Foreign officers escape child harrassment charges

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While attending professional schooling during my years in the military, I came across many visiting officers from foreign military services. Whether at Field Artillery Officers Basic and Advanced (FAOBC and FAOAC) courses or at the US Army Command and General Staff Officers College (CGSC) we had foreign officers as part of our class. For example, at CGSC I was a hosting officer for a major from the Jamaican Defense Force.

However, the cultural differences with officers from Islamic countries were always quite evident. I will never forget the Egyptian officer at our FAOAC who kept asking for someone to take him to the “strip club.”

It’s not so amusing now. According to the St. Louis Dispatch by way of the Associated Press,

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Pulaski County authorities have dropped charges against two foreign military officers who were training at Fort Leonard Wood when they were arrested. Mohammed Mahmoud Omar Mefleh, of Jordan, and Antoine Chlela, of Lebanon, were charged in October with enticement of a child and harassment. Court records say the men allegedly approached a 12-year-old girl at a bus stop and asked her to enter their vehicle. Pulaski County prosecutor Kevin Hillman said Friday that the charges were dropped as part of an agreement that includes the men paying the cost of their incarceration.

Of course, there will probably be no prosecution of these men in their home country. Can you imagine the outcry if visiting American officers had harassed a young girl in Lebanon or Jordan, or anywhere in the Muslim world? Sure, we wouldn’t turn the individual over to the host nation due to Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) but rest assured, they would be severely punished by our military.

Heck, look at the cases of Army officers Lieutenants Behenna and Lorance who are serving 20 year sentences for killing the enemy. And you know those US Navy SEALS depicted in Lone Survivor feared our own American media and military legal system more than terminating a threat to their mission. I

I don’t think I am asking for much when I say these cultures need to respect our way of life, especially our women. And I can tell you of many instances of Afghan soldiers physically harassing our female warriors, with no retribution.

What do you think of this case? First of all, isn’t it sad it was kept quite hushed? They paid for their incarceration and are on their way home – is that justice or disrespect?

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