Author Topic: Child Soldiers  (Read 39191 times)

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Offline Shipwreck

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Child Soldiers
« on: February 26, 2012, 14:13:44 »
I was just reading about Obama sending troops to Uganda to hunt for Joseph Kony/the LRA, and the meat of my question is that it said the only people he trusts as bodyguards are thirteen year olds. Would the US military/our forces be able to engage a child at all without needing it to be self defence or what have you. I'm just curious if anyone could shed light on how to fight child soldiers.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2012, 14:29:09 »
I was just reading about Obama sending troops to Uganda to hunt for Joseph Kony/the LRA, and the meat of my question is that it said the only people he trusts as bodyguards are thirteen year olds. Would the US military/our forces be able to engage a child at all without needing it to be self defence or what have you. I'm just curious if anyone could shed light on how to fight child soldiers.

You know I have never thought of that....bigger brains than mine may have to tackle that one. It is a political minefield.


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Offline Brihard

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2012, 14:38:30 »
Damn. That IS a compelling question. Fighting child soldiers in self defense, yeah, that's legally crystal clear. But an operation that would require direct action on an objective known to be guarded almost exclusively by child soldiers that *would* fight- frig...

I cannot offhand think of any part of the laws of armed conflict that would proscribe such things- the LOAC are already violated by the party utilizing child soldiers, and I don't know of any precedent that would make it illegal to operate against such an enemy; *they* would bear the legal culpability, not we as a force.

But that's the legality of it. What of the *political* cost? Or. worse, the moral one? Could I, as a section commander, live with an order to go in and assault a position where I know I'll be shooting child soldiers? Could I morally deal with giving those orders to my soldiers? I know what my duty would be if orders were lawful. I don't know what it would take from me to do it, and I won't try to sit here on my leather couch on a Sunday morning and say for sure that I could.

This would seem to be one of those situations where *every* other imaginable way of neutralizing the enemy force without going in to shoot them in the face would suggest itself to be preferable, even balanced against some tactical and strategic risks.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2012, 14:42:57 »
Damn. That IS a compelling question. Fighting child soldiers in self defense, yeah, that's legally crystal clear. But an operation that would require direct action on an objective known to be guarded almost exclusively by child soldiers that *would* fight- frig...

I cannot offhand think of any part of the laws of armed conflict that would proscribe such things- the LOAC are already violated by the party utilizing child soldiers, and I don't know of any precedent that would make it illegal to operate against such an enemy; *they* would bear the legal culpability, not we as a force.

But that's the legality of it. What of the *political* cost? Or. worse, the moral one? Could I, as a section commander, live with an order to go in and assault a position where I know I'll be shooting child soldiers? Could I morally deal with giving those orders to my soldiers? I know what my duty would be if orders were lawful. I don't know what it would take from me to do it, and I won't try to sit here on my leather couch on a Sunday morning and say for sure that I could.

This would seem to be one of those situations where *every* other imaginable way of neutralizing the enemy force without going in to shoot them in the face would suggest itself to be preferable, even balanced against some tactical and strategic risks.


Lets not forget the most fanatical of the enemy in WW2 were the SS and the child soldiers Hitler sent out.
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Offline Brihard

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2012, 14:48:00 »

Lets not forget the most fanatical of the enemy in WW2 were the SS and the child soldiers Hitler sent out.

Nope, not forgotten at all. I would contend that there's a difference between a total war between great powers where one of those powers is on the ropes, and an 'elective' international intervention that we could as easily (issues of ethical defensibility aside) not engage in.

I have no doubt that child soldiers can fight- though perhaps more as 'warriors' than as a cohesive unit. And with many of them kept in line with drugs, they would be an enemy that potentially could be very unrelenting if they're defending a position. Not a spot I'd ever hope to be in.

And now I've gotta turn this back around and do a 180- the moral costs of potentially sending troops in deliberate ops against child soldiers notwithstanding- is there not potentially an equal if not greater moral burden in *not* doing what we can and must to end something that puts these kids (or the next ones) in this position in future?

Hard to look at some of the worst things humanity can do to itself and try to figure out the lesser evil on this one...
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2012, 14:52:09 »
Nope, not forgotten at all. I would contend that there's a difference between a total war between great powers where one of those powers is on the ropes, and an 'elective' international intervention that we could as easily (issues of ethical defensibility aside) not engage in.

I have no doubt that child soldiers can fight- though perhaps more as 'warriors' than as a cohesive unit. And with many of them kept in line with drugs, they would be an enemy that potentially could be very unrelenting if they're defending a position. Not a spot I'd ever hope to be in.

And now I've gotta turn this back around and do a 180- the moral costs of potentially sending troops in deliberate ops against child soldiers notwithstanding- is there not potentially an equal if not greater moral burden in *not* doing what we can and must to end something that puts these kids (or the next ones) in this position in future?

Hard to look at some of the worst things humanity can do to itself and try to figure out the lesser evil on this one...

What a good topic, if a bit morbid, to discuss.

Not only fighting child soldiers and the resultant negative attention it would bring, what of the moral cost when those soldiers who fought children were redeployed home? How would they be greeted by the public and treated by the ruling government?
Vietnam taught us that the public doesn't like children being killed, no matter what the reason....even in self defence.

