The New York Times and other media outlets are reporting on a disturbing story about Afghan allies raping boys, even on American bases, and American soldiers being punished for speaking out against the practice.

Here’s a revolting bit of the story:

“‘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 reason we were here is because we heard the terrible things the Taliban were doing to people, how they were taking away human rights,’ said Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain who beat up an American-backed militia commander for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave. ‘But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.'”

You can read the rest of it here.

As for it being a part of Afghan culture? If it is, then it is a strong case against the underlying idea of equality in multiculturalism. We certainly recognized that all cultures are not the same, but should we judge cultures against a set of transcendent principles?

Furthermore, it is also a good reminder of democracy’s fatal flaw. If the majority decides something is a cultural norm, the weakest minority will be at the mercy of the powers that be.