Child soldiers, hidden problem in US

March 2, 2014

Child soldiers

By Tim King
According to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR), allowing children to serve in the military, in a combat environment is a war crime. This is simple for most people to understand. But if it is illegal, why does the US allow children to serve in its military and how is that not also a war crime?

I’ve seen them in Iraq and in Afghanistan; kids just barely 18 legally serving in the U.S. military; being trusted to function as rational human beings in an armed conflict when they should be at home with their parents.

I’ve seen kids in the war who didn’t even look 17, and the annals of American history are packed with the valiant acts of child soldiers. Moreover, I have seen the scary eyed 17-year old kids serving in the military here in the US, it is shocking.

The problem is that the Americans are the first to point fingers, the first to label…[these people] defending their families as “terrorists” and the US media has enjoyed a hay day expelling criticism of unique groups like the now defunct Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka who used youth in their ranks. In that event, you are talking about a minority culture facing ethnic cleansing; total cultural annihilation.

But it’s OK for the Americans to do it, after all their wars are all politically concocted wars, with no real reason or motivation that comes close to just.

American murder is what the Iraq and Afghan wars are.

In these wars, time and time again, Americans light children up with their machine guns, like in the famous Wikileaks video of the American Army at work in Baghdad mowing down journalists with tripods. Sick sick sick!!!!

The UNHCR goes to great effort in its new report on Sri Lanka to fault the Tamils for using child soldiers. Well I can tell you that I know people who were Tamil Tigers (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE) and they tell me it was an honor for a young Sri Lankan Tamil youth to even be considered for such a role.

Unlike the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where M-23 rebels backed directly by Rwanda and indirectly by Rwanda’s ally, the USA, rips sleeping children from their beds, raping the little girls and making them sex slaves and forcing the boys to murder their own parents as their “first kill”… the LTTE functioned in a protective role for its young soldiers, who were highly trained and effective fighters. They had little choice, as we all now know about that the war crimes against Tamils that (still continue) ended in a massive, US funded Genocide in May 2009.

According to, the youngest known soldier to serve in the First World War, was Momčilo Gavrić. He reportedly joined the 6th Artillery Division of the Serbian Army at the age of 8.

Even the UK is explicitly guilty of this use of children for military purposes of violence. About a fifth of new recruits in the UK are 16 or 17 years of age.

The Americans play a game of technicalities. In truth, children in the United States who are seventeen years old can join the armed forces. The US skirts international law by not placing these children in deadly combat situations, but that 18th birthday is all that is required to be able to kill for America.

It is a sad and interesting fact that the US military is packed with 17-year old kids and they are subjected to the same brutality that any recruit is, and all of the same dangers, but boy are they impressionable, imagine being 18 and killing a human being.

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is the “gift” of war, and it doesn’t require combat, only major trauma. There is no single institution in the USA that exploits weakness and youthfulness like the United States Marine Corps.

Plunging underdeveloped minds and bodies of youngsters into the melee of the US military’s sadistic training ground is a recipe for disaster, and unquestionably, a theft of moral value and the innocence of youth.

But Americans like to think that this only happens in other parts of the world when it is taking place right under their nose. Add to that the fact that under former US president George W. Bush, recruiters were allowed into high schools for the first time in US history.

But the ridiculous lean toward allowing child soldiers is not something current US President Barack Obama objects to, apparently. According to The Washington Examiner:

President Obama determined that it is once again in the national interest of the United States to waive a provision of a law against aiding regimes that use child soldiers to provide non-lethal assistance and peace-keeping support to several African countries.

By law, the president has to notify Congress that he is waiving the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 within 45 days of making the decision. Obama’s press team published the presidential determination on Monday afternoon, with Congress on the eve of a government shutdown.

The Child Soldiers Prevention Act waiver applies fully to Chad, South Sudan and Yemen. Congo and Somalia received partial waivers.

Obama first waived the provision in 2010. Samantha Power, then the National Security Council senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights, promised “at the time that the waivers would not become a recurring event,” as The Cable recalled.

Indeed, as long as profit or some political benefit exists for the United States, its vaunted leaders will agree to exceptions, find ways to skirt international law, or simply behave as though there is some exception in the rules for Americans, there is no such rule.

It goes without saying that youth are more easily misled, more easily convinced to do their government’s dirty work because they associate this with national pride, never comprehending the fact that the US wages illegal wars, that it seeks military superiority for the sake of it, and of course to stimulate the greedy, evil military industrial complex.

The answer to this complex dilemma is not an easy one, but it begins by holding politicians responsible for the needles wars they wage.



The Editor

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