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Obama Administration Aids Child Soldier Armies

November 19, 2010

In 2008, Congress passed important legislation, the Child Soldiers Prevention Act, banning US assistance to militaries that use child soldiers.  This past month, the Obama White House took US policy a giant step backward by issuing a blanket waiver of that restriction for Sudan, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Yemen – all of which still use child soldiers.  The Administration claims the waivers are necessary to help improve the security – military and police – forces of these countries as they struggle with internal violence and instability, and that US assistance provides leverage to reduce their use of child soldiers.  Unfortunately, those arguments, also made by previous administrations to justify continued military assistance to countries that use child soldiers, have not proven to play out on the ground in the past.  The Obama Administration can claim it is the “right” intentions, and that will make all the difference, but little evidence shows that good intentions make good policy.

FCNL has joined 28 other national human rights and religious organizations in sending President Obama a letter strongly objecting to the waiver and urging specific steps forward to try to mitigate the effects.

  1. Mark Grantham permalink
    November 19, 2010 10:44 am

    I will openly admit to one thing, right now I am not the biggest Obama fan there is. I was, but not now! The U.S. has no right to show any kind of support to any nation that uses children in any sort of combative manner, actually, the U.S. has no right to show support to any country that uses combative manners in any way!
    War and the thinking that goes with it are learned behaviors. The support of war and the mindset that goes along with it, need to be unlearned, and now. I used to have a yard sign that read, “War is not the Answer”, it was taken, I hope that the person who took it needed it more than I did. I am still searching for the ever present question to this very vital yard sign, but I do realize that using children as shields is not the answer.

  2. Jeanne DeFlorio permalink
    November 21, 2010 5:02 am

    Obama has been leading in the wrong direction. He was elected on a platform that he has not upheld. This in and of itself is extremely disappointing. If he does take a stand it is usually in the opposite direction of what he campaigned for.
    If he had kept this campaign promises perhaps things would be better in terms of our economic conditions and our foreign policies.

  3. Tyrone permalink
    May 10, 2011 12:52 am

    While their is something fundamentally wrong about child soldiers we would be hypocrites for thinking our countries are to good to utilize child soldiers.
    ” William “Willie” Johnston (born July 1850)…received the Medal of Honor on the recommendation of his division commander, thereby becoming the youngest recipient of the highest decoration at 13 years of age. Who earned the Medal during the Civil War just prior to his 12th birthday and received his award 6 weeks after his 13th.”
    ” Jacklyn Harrell Lucas, Covered two Japanese grenades with his body. Survived the blast of the one that exploded. Youngest recipient since the Civil War (turned 17 just 5 days before Iwo Jima D-Day).”
    ” Since its inception, the Victoria Cross has been awarded 1,351 times. The youngest recipient was 15 years old (Newfoundland’s Tommy Ricketts) ”

    War is war, this will always happen. Obama is a realist, if we stop aiding war torn states they will only utilize child soldiers more and more as they grow more desperate. Obama has had an intelligent realization. Helping stabilize these war torn states, by aiding leaders who are sympathetic to western ideology, is the fastest way to stop the use of child soldiers… You end the war, you stabilize the nation, You end the need for a large military, thereby ending the need for child soldiers.

    And if you think this does not happen in North America any more… I enlisted at 16, and served until 21.

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