It has taken me a couple of days to calm down enough even to write about the latest story of the sexual exploitation of children. This time, it is my own government that is guilty. I admit, I am one of those patriotic types. I tend to tear up at the National Anthem and when I hear about the bravery of our troops who fight and die to protect me and mine. But this, this latest story has me nearly speechless with rage. Two brave Marines learned of an Afghan man holding young boys in sexual slavery ON A U.S. BASE in Afghanistan. Reports say some personnel have routinely heard young boys screaming and crying at night while being sexually assaulted. These two Marines, having had enough of these reports, found the man and delivered some well deserved frontier justice. Enough, they apparently thought, of reporting these abuses up the chain of command and being ignored. Enough, they thought, of reporting the rape of little boys to Afghan authorities and being ignored. In one instance, they reported the rape of a 14 year old girl to Afghan authorities. What happened? The Afghan rapist was sentenced to one day in prison. The innocent girl? She was sentenced to life imprisonment: she was forced to marry her rapist! What have we become? When did we decide it was ok to ignore the rape and sexual slavery of children because it was expedient? And those two hero Marines? Cashiered out of the military for daring to take on this horrific policy of condoning rape and exacting some small measure of justice for the victims.
This is not the country I love and was proud to serve as a public prosecutor for 16 years. Protecting children is never a hard choice. At least, it shouldn’t be. All the officials asked to comment since the story broke in the NY Times have either said “ask someone else,” or “there is no such official policy to ignore child rape,” as if looking the other way is acceptable. Nelson Mandela said “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” This country has lost its soul. And I’m disgusted by it. I sincerely hope those responsible, including every person who stood silently by and let children be raped, are held to account for it. I hope they never get another moment’s peace or rest. Like the children they failed.