Before being murdered by an AK47-wielding “tea boy” on a base in Helmand Province, Lance Corporal Greg Buckley, Jr. (shown in inset) told his parents about a sense that he would not come home from Afghanistan. He was right. Now, his heartbroken family and a growing group of supporters across America want justice.
In an interview with The New American, the then-21-year-old Marine’s father, Greg Buckley, Sr., also raised troubling questions about the U.S. government’s war in Afghanistan, the controversial policies governing American forces there, and much more. He says it is time for politicians to do something for U.S. troops — and for American soldiers to come home now.
“As Karzai has said many times, they don’t want us there. So why should we even be there?” Buckley, Sr. asked. “There are reasons we are there, and one day our government might tell us the truth. But that day might be too late. We are losing too many soldiers out there in Afghanistan. Our government needs to respect our soldiers, give them more protection, or return all of them home immediately.”
On August 10 last year, two days before Lance Cpl. Buckley, Jr. was finally supposed to return home for a surprise visit with his family, he spent the day following orders to train Afghan security forces. Even though he already knew well from personal experience that the Afghans did not want him or his fellow soldiers in the country — many of the locals loathe the American presence with a passion — Buckley, Jr. did what he was ordered to do.
During a meal after training, one of the U.S. government-backed Afghan troops indicated to Buckley, Jr. that local forces knew the group of Americans was set to leave soon. It made the U.S. Marines nervous — especially since government policy apparently keeps American forces disarmed while on base with armed Afghans. Buckley, Jr. had already terrified his parents by suggesting that he would not be coming home alive.
Later that night after the meal, Buckley, Jr. and his friends went to go work out. While he was on a bench press with his best friend spotting, a then-15-year-old “slave” boy reportedly “belonging” to a high-ranking Afghan police official walked in with an AK47 and shot Buckley, Jr. in the chest, killing him. The so-called “tea boy” murdered two other Marines that night, too. Others were wounded but survived.
After emptying the magazine, according to Buckley, Sr., the young boy, known as Aynoddin, dropped his weapon and ran around the base screaming that he had just performed “jihad.” The murders, however, were not thought up by Aynoddin, Buckley, Sr. told The New American. Instead, he said, the boy had been a slave of local police Chief Sarwar Jan since age 12 and was acting on his instructions.
“As far as I'm concerned that is an execution of a U.S Marine,” Buckley, Sr. said, describing in detail his understanding of what happened. While he would not share his sources or tell The New American how he learned the full story of that night, he said it would eventually be public. Based on the information he now has, Buckley, Sr. said that Sarwar Jan and his “tea boy” were both arrested and that the AK47 used in the murders belonged to the police chief, as identified by the serial number.
“Sarwar Jan was released after only being held for two weeks,” Buckley, Sr. said, citing his sources. “Tea boys do not do anything without their superior telling them what to do. They are considered slaves.... This man needs to be prosecuted, and brought to justice.”
Incredibly, even though superior officers were supposedly well aware of the dangers — police official Sarwar Jan had previously been in trouble on other bases and Marines had asked that the “tea boys” not be allowed on base — Buckley, Sr. said the American troops were left defenseless on the base. He also recalled how Buckley, Jr. had known for some time that he would not be making it home.
“At the end of the day Greg and his Marine boys all knew they were training terrorists that would end up killing them one day,” said Buckley, Sr., who is working relentlessly to pursue justice for his murdered son and all American soldiers. “It’s heart-wrenching to hear as a father that your 20-year-old boy is telling you he might be murdered over there by the very soldiers they are training.”
Buckley, Sr. cited a letter written by his son, now available online on a Facebook page for supporters, where Buckley, Jr. thanked his family for everything. He also told his brothers that they should grow up to be great men. A week after the letter, Buckley, Jr. called his father late at night, speaking in a voice that Buckley, Sr. had never heard before.
"Dad I just wanna come home, I just wanna come home," the father recalled his son saying. Buckley, Jr. continued, his father said, adding: "We all stick together, but we have no control in Afghanistan. I need you to tell mom, Justin, and Shane that I love them very much and that I will not be coming home."
For the first time in his life, the proud father did not know what to tell his son. “As a parent, when you hear your son or daughter say something like that to you, it’s absolutely devastating and heart breaking,” Buckley, Sr. told The New American. “And to this day, I hear my son’s voice over and over saying, ‘I just want to come home’."