I hope we never have to send soldiers on a "no win mission" such as this.
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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2012, 14:55:53 »
I hope we never have to send soldiers on a "no win mission" such as this.
I sure don't have an answer to the ROE question, but I hope those who decide where we go (and don't) keep this squarely in mind.
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Offline Brihard

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2012, 15:09:00 »
Yup- how many of those soldiers would be psychological write-offs through no fault of their own? Arguably our strongest proscription- doing wilful harm on those who are or ought to be innocent, particularly kids, turned right back around in our face by the sick ****s who compel those kids to fight and whose crimes are so awful that we *have* to stand against them. With those kids in the middle.

It's gonna happen, too, at some point. US SOCOM in Uganda are probably already facing this question.

Would these returning soldiers be seen as irreparably 'damaged' by society, and pushed out of it as a result? Would Canadians be able to accept a narrative that frames as a necessity the deliberate killing of child soldiers in order to effect an intervention that a segment of society will by default deem to be 'imperialist' or 'neo-colonialist' or whatever else they might come up with in objection?

I'd be very doubtful that any party in power in Canada would take its political chances in making a call to commit to something like this... I'm disappointed to think, too, that the decision *would* be a political, and not a moral one.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2012, 15:13:26 »
The highest levels of government better talk about this now......please, for the sake of our soldiers.
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Offline GAP

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2012, 15:18:04 »
That was one issue that came up because we were fighting people who were of the same stature of children, and in fact some were. Basically the issue resolved itself when push came to shove and you had to chose between protecting yourself or not. I was not a hard decision in the end.
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2012, 15:20:26 »
Yup- how many of those soldiers would be psychological write-offs through no fault of their own? Arguably our strongest proscription- doing wilful harm on those who are or ought to be innocent, particularly kids, turned right back around in our face by the sick ****s who compel those kids to fight and whose crimes are so awful that we *have* to stand against them. With those kids in the middle.

It's gonna happen, too, at some point. US SOCOM in Uganda are probably already facing this question.

Would these returning soldiers be seen as irreparably 'damaged' by society, and pushed out of it as a result? Would Canadians be able to accept a narrative that frames as a necessity the deliberate killing of child soldiers in order to effect an intervention that a segment of society will by default deem to be 'imperialist' or 'neo-colonialist' or whatever else they might come up with in objection?

I'd be very doubtful that any party in power in Canada would take its political chances in making a call to commit to something like this...
I'm disappointed to think, too, that the decision *would* be a political, and not a moral one.


Leaving aside the main point, fascinating though it may be, any decision to send Canadian soldiers anywhere had better be political - not necessarily just domestic, partisan political, but mainly (one hopes) based on our geo-political (strategic) calculations. But even if international political/strategic considerations dominate, there will be, inevitably, some domestic "spillover;" there was when Jean Chrétien decided, in 2001, to send the CF to Afghanistan, against his own political instincts I have heard; there was, again, when, Paul Martin decided to move the mission to Kandahar; and, yet again, when Stephen Harper decided to extend the mission and then to leave Kandahar. Even when, as in 1939, the moral necessity for going to war is crystal clear there are, there were in Mackenzie King's deliberations, domestic political considerations.
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Offline Brihard

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2012, 15:30:30 »
Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that there ought not be a substantial political component to the decision. We elect representatives to pursue the national interest, and I respect that. I simply fear that the moral and ethical issues attendant in such a decision would be overshadowed by more shallow and callous political considerations. What it would mean for re-election, vice what it would mean for Canada and Canadian society.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2012, 17:10:54 »
The highest levels of government better talk about this now......please, for the sake of our soldiers.

 :nod:

The practice of indoctrinating and employing child soldiers in any aspect of asymmetrical warfare must be something that the international community takes a firm stand (i.e. material action) against offending nation-states or non-nation organizations.  Sadly many children are irrecoverable by the time they are established in conflict, but the practice should be curbed so that others don't follow. 

It certainly is an aspect that modern major militaries/nations do not address particularly well -- the danger of failing to do so places the nations' soldiers in significant psychological danger should they find themselves in a situation where the enemy combatant (trained in many cases to be quite proficient with small arms, etc...) may only be of single-digit age.  For militaries to 'whistle and look the other way' is perhaps not the best way to give due consideration to the potential of such situations in future operations around the world.

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Offline GD

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2012, 19:15:55 »
Wouldn't the decision essentially come down to weather or not the action was/is in the greater good of humanity. Unfortunately the decision would also rest on one person or a group of people who will be wrong in the eyes of the majority of westerners no matter the choice. If the politicians in charge chose to act then they lose because they attacked innocent children, but if they did not act and a disaster befell their people then they are at fault as well.

It ultimately comes down to weather or not we would be willing to justify doing a bad thing as long as it balances out with a good thing, e.g. killing enemy combatants even children in the name of preventing a genocide or something to that effect. Because ultimately if we are not willing to go to battle under those circumstances our enemies would employ children in any and all combat so as to win by default.

Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2012, 19:37:24 »
We have to remember that children are far more impressionable than adults. Hitler knew this and so did the Communists, where children would report their elders for infractions of Communist ideology. Christians and Muslims are aware of this as well.

