U.S. soldiers deployed to Afghanistan are using Craigslist to meet and have sex with each other on bases across the war-torn country, leading to concerns about a breakdown in discipline overseas.
Military commanders have forbade any service members who are not married to each other from having sex while deployed to the combat zone. As a result, each of the covert meetings is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The vast majority of the posts on Craigslist involve male soldiers seeking sex with other men – a practice that could have resulted in the discharge of both parities from the military under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which barred gays in the armed forces.
After the policy was repealed by Congress and President Barack Obama in 2010, the penalties for a gay rendezvous aren’t as steep.
A U.S. Marine lance corporal who was caught and arrested after making an illicit meeting with a male undercover Naval Criminal Investigation Service officer, told the Marine Corps Times that he was busted down to private first class, gave up $1,600 in pay and got 45 days of extra duties and 45 days of restrictions.
The soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan use the Iraq Craigslist page – a holdover from a time when hundreds of thousands of Americans were stationed throughout Iraq.
The ‘casual encounters’ section of the site features about two dozen posts a day, mostly from soldiers and civilians working with the military looking for hookups on bases and forward operating posts.
The posts often include sexually explicit photos of the poster’s genitals and sometimes even show sex acts.
‘Looking for a workout buddy or someone to hang out with, see where it goes. Let’s be honest, we all have our times and if it comes down to it, I want someone for clean, sane, safe and drama free fun,’ one serviceman who said he was at Kandahar Air Field wrote.
He posted the message along with a picture of his genitals hanging out of his military fatigues.
‘Like the title says I’m looking for someone to have some DL discreet safe regular fun with. Deployment drags and gets boring here fast!’ said another soldier, who posted a picture of himself in his underwear, his uniform hanging in the background.
That soldier said he was posted at Camp Eggers in Kabul.
Retired Colonel Dr Elspeth Cameron ‘Cam’ Ritchie, a former Army psychiatrist, told the Marine Corps Times that soldiers have long solicited sex while overseas – both from local prostitutes and from each other.
However, online sites like Criagslist make finding hookups faster and easier than ever before, she said.
‘When detached from home, without the ability to openly exercise relationships in a combat environment and with a fatalistic attitude, military members would be inclined to embrace risk-taking,’ she said.
‘These young men have high testosterone and, with the inability to quietly have a relationship, it is not surprising that they are willing to put themselves into that situation.’