(part of the Lost Childhood series)
(Children in Yemen's Army)
In October of 2010 the Barack Obama administration began to put into place actions that would lead to United States military aid to countries using children as soldiers. This meant that countries like Libya, Yemen, and South Sudan would receive weapons, ammunition, and food for their armies while the children of those countries were being forced to kill or be killed. Yet this was the president that claimed to be the biggest humanitarian to ever take office in United States history. This was the guy who ran on a slogan of "Hope". But here he was offering the life blood of any military to countries forcing children to fight... countries who offered no such "hope" to their own future.
“When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed — that’s slavery,” Obama said in a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative. “It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world. Now, as a nation, we’ve long rejected such cruelty.” (October 2012)
Slavery you say mister Obama? Barbaric you say mister President? Evil even?
For three years now the United States has been offering military aid to the Congo and South Sudan. We have also been waiving almost all sanctions on Yemen and Libya. These are all actions that were banned under the Child Soldiers Protection Act of 2008 by the United States Congress. These are all actions that were banned so that we, the United States, would not be seen as offering comfort to armies that employ slavery and children as weapons.
In 2010 Obama told the New York Times that the waiving of these sanctions were of "the national interest". But what is the national interest in allowing children to be "kidnapped" and dragged off to war? Why are we so invested in allowing children to serve in militias in Chad, Yemen, Libya, South Sudan, or the Congo?
There is no national interest in allowing the oppressive regimes of these countries to continue to recruit and abduct children from all over the globe. In Nepal the children soldiers are used as front lines human shields and gun runners. Do we have a national interest in teaching children to run guns a little faster or to zig-zag a little more while being shot at? Do we have a national interest in telling children to not fall over when the first bullet hits them?
“After such a strong statement against the exploitation of children, it seems bizarre that Obama would give a pass to countries using children in their armed forces and using US tax money to do that,” Jesse Eaves - World Vision.
When it comes down to the bottom line it should be obvious to all Americans that it is unacceptable for our tax dollars to be funding children on the battle field. We can not nor should not take the word of a President simply because he thinks the ends will justify the means. This is not an issue that can be compromised on. We are not a nation that holds such low morals that we can accept the abuse of children anywhere for any cause. We are a people that believe that all men are created equal and this applies directly to children and women. Therefore we can not accept a president that calls it "slavery" but will take no action to stop it.
After all, was it not a previous president that went to war to end slavery of Michelle Obama's ancestors? So why is it that Barack Obama now finds it suitable that our military and our tax dollars would help keep children around the world in bondage?
(Note not all Sources Listed)
The Malay Mail