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Offline jeffb

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2012, 19:49:24 »
There is no goal here, in the scenario presented, to go and kill children soldiers. The goal is to end the use of child soldiers and the actions of a group that have cause a lot of problems for a very long time. Of course there is the psychological effect on the soldiers and the political considerations but I'm going to take a look at the moral question here.

It think the doctrine of double effect come into play here.  For purposes of argument let's say that killing/capturing Jospeh Konya is good and that killing child soldiers is bad although this may be a a point for debate.

Criteria #1: that the action in itself from its very object be good or at least indifferent;
I would argue that in this case the action is the removal of a mass murder. That action is good from a moral perspective.

Criteria #2: that the good effect and not the evil effect be intended;
The intention here is not to kill children but to remove a mass murder. Killing child soldiers is an unintended side effect.

Criteria #3: that the good effect be not produced by means of the evil effect;
This would be mission dependent but as long as the means of removing the leader involved some disproportionate means, then this test should pass.

Criteria #4: that there be a proportionately grave reason for permitting the evil effect;
In this scenario, I think that given the scale of murders, rapes, etc that have been conducted by the followers of this leader, this test is passed as well.

One also has to take action to minimize the potential of the evil effect. In this case, I think that this has already been accomplished to some degree through the numerous international efforts to ban the usage of child soldiers. The LRA knows that this is illegal yet persists. On an tactical level, this can also be minimized through IA. (Leafleting, word-of-mouth, amnesty program, providing surrender instructions, etc.) although I strongly doubt that these tactics would be useful.

I think that in this scenario, even if Konya is protected by child soldiers, there is a moral case here for engaging him.

This is a guy after all who was indicted by the ICC almost 7 years ago now...
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2012, 20:10:49 »
GD, that's why the preferred course of action would be to politically address the situation international organization to offender state, so that it is not soldier pitted against soldier, some of whom would be children and the others not, but burdened with the discordance between military mission and what the adult soldier would see in his sights.   

The prospects are not very appealing for either side, but there is no doubt, even in conflicts in which Canada and other Western nations have been involved, that a pre-teen carrying (and in many cases rather proficiently [enough] trained on) an AK-47 would pose a significant moral dilemma most adult soldiers.  The real potential of a situation where an adult soldier may be protecting unarmed civilians, but whose position is being advanced upon by armed (and firing) pre-teens, exists.  It has happened before (I have heard of first-hand accounts from Rwanda) and it will no doubt occur again in the future.  I have no doubt that any soldier finding themselves in such a situation would be most certainly subject to an OSI, and knowing this, soldiers should be prepared by their respective nations (while the nations attempt to eliminate the root problem) to conduct themselves in a manner that respects the Law of Armed Conflict, such as it exists today, primarily within Additional Protocols 1 & 2 of the Geneva Convention and more recently (2003) the Optional Protocol (to the 1989 Children's Rights Convention) on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

As with the Ottawa Treaty regarding the banning (and destruction) of anti-personnel mines, Canada (some representatives, anyway, such as Sen. Dallaire) is taking an active role in the Child Soldiers Initiative (CSI) intended to eliminate (or at least greatly curtail) the use of children younger than 18 years of age from involvement in armed conflict.


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Offline Brihard

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2012, 20:23:34 »
There is no goal here, in the scenario presented, to go and kill children soldiers. The goal is to end the use of child soldiers and the actions of a group that have cause a lot of problems for a very long time. Of course there is the psychological effect on the soldiers and the political considerations but I'm going to take a look at the moral question here.

It think the doctrine of double effect come into play here.  For purposes of argument let's say that killing/capturing Jospeh Konya is good and that killing child soldiers is bad although this may be a a point for debate.

Criteria #1: that the action in itself from its very object be good or at least indifferent;
I would argue that in this case the action is the removal of a mass murder. That action is good from a moral perspective.

Criteria #2: that the good effect and not the evil effect be intended;
The intention here is not to kill children but to remove a mass murder. Killing child soldiers is an unintended side effect.

Criteria #3: that the good effect be not produced by means of the evil effect;
This would be mission dependent but as long as the means of removing the leader involved some disproportionate means, then this test should pass.

Criteria #4: that there be a proportionately grave reason for permitting the evil effect;
In this scenario, I think that given the scale of murders, rapes, etc that have been conducted by the followers of this leader, this test is passed as well.

One also has to take action to minimize the potential of the evil effect. In this case, I think that this has already been accomplished to some degree through the numerous international efforts to ban the usage of child soldiers. The LRA knows that this is illegal yet persists. On an tactical level, this can also be minimized through IA. (Leafleting, word-of-mouth, amnesty program, providing surrender instructions, etc.) although I strongly doubt that these tactics would be useful.

I think that in this scenario, even if Konya is protected by child soldiers, there is a moral case here for engaging him.

This is a guy after all who was indicted by the ICC almost 7 years ago now...

A great breakdown of the moral analysis, thank you- and your point about this being an excellent venue for IA effects is very well taken too. The same thought had occurred to me, but I lack expertise in that field and didn't bring it up.

The dynamics of a cult mentality as it applies to child soldiers is something that I don't think has received a lot of scholarship through to the tactical level. To what degree could IA be persuasive here? If these kids don't have exposure to the media through which IAoperates and if direct interface is likely to result in confrontation, I could see it being very difficult to make gains here. Children make easy zealots, and such zealots are easy to program to violently reject any attempt at influence or persuasion...
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2012, 20:31:54 »
I have not changed my opinion.

