Thoughtcrime - 21 Feb 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama says anyone killed by a drone strike can be considered a combatant as long as they're a "military-age male".  By that, surely he must mean anyone who isn't a child soldier (below 15-years-old), as he's shown he has no problem purposefully killing those as young as 16.

However, he has also defied a ban - passed through Congress - on giving military aid to countries which regularly employ child soldiers.  While his position there may be in some doubt, there's no question that going to such lengths to fund a military which contains child soldiers legitimizes the activity.

Continuing this trend, the CIA and American allies/proxies have regularly supplied weapons to Syrian rebels, which maintain child soldiers amongst their ranks.  One rebel is quoted saying, "Children are the best soldiers I know. They obey every command. An adult asks questions and answers back. But the children, they question nothing."

Are child soldiers "military-age males"?

In another instance, U.S. military officials have raised the idea that many of the children in Afghanistan killed are used for terror-related activities and are not "innocent", maintaining they have to "[look out] for children with potential hostile intent."  In this particular case, they were referring to those as young as 8.

Where does that put the definition of "military-age"?  Is anyone old enough to potentially be able to use a weapon fair game?

(Having followed that train of thought to its logical end, it's important not to lose sight of the fact that none of this killing - be it children or adults - is necessary in the first place.)

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