Tuesday, November 9, 2010


On October 25, 2010, President Obama signed a memorandum that will exempt four countries from 2008's Child Soldiers Prevention Act - Yemen, Sudan, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This Act was a bipartisan effort to block countries that recruit child soldiers from getting US military assistance or buying US arms. Two other countries mentioned in the law, Myanmar and Somalia, are still prohibited.

So let me get this straight - if a kid in this country makes a gun shape with her finger and pretend 'shoots', she is suspended for making a "terroristic threat" to a teacher. But if some third world hellhole forcefully 'recruits' a kid, gives him a real gun, trains him and sends him off to war, they get Uncle Sam to supply the weapons and foot the bill.

Isn't this genocide? Why are we now supporting this?

For those not aware of the genocide in Darfur, many of those fleeing the violence are seeking refuge in Chad - another of the four exempted countries. Could there possibly be a spillover of violence?

This has gotten little notice, but it should. How can Obama in good conscience exempt these countries? What in the world is he thinking? The reason given for the exemptions is 'national security', and yet there is no explanation forthcoming on how, exactly, this affects our national security. Is there some crisis he sees down the road where we will need armed children at our disposal? Or does he believe the armed youth will be the voices of reason that will overthrow the government and then create a peaceful utopia?

Darfur is already in chaos. Tacit approval of child soldiers by the US government is like throwing gasoline on a brushfire. Please remember that this isn't economic aid, aid for reugees or food and other supplies for the poor. This is a block on military aid. Places like Darfur most definitely do NOT need more weapons. What they need is a functioning, accountable government and a return to sanity. This memorandum all but ensures they will not get it.

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