Quote
Army General / Re: After Afghanistan - What Will Canada Do With Its Army?
« on: March 30, 2010, 09:07:05 »
What is i.e. The RCR going to do when, unexpectedly or suddenly, 25 or so crazed (on something), or threatened (by something) child soldiers, firing AK 47's, attack an outpost/patrol/convoy with the intent of death to the invaders? Do we stand and fight, try to get out of there, get overrun while thinking about it/waiting for order clarification, surrender?

What are the rules of engagement when attacked by child soldiers, cause you will end up engaging them in Africa, sometime, someplace for absolute sure? If anything, the "enemy" will make sure it happens. They know Canadian politics.

What is the result of Canadian soldiers killing child soldiers? More PTSD cases? War criminal charges led by the Liberals/NDP/CBC/ Jane Taber/Jim Travers et al?

What happens when some of these child soldiers capture one or so of our female soldiers who then becomes a toy? Or one of the guys being gutted, his heart eaten, body thrown into the bush?

Stay out of Africa.

Quote
Army General / Re: After Afghanistan - What Will Canada Do With Its Army?
« on: March 30, 2010, 18:33:00 »
I have no doubt that you and many others will execute the mission. My questions are to the Canadian and Quebec public, the LPC/NDP/Bloc. the media, the pot stirers, new Canadians from Africa?

Soldiers will carry out lawful orders, but do you trust the LPC/NDP/Bloc, the media, the pot stirers to cover your back. Not friggen likely.

The soldiers will be wounded within, in more ways than the engagement of child soldiers.

Quote
Army General / Re: After Afghanistan - What Will Canada Do With Its Army?
« on: March 31, 2010, 10:19:48 »
Quote

    Just out of curiosity, why have you fixated on child soldiers?  There are a multitude of other threats out there.


To answer your query: Child soldiers are the biggest problem. Bigger than weather, insects, disease, snakes. All this is out weighed by Canadian politics. I personally do not think the Canadian public will accept, under any circumstances, Canadian soldiers shooting/killing/wounding/opening fire on child soldiers. Canadian politics will not allow it. The CF has a track record of war crimes in Somalia and Afghanistan. I did not say that, but the G & M/CBC/CTV/etc, the Liberals/NDP has constantly bombarded the Canadian Public with this.

Right now, if :

- 2 PPCLI was somewhere in Africa, and following all the rules (anyones: Canada/NATO/UN);
- fourteen boys, aged approximately 12 to 14 were wounded, with three mortally wounded after an armed attack on a element of Canadians delivering food aid;
-  two Canadian soldiers were wounded (none killed);
- the entire episode, from start to finish, was video taped by CBC, and witnessed by a G & M repeater; and
- the video clearly shows, beyond doubt, that the Canadians held their fire to the last instant, attempted,by whatever means to stop the attack, took two wounded, then fourteen individual  soldiers each took one shot only at their target (no sounds of "rapid" fire).

So where do you think the focus of the story would be? How would that video be edited? What part of the video would be repeated, and repeated (guess:the dead "boys", focusing on the youngest). The outrage of Iggy and Jack (and Quebec) would be bouncing off the rocky mountains.

Stay out of Africa. Let China do it. China is already in Africa building influence. They will be the next world power, like it or not.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2012, 21:20:48 »
I'd give the order to fire the split second the rules of engagement allowed me to do so.  Holding fire until the last second and taking Hollywood aimed shots is noble for sure- but also a way to send your own guys home in a body bag.

Let the politicians deal with it.  The Taliban and insurgents are realizing the way to make NATO allies loose heart is to have NATOs ANA allies shoot and kill NATO troops.
The same will happen with child soldiers.   Once a country shoots [armed and attacking] children and it blows up in the news and they start to pull out the bad guys are going to realize we don't have the heart to deal with it on the world stage and step up child attacks.
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Offline Brihard

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2012, 21:24:29 »
I'd give the order to fire the split second the rules of engagement allowed me to do so.  Holding fire until the last second and taking Hollywood aimed shots is noble for sure- but also a way to send your own guys home in a body bag.

Let the politicians deal with it.  The Taliban and insurgents are realizing the way to make NATO allies loose heart is to have NATOs ANA allies shoot and kill NATO troops.
The same will happen with child soldiers.   Once a country shoots [armed and attacking] children and it blows up in the news and they start to pull out the bad guys are going to realize we don't have the heart to deal with it on the world stage and step up child attacks.

Easily said. Perhaps not quite so easily done by all involved. You're right about the strategic ramifications of hesitation to engage child soldiers, I won't argue with you there. I WILL say that I'd be suspicious and a bit frightened of any society whose soldiers, drawn from within that society, were not generally troubled morally and ethically by being put in such a situation.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2012, 21:36:48 »
Easily said. Perhaps not quite so easily done by all involved. You're right about the strategic ramifications of hesitation to engage child soldiers, I won't argue with you there. I WILL say that I'd be suspicious and a bit frightened of any society whose soldiers, drawn from within that society, were not generally troubled morally and ethically by being put in such a situation.

