killed.
The Taliban is on the rise. And even if they weren’t, can anyone even tell the difference between the Taliban and the U.S.-backed commanders who replaced them?
As Vice News asks, is this what winning looks like?
That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about that Twitter @BenSwann_.
Editor's note: This segment of Ben Swann's Reality Check and its transcript originally published on Truth in Media on October 1, 2015, and has been slightly modified for publication on IVN.