Army Captain Dan Quinn is a hero for trying to stop child rape. Why isn’t the U.S. military treating him like one?

Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain who beat up an Afghani militia commander for keeping a boy chained to a bed as a sex slave. (Kirsten Luce/The New York Times)

I got a new hero yesterday, and his name is Dan Quinn. If you don’t know who he is, you should. I bet when you learn about him, you’ll have a new hero too.

But his most famous fight came against an American “ally.”

As the New York Times reported yesterday, Quinn learned that a commander of the Afghan forces working with the U.S. military was keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.

Compelled by common decency and the ability to act on it, Quinn called in the commander, Abdul Rahman, and confronted him.

Rahman laughed in his face, until Quinn snatched him up, threw him to the ground and beat the hell out of him.

“I did this to make sure the message was understood that if he went back to the boy, that it was not going to be tolerated,” Quinn told the Times.

So-called “boy play” is a widely accepted among Afghans. And the U.S. military has apparently ordered soldiers to turn a blind eye to it because its Afghan “culture.”

Child sexual abuse is not “culture.” It’s barbarity. And for Americans to do nothing about it – and even to tolerate it on U.S. military bases – should turn our stomachs. What respect can a village of Afghans have for American soldiers if their sons are raped on U.S. bases?

Dan Quinn is the kind of soldier who commands respect because he isn’t the kind of man who turns a blind eye to the abuse of a child. He isn’t the sort who thinks that victory or “culture” are more valuable than the plain difference between right and wrong.

As the story notes, Quinn also acted to help a 14-year-old girl who was raped by an allied commander. The man’s punishment? A day in jail and then being “forced” to marry the child. Culture.

In a world that was right-side up, Quinn would have been promoted right before the ticker-tape parade in his honor. Instead, he was relieved of his command and pulled from Afghanistan.

If we can tolerate child rape, we have no moral ground to stand upon. We have no foundation to confront our enemies in the name of what is right and good and true.

Dan Quinn gets that difference. Why don’t his superior officers in Washington?


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