In 2006 4 PPCLI soldiers died when a security team let an old harmless grandpa on a bike through a check point without searching him because he was in a hurry to catch up with his wife and grand daughter.
It's good that you'd be frightened by such a society and it would be especially good if who we are fighting were doubly frightened knowing that we won't allow ourselves to be taken advantage of in such a way.

Morally it should upset anyone placed in that kind of situation (I'd be very upset) but I wouldn't want a soldier in my section who hesitates at a moment like that.  Afterwards I'd probably strongly suggest everyone report to the padre or something.
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Offline Brihard

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2012, 21:43:59 »
In 2006 4 PPCLI soldiers died when a security team let an old harmless grandpa on a bike through a check point without searching him because he was in a hurry to catch up with his wife and grand daughter.
It's good that you'd be frightened by such a society and it would be especially good if who we are fighting were doubly frightened knowing that we won't allow ourselves to be taken advantage of in such a way.

Morally it should upset anyone placed in that kind of situation (I'd be very upset) but I wouldn't want a soldier in my section who hesitates at a moment like that.  Afterwards I'd probably strongly suggest everyone report to the padre or something.

Absolutely. And the solution to that is drills, and rigid adherence to them in the tactical setting. I think that earlier, though, we were talking about the question of committing ourselves not to an operation where this sort of thing might be incidentally possible, but rather to an op where through our own actions it was deliberately likely- a direct action on an LRA facility guarded by child soldiers whom we expect to have to kill.

Again, legally there's not much ambiguity. And as soldiers, our duty is clear if we're put in that position, and I as well would expect my soldiers to act accordingly, and would expect the same of myself. But the bigger question of our higher authorities- those who *aren't* behind the rifle - making the decision to put us there is a tough one indeed.
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Offline GD

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2012, 22:18:15 »
I don't know if it makes sense, but the initial question deals with sending armed soldiers to attack a target protected by child soldiers. I don't think there would be such a big problem with fighting child soldiers as the Allies had to deal with that during World War 2, the question is would there be any will to deploy troops knowing full well that they will be fighting child soldiers?

Once Canada is in Afghanistan, soldiers will do their job wether they like it or not as it comes down to professionalism, but what if say things came about where the West was to invade Iran, knowing full well that they would deploy tens if not hundreds of thousands of children to the front lines. Would the western world have the heart to go in and deal with a imminent threat to world security that puts millions of lives in danger if we knew that we would be fighting against children?

Offline jeffb

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2012, 22:41:59 »

The dynamics of a cult mentality as it applies to child soldiers is something that I don't think has received a lot of scholarship through to the tactical level. To what degree could IA be persuasive here? If these kids don't have exposure to the media through which IAoperates and if direct interface is likely to result in confrontation, I could see it being very difficult to make gains here. Children make easy zealots, and such zealots are easy to program to violently reject any attempt at influence or persuasion...

This would obviously  be a major problem for any IA actions. I think that the best outcome that could be hoped for would be giving the "soft core" fighters instructions on how to surrender. That could be accomplished through leaflet drops, radio broadcasts, text messages (everyone has cell phones these days) but I suspect that literacy would be a problem so the design of any message would have to be very good. Basically, you have to get the message to them that if they put down their weapons, raise their hands and offer no resistance when the soldiers come, they will be taken care of. If they resist, they die.

I would suspect a very low uptake on this message but it is critical to help mitigate the harm done. There would also be the tactical problem of telegraphing your intentions. In order to avoid this, a messaging campaign would have to be in a sufficiently wide enough area, and go on for long enough, to avoid this. This would probably be the key component of the IA campaign in order to get the support of the manoeuvre commander.
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2012, 22:51:34 »
You guys are missing the point. We all know you will follow legal orders and do your duty. That you may suffer from guilt/PTSD for those actions is in the future. You are not thinking about that as you do your duty.

Its the lefties, the media, Stapes and crew who will label you as baby killers, war criminals. They will do that to sell Tide detergent/Pepsi, newspapers, get on the MP gravy train of forming a government, get PM Harper.

They don't care about you in the least. You are nothing to them but a tool.

Old Sweat can correct me, but I believe the point of German SS troops as child soldiers is incorrect. For example the 12th SS Panzer Division in Normandy was made up of Hitler Youth who joined the SS when they became of age. The NCOs and Officers where Eastern Front veterans were no quarter was asked or given. Take fanatical  youth, all their lives indoctrinated re the master race, with battle hardened Eastern Front veterans and you get, not child soldiers. They were at least 17 YOA, and believed in their superiority.

Near the end, Germany "used" the 14/15 YOA and old guys like me.
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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2012, 22:53:54 »

The practice of indoctrinating and employing child soldiers in any aspect of asymmetrical warfare must be something that the international community takes a firm stand (i.e. material action) against offending nation-states or non-nation organizations.  Sadly many children are irrecoverable by the time they are established in conflict, but the practice should be curbed so that others don't follow.

I read Long Way Gone a couple of years ago written by Ishmael Beah a former child soldier from Sierra Leon who was eventually rehabilitated, and move to the US.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/long-way-gone-ishmael-beah/1008037647?ean=9780374531263&itm=5&usri=child+soldiers+sierra+leone

It is an interesting read, and tells of the experiences that they go through and the difficulties of rehabilitation. 
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Offline jeffb

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2012, 22:59:05 »
You are correct. The 12th SS was comprised of 17 year old graduates of the Hitler Youth with a cadre of experienced NCO's and officers.

