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
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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