Today, Buckley, Sr. is on a mission, not just for his son, but for all American troops, who he says are being needlessly placed in jeopardy by uncaring and out-of-touch politicians. Indeed, most media accounts have described Buckley, Jr.’s killing as a so-called “green-on-blue” attack, the term used to identify the increasingly frequent killings of U.S. forces by the very same Afghan “security” forces they are training.
As The New American reported early last year, despite pumping tens of billions of dollars into “security” for Afghanistan’s notoriously corrupt Islamist regime, well over 130 American and coalition troops have been killed just since 2008 by members of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police — probably more. The numbers are on the rise, too, and the U.S. government has been well aware of the issue for years.
“Such fratricide-murder incidents are no longer isolated; they reflect a growing systemic threat,” noted a U.S. military study released in May of 2011 about the issue. “They are also provoking a crisis of confidence and trust among Westerners training and working with Afghan National Security Forces.” The problem has only gotten worse — much worse — since then.
For Buckley, Sr., enough is enough. “I believe these Marines needed to be protected 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. “We are putting these boys in the lions’ den.... I also believe there is a lack of respect for our soldiers from the government. They need to be respected more than what they are. How could our government allow Aynoddin [the tea boy] and others like him on a police base? The Afghanistan government has absolutely no respect for us, therefore why should we be there?”
As far as who should be held responsible for his son’s murder, Buckley, Sr. said his son was executed due to a lack of respect from the Afghan government, which did not move on the threat even after it was repeatedly warned about allowing “tea boys” on the base. Aynoddin, now 16, should also be brought to the United States and tried as a terrorist, he said. The other person responsible, according to Buckley, Sr., is the police official who “owned” the boy that committed the murders on his orders.
“We must prove that we will not allow terrorists to murder and execute our young men and women in the service or in the United States. We need our government to move on this more with swift justice for all,” he said. “I do not blame anyone in the military, those men and women are just doing what they are told to do.”
Meanwhile, when U.S soldiers do anything “out of turn,” Buckley, Sr. continued, they are immediately prosecuted. “How much longer should our soldiers deal with the B.S. in Afghanistan?” he asked. “They need to come home and be with the people that love them, respect them, and need them. We need to stop worrying about everyone else in the Middle East.”
Buckley, Sr. also asked why the U.S. government was squandering trillions of dollars in countries that burn the U.S. flags, disrespect America, kill American soldiers, and more. “I think the American people have the right to know the answers,” he said. “The last time I looked we are in trillions of dollars of debt. That would be able to be fixed if we stopped giving money away to the Middle East.”
The American people need the truth, the heartbroken father continued, saying that while he lost a son, the country has lost just as much. Buckley, Sr. is asking Americans to write their elected officials to demand justice for his son and for all fallen soldiers and U.S. citizens who have lost their lives in terror attacks.
“We need to show even more concern as U.S citizens over what is going on over there and continuing to go on here in the United States — now more than ever,” he concluded. “And to ask to end this now senseless war, and murders that go on every day. Bring our troops home so they can protect the United States, where they are needed the most.”
Prominent New York attorney Bob Unger, who is supporting the family, also expressed outrage. He told The New American that letters of marque and reprisal, once used by Thomas Jefferson against the Barbary pirates, could be used to obtain justice in the case under the U.S. Constitution. He also raised serious concerns about the policies governing American forces in Afghanistan.
“People talk about gun control, but the U.S. Command — or rather the UN command that our troops are relegated to being under — they impose gun control on our Marines; talk about an oxymoron,” Unger said. “Our command lets our Marines be relegated to dhimmitude status [second-class status for non-Muslims under Islamic governments], where they’re not allowed to act as an equal human being in front of Afghan Muslims.”
Unger, a highly respected, liberty-minded attorney in New York, also criticized the political class in Washington for failing to seek justice. “The Buckley family deserves help from our elected officials, and there has been none given, so the only thing I can assume is that our elected officials are filthy cowards who won’t stand up for our soldiers,” he said. “They give lip service but they don’t give a damn about our soldiers, who they sacrifice as cannon fodder for their political machinations and dreams.”
Nine months after the murder of Buckley, Jr., the U.S. government has still not provided a full report on what happened, claiming it was “pending” or still being investigated. Neither the U.S. Department of Defense nor the Afghan government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately responded to a request for comment.
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