I get your point about the other impacts. I wanted to consider if there was a moral/ethical obligation here. I full appreciate and agree that the actuality of the killing of child soldiers would be extremely difficult order to give and to carry out.

It is so hard to really say what any of us would do without being in a situation like this but I would like to think that the reason that there are child soldiers in Africa right now is precisely because we have not faced the problem head on earlier.

I can't imagine a more nightmarish scenario for Canada to send it's soldiers into either politically, for the troops themselves or in the media. However, I also can't imagine a scenario more nightmarish then having a gang of thugs come to my house in the middle of the night, rape and kill my wife and then turn my child into a monster.

I don't think they've been mentioned yet but Dellaire's book They Fight like Soldiers, They die like children and the book by Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone both opened my eyes to how widespread this problem really is and the realities regarding who these children are.
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Offline Brihard

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2012, 23:02:36 »
Its the lefties, the media, Stapes and crew who will label you as baby killers, war criminals. They will do that to sell Tide detergent/Pepsi, newspapers, get on the MP gravy train of forming a government, get PM Harper.

They don't care about you in the least. You are nothing to them but a tool.

Those who will take the 'baby killers' line tend to be idiots who are only listened to in their own circle jerk. The more prominent ones - Staples, political figures, etc - tend to levy their criticism more at the originators of policy, particularly the Conservative government, and they do so more because that is what their conscience and principles dictate. I'm not going to dismiss their views quite so handily as you do- and they are, after all, Canadians as well whose opinions DO matter, to an extent, in what we commit our military to.

But no, I've spent more than half a decade at a very left wing university, have had discussions with a number of people- many to often be seen in orange shirts - have seen Staples speak, and so on and so forth. Their views tend neither to be as simplistic nor as blanket in their application as you would suggest. I've had many ask me about my experiences in Afghanistan and be openly critical of the mission, but none call me a war criminal.

I would very much hope that our involvement in a mission that committed us to direct combat against child soldiers would at least find a place in our discourse, even if it wasn't comfortable for those of us fighting it.  The 'national interest' is no easy thing to determine or aggregate, and all Canadians have something to say.

I also hope that, in the end, the point of view contending that something real and tangible must be done about the employment of children in this context would prevail. It's a hideous irony that to save more children, some might have to be destroyed to dismantle these groups...
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2012, 23:18:24 »
Well you hit the key: there is no national interest to deploy the CF in Africa. They may be a wish to deploy the CF to assist with a UN/NATO mission in Africa (Libya), but no Canadian national interest.

The Liberals committed the CF to Afghanistan. Once they were out of power some members of the LPC called the CF war criminals etc, parroted by the G & M, TS, CBC et el. The leader of the CPC did not stand up and say our members are wrong, the CF is doing their duty IAW the law.

Let the Chinese do it. They have no compulsion to not kill their own citizens, let alone black africans of any age.
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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2012, 23:36:14 »
Well you hit the key: there is no national interest to deploy the CF in Africa. They may be a wish to deploy the CF to assist with a UN/NATO mission in Africa (Libya), but no Canadian national interest.

That begs some questions, doesn't it? Is 'mere' humanitarian concern enough to constitute national interest? If not, what were we doing spending money bombing Libya or Kosovo- or sending troops to the FRY or what have you. Can humanitarianism be either a necessary and/or a sufficient cause for us to determine 'interests' are in play and it's worth a deployment? I honestly hope that yes, we will deem it to be worth fighting against atrocity merely for the sake of doing so- I'm not comfortable thinking that fears of small tragedy such as what we're speaking of would cause our nation to completely disengage from having a role to play, be it in Africa or what have you. I would suggest that there is a direct benefit to us, as a western nation, to be seen to do so when other countries do as well. IT's easy to be callous and disinterested after Somalia and Rwanda, but will history vindicate an isolationism in the face of crimes against humanity? I suspect not.

So where's the balance then? How much as we as Canadians willing to subject we as soldiers to, and for what benefit weighed against what risks? Is shooting indoctrinated kids in the face something so awful that it must necessarily be a no-go, even if it dooms another generation of them to face the same thing- and then are we complicit by inaction?

I'm not trying to lead with these questions, I'm more musing- though it definitely gives you a hint as to where I come from on my ideology and principles. I like to think that even in the face of really sick crap we'll try to do the right thing even at some cost to ourselves. I'm just too cynical to think that the decision making process will be as principled as the overall intent if we do head in the direction of continuing to contribute to intervention in humanity's darkest spots.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2012, 23:52:10 »
I used to train child soldiers in the British Army. School leavers - aged between 16 and 17 - before they were old enough to enter adult soldier recruit training. We even had an extra milk allowance for them.

How did they do? Excellent. And they were fanatics, because we trained them that way of course and they believed and did everything we said without a hint of cynicism or shirking. They did just about everything an adult soldier could do, but couldn't carry as much weight... so we were hungrier  ;D.

What happened to them? Many became the most outstanding SNCOs in the regiment/army.

What would I do if I was fighting against them? Slot them as fast as possible before they swarmed me and chopped off my soft bits. Think 'Chucky with pit bull tendencies'. No question.

