The real toy soldiers are children, and it is estimated that 250,000 children are exploited every day by paramilitary, guerrilla, and state-run military groups. Nine countries have been identified as using child soldiers, and eight of those countries receive US military assistance. How could this be?
It is obvious that being a child soldier is detrimental to children’s social and emotional development. It is bad enough to live in a war zone, let alone become a fighter for whatever cause at a young age. This is no longer the age of Sparta, children have a right to be children.
“Early on when my brothers and I were captured, the LRA explained to us that all five brothers couldn’t serve in the LRA because we would not perform well. So they tied up my two younger brothers and invited us to watch. Then they beat them with sticks until two of them died. They told us it would give us strength to fight. My youngest brother was nine years old.”
– Martin, recruited by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda at age twelve
Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA) has offered a bill to demobilize and rehabilitate child soldiers. The bill would limit US military aid to countries that use child soldiers. This only makes sense.
As promised, this will be my last political rant for awhile; however, if you are wondering what the link between war and the environment is, click on PlanetThoughts.