Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Raping Kids With American Help: When Deja Vu Goes Wrong

Deja vu is French term that describes the feeling of having already experienced a new situation (although a quick Google-search for the meaning also offers the alternate definition “tedious familiarity”).  Deja vu is French term that describes the feeling of having already experienced a new situation (although a quick Google-search for the meaning also offers the alternate definition “tedious familiarity”).

And I came down with a strong case of tedious-familiarity deja vu on Sunday, when I read in the New York Times that “U.S. soldiers [were] told to ignore sexual abuse of boys by Afghan allies.”

In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: 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,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”

The Times published this on the morning of Sept. 20, 2015, and when I read it for the first time, a few hours later, I could've sworn I'd read such a story before. But a little research proved me wrong. Turns out I hadn't read the same story, merely a similar one.

Flash back almost five years to December 2010, when I was feeling glum of an afternoon and made a determined effort to improve my mood:

… Brooding over government misdeeds, ranting over government misdeeds -- none of it does any good. Especially not during the holidays. Why not grab what happiness I can? Why be such a cynic? Focus on the silver lining rather than the cloud.

Like the latest Wikileaks revelation: apparently American contractors pimped out some prepubescent little boys to serve as sex toys at Pashtun warlord parties. Certainly there are criticisms one might levy against such practices, but with my new glass-half-full optimism I recognize that from a realpolitik perspective this is actually one of the smartest moves we've made since the war started. Face it: America's "win hearts and minds" campaign clearly isn't working. The best we can hope for now is to win over a few powerful dicks.

No deja vu here. I was completely incorrect earlier, when I thought I'd already read the New York Times' recent story about U.S. military personnel being ordered to ignore it when their Afghan allies raped prepubescent little boys; what I actually read before was an account of U.S. military contractors who were procuring prepubescent little boys for their Afghan allies to rape. My bad.

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