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Moral Turpitude of US Soldiers in Afghanistan

30 May, 2011

By Syed Zan Khan


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While surfing on net sometime ago, a news piece caught my eye “declining moral values in US army” and that reminded me of a quote, buried deep down in my memory somewhere.
“A country with "declining" moral values, in my opinion, spells disaster, unless something is done about it. There is NOTHING good about an immoral society, unless one is immoral”.

A recently conducted Gallup survey states, “Americans are three times more likely to describe the state of U.S. moral values as poor (45%) than excellent or good (15%). Also, 76% say moral values are getting worse”.

Being an ex serviceman I would like to focus my thoughts on the US Armed forces’ ethical values. Code VI of the ‘Code of Conduct for Members of the US Armed Forces’ states, “I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America”.

Despite my utmost efforts, I was unable to get clear, consistent answers regarding what comprises lawful and humane treatment of Afghan young boys. I am certain that this confusion contributed to a wide range of abuses against young Afghan boys including; asking for sexual favours by giving death threats, taking benefit of the non accessibility of fundamental inevitability of life that is food and water, taking out mental and physical stress by acts of Sodomy of young Afghan boys and degrading treatment such as forcing kids to strip naked and amuse Soldiers.

Some argue that since US forces actions are not as horrifying as Al Qaeda`s, US should not be concerned. Since when Al Qaeda become any type of standard by which the morality of the United States can be gauged? Will US Forces confront danger and adversity in order to preserve their ideals, or will their courage and commitment to individual rights wither at the prospect of sacrifice? My response is simple; if US abandon their ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never ever their property.

The shameful conduct of the US forces has inflicted immeasurable damage to America and its reputation around the world. I fear it will take at least a generation for its restoration - if it could ever be restored. When US officials and the Mainstream Media refer to torture, they point to techniques which are obvious cases of torture such as "water boarding" but appear dismissive of other practices which are according to international law deemed as ethical and moral degradation such as sexual abuse, sodomy, insults or denying prisoners their right to pray or carry out other religious observances such as reading their Holy Scriptures like “The Quran”.

Even if one turns a blind eye to the “Tailhook scandal” yet nobody has any justification to ignore the Associated Press investigation which found that more than 80 military recruiters were disciplined for sexual misconduct with potential enlistees?

Last year more than 210 men, posted in Afghanistan, made confidential reports of sexual assault by other men, nearly three times as many as in 2009. The real number of victims is surely much higher. In the military, observing silence over sexual misconduct is a general practice. By the Pentagon’s own estimate, figures for assaults on women likely represent less than 20 percent of actual incidents. Another study released in March found that just one in 15 men in the Air Force would report being sexually assaulted, compared with one in five women.

Commanders often decline to take any action at all. “I have nothing bad to say about the military. There are sick bastards in all walks of life,” says Michael F. Matthews, who was raped during basic training in 1972 but didn’t tell anyone until 30 years later.

I could not help howling once I read about “military sexual trauma” in Afghanistan      It was June 2010, Like most soldiers, Rosenfield Wood was driven by both patriotism for his homeland and the pragmatic notion that the military career would enable him to serve his country the best. Having this notion he arrived at Forward Operating Base, about 30 kilometers East of Mirwais Mina district of the province of Kandahar. Instead, Wood watched as three of his comrades ushered two 12 years old boys through the security checkpoint. The boys were stripped naked in the open and led inside a nearby building. Wood was bewildered. He asked Sergeant Major Michael Blade standing next to him who the boys were. The Sergeant Major said that the boy was one of "the bitches."

I am absolutely clueless having no answer for this question that when men in the military who rape innocent Afghan boys will be taken to the task, since no one wants to talk about it. Why the sexual assault of children in the service is not confronted? Will the International Criminal Court show the guts and probe into the allegations of moral turpitude of US soldiers in Afghanistan?

 

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