Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WAR the Child Soldiers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WAR the Child Soldiers

Article excerpt

Few things shock the sensibilities as deeply as children being forced or enticed into armed combat.

More than 300,000 youngsters, aged 7 to 15, reportedly are fighting in civil wars in such places as Sudan, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Angola.

Child soldiers have been a reality at least since the ill-fated Children's Crusade of 1212, but no reasonable person thinks that is a good thing. That is why no one spoke in its favor during a recent U.N. "debate" on the subject.

But it is much easier to articulate a problem than to solve it.

The Security Council's "solution" was passage of a resolution condemning the use of child soldiers. U.N. officials say that was significant because resolutions, unlike simple statements, are legally binding and can provide the legitimacy for making demands on warring sides.

But tyrants tend not to care about legitimacy, nor are they predisposed to give up a battlefield advantage simply because a group of foreigners asks. …

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