One of the precipitating events of the Taliban’s rise to power in the mid-1990s was a small civil war between two non-Taliban warlords over a young boy they both fancied. A Taliban squad rescued the boy, which helped their reputation.
When the Taliban came to power, they implemented reforms to prevent this sort of thing, much to the amusement of Andrew Sullivan, who chortled in 2001:
THE TALIBAN’S DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL: All the rest of NATO may have given up on policing their militaries for homosexuals, but the United States can rest easy knowing that one military that still supports U.S. policy is the Taliban. Any consorting with beardless young men in the army is strictly forbidden. This story from the Daily Telegraph tells of a weird and fastidious obsession.
Uh, Andrew? Please tell us you didn’t realize that “consorting with beardless young men in the army” is a euphemism for an old Afghan custom. James Michener’s informative 1963 novel Caravans refers to it frequently, such as in a description of the butch-femme warrior couples Michener frequently saw. Call me “weird and fastidious,” but on this one issue, I’ve got to come down on the same side as the Taliban against the alliance of Andy Sullivan and the armed pederast warlords.
Even if Sullivan actually does take an open-minded approach to boy-rape, he wouldn’t be the only one:
“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.”
Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally “boy play,” and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records.
The policy has endured as American forces have recruited and organized Afghan militias to help hold territory against the Taliban. But soldiers and Marines have been increasingly troubled that instead of weeding out pedophiles, the American military was arming them in some cases and placing them as the commanders of villages — and doing little when they began abusing children.
But the American policy of treating child sexual abuse as a cultural issue has often alienated the villages whose children are being preyed upon.
Cultural relativism has always been a selective game, ever since anthropologists invented it as a weapon against Western culture, a function it logically cannot serve. The fact that heteronormative monogamy is deeply embedded in our culture doesn’t dampen the anthropologists’ zeal for its extirpation. They always give us their stories about the sexual liberationist utopias of the natives they study, and it’s long been obvious that this is part of their agenda to attack Western sexual morality. It is certainly this, but it can also be an attack on the culture of the natives. To the extent that he propagates his work among them or (as in this case) passes information to “culturally sensitive” occupying foreigners, the anthropologist is telling these people what their culture is. From the mass of contradictory currents, he decrees the sexually degenerate streams alone to be legitimate. Anthropology is theology carried out by outsiders who don’t believe the religion. It’s like atheist liberals lecturing Christians about how “true Christianity” favors gay marriage or lecturing Muslims on how they have a “religion of peace”.
In this case, the natives obviously don’t agree that having their sons raped is part of their culture (hence whole villages being alienated). Their religion, Islam, agrees that this is a wicked practice. As so often happens, we have resolved the contradictions between cultural relativism, intra-cultural tensions, and moralistic imperialism in favor of perversion.
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