The Real Children of War
Sending children off to fight a war is despicable. Almost equally despicable is the way some on the left exploit the human emotions around this topic to manipulate public opinion.
Actually, real children are being sent off to real wars. A conference sponsored by UNICEF was held just last week. Its purpose? To stop the military recruitment of children as soldiers (children in this case being anyone under 18).
Children are recruited because they are perceived as cheap and expendable, easily brutalized into fearless killing and unquestioning obedience. Child soldiers are often chosen for the most dangerous assignments or forced to participate in appalling human rights abuses, sometimes against their own families or communities. Children are also forced to carry ammunition, find and prepare food or perform other non-combat roles.
Unfortunately, there are those who would say that we here in the United States send children to war.
"I would like to hear him [George W. Bush] say he knows what it means to love your children and that he, in good conscience, cannot send any more children to their deaths."
"Those moms praying as they wait for the phone to ring and they hear the voice of their child serving in Iraq," Sarandon said to a crowd of perhaps 200 people. "Let him be the one to tell them that this week the call will not be coming."Activist Cindy Sheehan:"I don't want to put any more of our children in the hands of the warmongers and the war machine and the war profiteers. I think that would be a terrible idea. If there is a draft, I would just tell everybody with draft-age children and draft-age children to resist, resist, resist. Do not put yourself in the hands of people who would kill you to line their pockets with your blood."
"But when it comes to the confrontation in Iraq, the whole notion of grown-ups volunteering is dismissed or lampooned. Instead, it's people's children getting "sent." Recall Michael Moore asking congressmen whether they would "send" one of their offspring, as if they had the power to do so, or the right? (John Ashcroft's son was in the Gulf, but I doubt that his father dispatched him there, and in any case it would take a lot more than this to reconcile me to Ashcroft, as Moore implies that it should.) Nobody has to join the armed forces, and those who do are old enough to vote, get married, and do almost everything legal except buy themselves a drink. Why infantilize young people who are entitled to every presumption of adulthood?
Infantilizing young people who have voluntarily enlisted in the military and are deployed on combat missions does not contribute to the debate of whether or not we should be in Iraq, but distracts with an emotional plea to Joe Everyman. Surely no decent human being would send his child (or someone else's) off to die. Instead of giving concrete reasons as to why we need to leave Iraq now, activists play with our heartstrings, hoping we'll take the bait. Regrettably, many have.
One of the groups behind the recent anti-war rally in Washington D.C. in January was United For Peace and Justice, which is headed by Leslie Cagan. Cagan is a founder of the former Committees of Correspondence, which was organized by the American Communist Party, and she is a strong supporter of Fidel Castro. Among its other activities, UFPJ advocates for taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, campaigns against America's support of Israel, and sponsors Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride Coalition, a group dedicated to expanding the civil rights and liberties of illegal immigrants, as well as either reduce or eradicate any and all restrictions of immigration to the United States.