And thanks to the wonder of Youtube, that's me, 4th in from the left at 6.23. Everyone of those Junior Parachute Company permanent staff members - except me and about 5 others - were just back from the Falklands War.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhrMWog9l-8&feature=related

And here's another clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc6RlbPi2FI

Fanatics, every single one, thank Gawd.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 00:37:09 by daftandbarmy »
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #32 on: February 27, 2012, 01:18:16 »
Well you hit the key: there is no national interest to deploy the CF in Africa. They may be a wish to deploy the CF to assist with a UN/NATO mission in Africa (Libya), but no Canadian national interest...

An interesting point, and one which forces many to consider the difference between national "interests" that may serve the Nation in a materialistic manner, and national "values" which (many of) the Nation's citizens believe to be the "right thing to do." 

Canada's large part to play in the establishment of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) reinforced Canadians' belief in general that there are cases internationally where there is a moral obligation to act against atrocities or contraventions of international law that do not pragmatically serve individual nations in a material manner.

As others have noted, whether the 'warm fuzzy' that Canadians would gain from seeing their (National) values supported/furthered by the elected government sending Canadian troops into an R2P-like situation would have to be considered in the context of the complete commitment of National support to those very soldiers sent into such an operation.  Would that happen?  I'm not sure it would across the board, but as many have noted, I do think that the Canadian public at large has proven itself reasonably capable at separating the individual soldier from the Government that makes policy that the soldier acts in support of.

Regards
G2G

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #33 on: February 27, 2012, 07:24:20 »
That begs some questions, doesn't it? Is 'mere' humanitarian concern enough to constitute national interest? ...


Yes, of course.

In Nov 1938 our newspapers were full of these headlines:



and these pictures:



We Canadians, my parents for sure, knew that there was a moral cause ... just as, maybe even more important than the strategic threat posed by Nazi Germany.
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #34 on: February 27, 2012, 09:48:50 »
G2G:
Quote
Canada's large part to play in the establishment of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) reinforced Canadians' belief in general that there are cases internationally where there is a moral obligation to act against atrocities or contraventions of international law that do not pragmatically serve individual nations in a material manner.

It is not that simple. If it was, the CF would be in Syria now. We aren't for a lot of reasons besides not being able to do force projection.

The opposition/media would tear the CF apart in a witch hunt if "child soldiers" were shot at. If you don't believe that you are naive.

The opposition/media are always ready to manufacturer news/crises.

Rifleman62:

Quote
Right now, if :

- 2 PPCLI was somewhere in Africa, and following all the rules (anyone's: Canada/NATO/UN);
- fourteen boys, aged approximately 12 to 14 were wounded, with three mortally wounded after an armed attack on a element of Canadians delivering food aid;
-  two Canadian soldiers were wounded (none killed);
- the entire episode, from start to finish, was video taped by CBC, and witnessed by a G & M repeater; and
- the video clearly shows, beyond doubt, that the Canadians held their fire to the last instant, attempted,by whatever means to stop the attack, took two wounded, then fourteen individual  soldiers each took one shot only at their target (no sounds of "rapid" fire).

So where do you think the focus of the story would be? How would that video be edited? What part of the video would be repeated, and repeated (guess:the dead "boys", focusing on the youngest). The outrage of Iggy and Jack (and Quebec) would be bouncing off the rocky mountains.
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Offline Wookilar

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2012, 10:24:00 »
This was a very large part of our Combat Psychology course. We used an encounter the Brits had in Sierra Leone a few years ago.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/05/21/think_again_child_soldiers

"The British Army only recognized
the problem after one of its patrols was captured by child RUF soldiers in
Sierra Leone, having been hesitant to attack the under-15-year-olds. Britain later
used pyrotechnics and loud explosions in that conflict to induce panic among
the ill-trained youngsters, many of whom would simply run away."

The conclusions of the class were sharply delineated by experience level. My younger peers all said "shoot them." Us older ones all went "welllllll" and then the few CWO's and senior members taking the class had thoughts that went into the strategic level.

I've had kids point what looked like loaded weapons at me and have taken some not-exactly-in-my-precise-direction fire but I have never been involved in a 2-way range. Maybe my reactions would be coloured differently if I had of been, but I think I would be very similar to the British troops. I don't know if I would hesitate or not...which probably means that I would.

Now, there are always mitigating circumstances. Our posture, HumInt, Int on drug use, etc etc may make it easier (or maybe harder) to pull the trigger. But I don't think it's something I would be able to forget any time soon.

Wook
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #36 on: February 27, 2012, 10:29:18 »
Old Sweat can correct me, but I believe the point of German SS troops as child soldiers is incorrect. For example the 12th SS Panzer Division in Normandy was made up of Hitler Youth who joined the SS when they became of age. The NCOs and Officers where Eastern Front veterans were no quarter was asked or given. Take fanatical  youth, all their lives indoctrinated re the master race, with battle hardened Eastern Front veterans and you get, not child soldiers. They were at least 17 YOA, and believed in their superiority.

Near the end, Germany "used" the 14/15 YOA and old guys like me.

Correct. The Hitler Youth Division was built around a cadre of officers and NCOs from various Waffen SS organizations, but the 1st SS Panzer Division "Liebstandarte" probably was the greatest contributor. The men were 17- and 18-year-olds from the Hitler Youth who were concentrated in one formation instead of being distributed through the reinforcement system.

