Thursday, May 28, 2009

Child Soldiers

Somali Islamist insurgent fighters are seen at one of the bases vacated by Ethiopian troops in the capital Mogadishu. Ethiopian soldiers supporting Somalia's Western-backed interim government quit their main bases in Mogadishu on Tuesday, witnesses said, prompting celebrations among many residents.

By way of CJ:
It’s one thing to accidentally kill a child in the exchange of gunfire, but to actually have one in your sights and to pull the trigger is not something I think any Soldier is prepared for. They don’t train us to have to kill kids, but that’s the position the terrorists are putting us in. This story just really broke my heart.

The US military said on Saturday its soldiers shot dead a 12-year-old boy who tried to attack a joint American and Iraqi patrol with a grenade in the tense northern city of Mosul.

“Coalition forces fired on two of three individuals positively identified as involved in the attack, killing one, who they later discovered was a 12-year-old boy,” Master Sergeant Michael Wetzel told AFP.

“We have every reason to believe that insurgents are paying children to conduct these attacks or assist the attackers in some capacity, but undoubtedly placing the children in harm’s way,” he said, following Thursday’s shooting.

Read the rest HERE.

Foreign Policy has an interesting article on "Child Soldiers":

In Afghanistan, a 14-year-old was responsible for the first killing of a NATO soldier -- likely just one of the estimated 8,000 child soldiers who do or have worked as part of the Taliban's forces.

Face to face with child soldiers in battle, Western military forces are often befuddled as to what to do. Should they engage, retreat, surrender, or attempt to disarm? The U.S. Army's war manual, for example, offers no guidance on rules of engagement. The British Army only recognized the problem after one of its patrols was captured by child RUF soldiers in Sierra Leone, having been hesitant to attack the under-15-year-olds. Britain later used pyrotechnics and loud explosions in that conflict to induce panic among the ill-trained youngsters, many of whom would simply run away.


The biggest challenge of all in ending child soldiering lies in the types of conflicts that employ the young. Children tend to be recruited in brutal, long-running civil wars, the kind that simmer for years or even decades. Unfortunately, these wars constitute the main form of armed conflict today. Until they stop, the recruitment of children never will.
From Inside Gitmo:
There are many articles and reports documenting the use of child soldierssome as young as just six years oldin Afghanistan and Iraq. Some selections covering this problem during the early days of the war in Afghanistan include Hannah Beech Farkhar, The Child Soldiers, Time, November 4, 2001; Rachel Stohl, Children on the Front Line: Child Soldiers in Afghanistan, Center for Defense Information, October 15, 2001; and David Rohde, 12 Year Olds Take Up Arms Against Taliban, New York Times, October 2, 2001. More recent articles of interest on this subject include Monte Morin, Taliban Recruiting Afghan Children for Suicide Bombings, Stars and Stripes, June 27, 2007; Marc Perelman, A New, Younger Jihadi Threat Emerges, Christian Science Monitor, December 28, 2007; Nick Owens, Child Soldiers Trained by the Taliban to Kill British Soldiers,, February 8, 2008; and Juvenile Detainees Gain Second Chance through Dar Al-Hikmah from the Operation Iraqi Freedom Official Website of the Multi-National Force Iraq, August 17, 2007. Videos of child soldiers, including six-year-old Juma Gul, who had been tricked by the Taliban into wearing a suicide vest and instructed to throw himself at U.S. soldiers, can be found by typing child soldiers Taliban into the search box at

Also read: Gitmo detainee supposedly 12 years old when captured and held for 6 years.

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Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I perhaps have a different view and take for you on the matter of having to stop a child from committing some kind of heinous or murderous act against oneself or others, and that is this:

Whilst in the streets, I determined long ago that if confronted by a child wielding deadly force ready to be used or being used against other persons, that I would not hesitate in lawfully stopping that person using, if necessary, deadly force in kind.

Some people labeled me a monster for entertaining and stating such things. I call myself a Realist for this very important reason: children, in possession of deadly force (handgun, long gun, shotgun, etc) have little if any concept of mortality or a sense of what death or injury truly means. Children now, in particular, have a reality tempered by video games and a disconnect between act and consequence. I would have then (and now) dropped the hammer on a child with the same alacrity I would an adult in similar scenarios -- actually, perhaps even quicker. Luckily that situation never occurred with a child, only with adults.


Thursday, May 28, 2009 3:03:00 PM  
Anonymous tapline said...

If indeed this could become a problem, it shuld be addressed by the commanders and put in writing what one should do if put in a postition such as this.....Hence the battlefield lawyers....address it before it becomes a problem and is seen on CNN.....stay well.....

Thursday, May 28, 2009 6:29:00 PM  
Blogger Average American said...

When you have an enemy aiming a gun at you, it doesn't make a damned bit of difference how old he or she is. That bullet will get you whether from a 10 year old or a 100 year old. My response is the same either way, kill or be killed. Bang!

Thursday, May 28, 2009 11:34:00 PM  

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