The Army has recently delayed the separation of Sgt. Charles Martland, the Green Beret who attacked an Afghan rapist in 2011, but GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan is demanding the service quit playing games and reinstate him immediately.
This is the third extension the Army has granted Martland while the Board for Correction of Military Records examines his case. The extension is until May 1.
“The Pentagon needs to stop dishonoring a two-time Bronze star recipient and reinstate Sgt. Martland immediately,” Buchanan said in a statement, noting the Green Beret’s exceptional and distinguished service record.
Back in 2011, Martland confronted a local Afghan police commander for tying a small boy to a post and raping him repeatedly for days. The boy and his mother begged Martland for help. When the Green Beret confronted the Afghan police commander, the commander’s sole reaction was to laugh in Martland’s face.
Martland refused to walk away and ignore the boy’s pleas for help, and the commander’s response infuriated him. He shoved the police commander to the ground and soundly beat him, prompting many observers to call him a hero.
“There was no real right answer and no real wrong answer,” Martland said in a letter last year, according to Stars and Stripes. “The morally right action conflicted with the legally right action.”
Last year, the Army dragged Martland’s case out of the archives and issued him a notice of separation via the Army’s Qualitative Management Program as part of a broader attempt to downsize the military by removing non-commissioned officers.
“It is unfathomable that the Pentagon has yet to reinstate Sgt. Martland,” Buchanan said. “The Defense Department has had several months and several opportunities to right this wrong. I’m concerned that bureaucratic red tape is blocking common-sense action.”
This isn’t the first time Buchanan has advocated on behalf of Martland. He has previously asked other members of Congress to support a bipartisan resolution in the House, which asks for the Pentagon to end the campaign against Martland and reinstate him permanently. So far, a total of 50 members of Congress have backed the resolution as well as numerous veterans’ organizations, like Concerned Veterans for America and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Martland’s case is a prime example of implicit U.S. military policy to look the other way and ignore the violent boy-rape culture in Afghanistan. While the U.S. military has denied that any such policy ever existed, the Department of Defense inspector general begs to differ. After initially opening a brief investigation into allegations last year, the IG recently confirmed that there is enough credibility to these reports to justify launching a much larger investigation.
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