Obama supports the use of child soldiers in Africa and Yemen.

@Taskr36 (13925)
United States
October 29, 2010 9:00am CST
I know, this is pretty hard for anyone to believe, but Obama has decided to grant a waiver to some of the worst offenders of the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act. Under that law the US would be expected to cut off military aid to countries that used children as soldiers, but Obama has decided it's better to keep our hands in their government than to protect children from being used as cannon fodder. He thinks pulling military aid would "do more harm than good". Personally I think dumping money into a country and supporting dictators that do such horrible things is about the most harm we could do. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/10/29/waiving-penalties-use-child-soldiers/ http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/10/26/why_is_obama_easing_restrictions_on_child_soldiers http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/29/world/africa/29soldiers.html?_r=1
1 person likes this
8 responses
@laglen (19782)
• United States
29 Oct 10
Here is your hope and change. Impressive huh? I read this earlier and I find the whole issue reprehensible. This should be added to our list of civil rights violations that Obama likes to share with the world.
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
29 Oct 10
That's crazy. Checking someone's citizenship is far worse than sending small children to die as human shields. You really need to get your priorities straight.
1 person likes this
@laglen (19782)
• United States
29 Oct 10
I said nothing about citizenship. That was a different discussion. I was talking about the report that Obama felt the need to share with the rest of the world. I was saying that the use of children as soldiers IS bad. What priorities do I need to straighten out???
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
29 Oct 10
I was kidding Laglen. I really do need to get back to putting [/sarcasm] at the end of things because words on a page aren't always as clear as speech. Yes, I knew exactly what you were referring to. I was just making a joke about how a law that has officers checking someone's citizenship is somehow worthy of being put before the UN commission on human rights (of which Sudan sits on the panel) yet using children as soldiers is not.
1 person likes this
• Belgium
29 Oct 10
While I agree with your general sentiment - that it's horrible that we can be funding states in which this takes place - I can understand the administration's reasoning. It could prove self-defeating if we cut funds for countries that are meant to provide us with help when it comes to "counterterrorism." The NY Times article you provided explains this pretty well: [i]According to White House officials and memos, ending aid to Yemen would have undercut that country’s intense struggle against Al Qaeda. Despite Yemeni government assurances, the national army is still suspected of enlisting children as young as 15, and regional militias of enlisting children 14 and older. Sudan faces the possible secession of its southern region after a January referendum, and support from the United States may prove critical to stability in the south. Leaders of the breakaway southern region agreed last year to a plan to end the use of child soldiers in their forces, called the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, but as of last December, 1,200 children ages 12 to 17 remained in the army. The Congo was exempted because United States-backed programs were helping its military become more professional and fight rights abuses. And continued assistance to Chad, where a branch of Al Qaeda is active, was also said to be a reward for hosting an estimated 280,000 refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan.[/i] Of course, I definitely agree that it's rather unfortunate that the administration could not stand by the act. Hopefully, they actually stand by their promises for the future: [i]And now, they said, the four countries are effectively being given a year to change their ways. “We put these four countries on notice by naming them as having child soldiers, and thereby making them automatically subject to sanctions, absent the exercise of a presidential waiver,” said Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman. “Our intention is to work with them over the next year to try to solve this problem — or at least make significant progress on it — and reassess our posture towards them next year, depending on the progress they have made.”[/i] But I know the most cynical amongst you will say that it's probably just rhetoric to calm the masses.
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
29 Oct 10
When Bush signed the act in 2008 it gave them 2 years. They have blatantly disregarded it. Do you really think they'll suddenly change their ways? The African countries who got the exemption are run by warlords who really don't care about anyone but themselves. Yemen is a terrorist hotbed and giving their government money and allowing them to enlist children in their military isn't going to fix that.
• Belgium
30 Oct 10
You make very accurate points, making this something of a "moral gray area." On one hand, we're dealing with states that are known for their infamous violations of human rights, but one the other hand we're dealing with states that can provide valuable advantages in the "War Against Terror." It all depends on what you value most. I fully admit, I don't feel very comfortable with the administration's decision either.
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
30 Oct 10
I don't really see any advantages in the African countries getting exemptions. Theoretically Yemen could help us deal with the many terrorists coming out of there since it's an al Quaeda stronghold, but I think they are state sponsors of terror and are basically playing both sides to get our money while doing next to nothing about the terror problem.
@djbtol (5498)
• United States
29 Oct 10
It is kind of hard to imagine what 'national interests' of the US are best protected by allowing child soldiers. Our government is being absurd if they think the use of that little phrase will make people support this decision. And about dumping money into all these other countries, we are way past the point when that fad needs to be cut back and controlled. We do not owe these countries, and we know these countries openly bash the US every chance they get. Time to quit worshiping at the alter of multicultural diversity and get real about the world we live in. Then we should talk about rights. Many have determined that because a woman's body is her own, she can take the life of a baby. What rights do these child soldiers have? What can they do to protect their body? With obama, there is always a hidden, dark agenda. Maybe he is leaving the door open for an obama youth program in the U.S. One thing is for sure, obama is more like Chavez every day.
@djbtol (5498)
• United States
30 Oct 10
The two explosive devices intercepted on Friday originated from Yemen, i believe. We do like to have good relationships with other countries, but it must be about more than the money.
• China
30 Oct 10
hello friend. how do you know it ? this is a great news to me . and i know nothing for this. ? why obama do this in other country ? why? does he want to find the palce for world war three in the world . so worry about this . so the war is good to amercia. but i dont think so . war is unneccessary in the world now .thank you for your news here.
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
30 Oct 10
He is doing this because, like Bush and other presidents, he wants to keep his hands in other governments. He's willing to ignore horrible human rights abuses just to have some control.
• United States
29 Oct 10
Wow. I don't understand his logic. Pull the money. We should not be dumping money into foreign countries anyway...much less one that uses kids as "cannon fodder".
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
29 Oct 10
Yup. Oh, and Obama voted for this legislation back in 2008 when Bush signed it. It shows you about how much any of his own votes really mean to him.
• Indonesia
30 Oct 10
obama is very nicely?i think not.
@saqi78 (1405)
• Malaysia
29 Oct 10
This is really shame for all of us that a strongest man in the world is supporting such a widked, silly and unhuman act. If this is true then we should be ashamed of it and should protest it on all forums... Be happy and be the cause of happiness to others...
@flowerchilde (12518)
• United States
29 Oct 10
I've long felt that many in the world are waiting for the dictators to get their ethnic cleansing, etc's done, thinking then they can work out a world peace with them. Which of course if true is illogical on so many levels!!