Under strict orders not to intervene

Boys raped while Canadian soldiers told to look away
Monkey don't see, don't hear, don't tell. In what is turning up as one of the horrific stories of the war in Afghanistan, our Canadian soldiers have been told to ignore and not act. Young boys are being raped, sometimes very brutally. The Harper government has heard about this for months. In June NDP Defence critic, Dawn Black raised this concern with the government demanding an inquiry and action.

Ottawa Citizen, October 3, 2008: ...In July, Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk confirmed that a board of inquiry would be convened into the allegations. The military is now ready to proceed, according to the Defence Department.

"We expect the Board of Inquiry to be convened in the coming days," a department official wrote in an e-mail.

"The government takes allegations of sexual abuse, even those not directly involving our troops, very seriously," the official wrote in the e-mail. "An investigation is underway to establish the facts surrounding these allegations."

"The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service also started an investigation in July 2008 into the allegations. The Defence Department declined to release further details, citing a concern that could compromise the investigation.

That investigation was prompted by a complaint in the spring from NDP defence critic Dawn Black, who had been approached by a soldier upset by the sexual abuse of boys at the hands of Afghan officers. The soldier told Ms. Black he and his fellow troops were under strict orders not to intervene.

"What I was told was this was a Thursday-night ritual and they weren't to do anything about it," Ms. Black said yesterday. "I outlined what I was told and asked (the Defence Department) for an investigation."

Ms. Black said she was disappointed it had taken months before the Defence Department acted on her complaint."...

Why has it taken the Harper government so long to take action on this case? Is it some desire to limit bad press, some deep ingrained homophobia? I suggest it is a bit of both. I can only imagine the horror these boys face and the emotional trauma they will have to endure their entire lives, whether they be straight or gay. Ignoring these boys, the victims of rape, sometimes extremely violent, is unconscionable.

It seems its about priorities. Why has it taken the Harper government so long to find those that approved and directed our soldiers to ignore and simply walk away from boys who are being raped?

Good people, like our soldiers, are suffering from some of the brutal scenes they have witnessed.

The Toronto Star, on Jun 16, 2008 spoke to Military Chaplain Jean Johns, in June. She told the Star '... she recently counselled a Canadian soldier who said he witnessed a boy being raped by an Afghan soldier, then wrote a report on the allegation for her brigade chaplain.

In her March report, which she says should have been advanced "up the chain of command," Johns says the corporal told her that Canadian troops have been ordered by commanding officers "to ignore" incidents of sexual assault. Johns hasn't received a reply to the report.'

Jones told the Miltary in March of these events and of the order troops were given not to interfere. She had not heard a response to her report as of the June 16 story in the Toronto Star.

"It's ridiculous," an officer told the Star. "We have an ethical and moral responsibility to pursue this, not to shut our eyes to it because it would make it more difficult to work with the Afghan government. "We're supposed to be in Afghanistan to help people who are being victimized."

The independent claims bolster the credibility of an account provided by Cpl. Travis Schouten, a Canadian soldier who served in Afghanistan from September 2006 through early 2007 and now suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. A Star story Saturday detailed an allegation levelled by Schouten that during his tour, he heard an Afghan national army soldier abusing a young boy and then saw the boy afterwards with visible signs of rape trauma, his bowels and lower intestines falling out of his body.

I will be upfront here. I am not happy with Canada's military role in Afghanistan. Over 100 dead Canadian soldiers makes this war too much. Then tolearn of Canadian troops having to endure the 'screams of young boys' is too much. It seems our Military leadership have other priorities than to act humanitarily in all circumstances involving ordinary Afghan citizens.

There are many more reasons for Canadians to be upset with the mission in Afghanistan, this just happems to be one of the more horrific reasons...

1 comment:

The Mound of Sound said...

Child abuse is a widespread problem in Afghanistan where fathers sometimes sell their pre-pubescent daughters into forced marriages with old geezers. Just down the road from the Kandahar air base is a prison were girls as young as 12 are locked up for refusing their father's attempts to sell them to old men. Now, if we want to blow something up, why not that prison. Liberate the kids and fly them to safety in Canada. We're fighting to defend this sort of society?