While there is a general discussion of the murders attributed to the division in my history of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, the actual situation was not as generally preceived. Murders were traced to both panzer grenadier regiments and the engineer and reconnaissance battalions. The worst offenders were 26 Panzer Grenadier Regiment and the 12 SS Reconnaissance Battalion, who committed most of the murders deliberately under orders of their chain of command. Kurt Meyer, who usually is singled out, actually was a minor player and there was very little evidence that he had ordered the relatively few murders at the Abbeye d'Ardenne. (sp?)

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2012, 10:33:04 »
That incident, as described by Wook, has been dramatized a couple of times. One I believe was "I Survived". The theme was used for a couple of episodes of "Soldier, Soldier" (a program even my wife enjoyed!!). The Major in command of the patrol was reprimanded for unprofessional conduct.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 11:30:48 by Rifleman62 »
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Offline winnipegoo7

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #38 on: February 27, 2012, 15:32:27 »
I can't help myself, but this makes me think of a movie.

Private Joker: "How can you shoot women or children? "
Door Gunner: "Easy! Ya just don't lead 'em so much! Ain't war hell?"

-Full Metal Jacket

Offline Colin P

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #39 on: February 27, 2012, 16:52:17 »
Hopefully the issue is resolved by a sniper with a clean shot, because if any ******* deserves to die, he is on the top of my list.

Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #40 on: February 27, 2012, 18:06:28 »
G2G:
It is not that simple. If it was, the CF would be in Syria now. We aren't for a lot of reasons besides not being able to do force projection.

The opposition/media would tear the CF apart in a witch hunt if "child soldiers" were shot at. If you don't believe that you are naive...

Note that I didn't say that Canadians don't have the reputation of "picking and choosing" when or how they feel they should engage states that, amongst other things, use child soldiers...

Have no fear - no naiveté here...


Regards
G2G 

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #41 on: February 27, 2012, 23:02:00 »
I did not think so G2G.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #42 on: February 27, 2012, 23:03:02 »
Hopefully the issue is resolved by a sniper with a clean shot, because if any ******* deserves to die, he is on the top of my list.

That would be a good resolution.
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Offline HollywoodCowboy

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #43 on: February 29, 2012, 17:41:06 »
IMHO

It all depends on the situation, killing anyone regardless of age sucks, we all signed that dotted line knowing full well what we would be getting into both physically and mentally.
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Offline Shipwreck

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #44 on: March 07, 2012, 13:35:32 »
It appears I'm not the only one thinking about this:
N/A

Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Fighting child soldiers?
« Reply #45 on: March 27, 2012, 21:22:03 »
Quote
We fight this battle not for ourselves but for our children, and our childrens children. Which is why I'm forming a childrens brigade"

SVK
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Dealing with Child Soldiers on deployment
« Reply #46 on: November 29, 2017, 10:07:14 »
A discussion for any stories or personal experience you have when dealing with child soldiers overseas, and what it was like.
Note: Possible Deployment in Africa dealing with Child Soldiers soon.

Offline Vanquest

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Dealing With Child Soldiers
« Reply #47 on: November 29, 2017, 19:43:17 »
Stories, first hand or from what youve heard on dealing with child soldiers or child terrorists and what its like

Offline Q.Lamb

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Re: Dealing With Child Soldiers
« Reply #48 on: November 29, 2017, 20:04:42 »
This post/question could have been made with a lot more tact. From my understanding (not a military member. BMQ Jan 2018, so no experience...) not many people will be willing to talk to you about anything related to the harshness of this particular subject. Not many want to take about the trials of deployment with family members, let alone on a public forum. I doubt you will get much from this thread.

If I'm wrong please someone correct me.

Offline PuckChaser

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Re: Child Soldiers
« Reply #49 on: November 29, 2017, 21:31:34 »
There's a doctrine written for it.  That's how we're going to handle it.

I have a feeling this is a troll post.

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Offline Vanquest

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Re: Child Soldiers
« Reply #51 on: November 30, 2017, 16:52:11 »
There's a doctrine written for it.  That's how we're going to handle it.

I have a feeling this is a troll post.
Sorry, its not, i am currently trying to get some stories for a school project, and no one that i know of at my unit has dealt with anything like this, i was hoping for some from here

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Re: Child Soldiers
« Reply #52 on: November 30, 2017, 16:59:57 »
You could always check out this Facebook group - I am sure they will help out:  https://www.facebook.com/ChildSoldiers/
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Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Child Soldiers
« Reply #53 on: November 30, 2017, 17:06:42 »
Sorry, its not, . . .

Sorry, it is.

How about looking for The Canadian Armed Forces Joint Doctrine Note (JDN) 2017-01 Child Soldiers which is mentioned here https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/news/2017/03/canadian_armed_forcessetsprecedentwithchildsoldierdoctrine.html
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Re: Child Soldiers
« Reply #54 on: November 30, 2017, 19:03:13 »
I think he means its not a troll post. If you knew that please ignore me.

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Re: Child Soldiers
« Reply #55 on: November 30, 2017, 20:34:00 »
Sorry, its not, i am currently trying to get some stories for a school project, and no one that i know of at my unit has dealt with anything like this, i was hoping for some from here
Then you need to have all that in your original post. Basically demanding info on a sensitive topic is a great way to turn people off from helping you.