The honour of Canada's military mission to Afghanistan has been sullied, perhaps irreparably.
The story in today's Toronto Star says it all. Canadian soldiers being ordered to look the other way and shut up about sexual assaults on civilians by their Afghan army comrades.
"Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan have been ordered by commanding officers "to ignore" incidents of sexual assault among the civilian population, says a military chaplain who counsels troops returning home with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The chaplain, Jean Johns, says 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.
While several Canadian Forces chaplains say other soldiers have made similar claims, Department of National Defence lawyers have argued Canada isn't obliged to investigate because none of the soldiers has made a formal complaint, says a senior Canadian officer familiar with the matter."
Great. We're over in Afghanistan training a corps of armed sodomite pedophiles. Best of all, we're making sure to keep a lid on it.
Fight with the Canadian Armed Forces! Indeed. Maybe we could start by shooting a few of the peds we're allied with. Maybe, as described in this 2002 account from the New York Times, we should just hand our Afghan army comrades over to the Taliban:
"Though the puritanical Taliban tried hard to erase pedophilia from male-dominated Pashtun culture, now that the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice is gone, some people here are indulging in it once again.
''During the Taliban, being with a friend was difficult, but now it is easy again,'' said Ahmed Fareed, a 19-year-old man with a white shawl covering his face except for a dark shock of hair and piercing kohl-lined eyes. Mr. Fareed should know. A shopkeeper took him as a lover when he was just 12, he said.
An interest in relationships with young boys among warlords and their militia commanders played a part in the Taliban's rise in Afghanistan. In 1994, the Taliban, then a small army of idealistic students of the Koran, were called to rescue a boy over whom two commanders had fought. They freed the boy and the people responded with gratitude and support.
''At that time boys couldn't come to the market because the commanders would come and take away any that they liked,'' said Amin Ullah, a money changer, gesturing to his two teenage sons hunched over wads of afghani bank notes at Kandahar's currency bazaar. "