Children at War

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"Children at War is the first comprehensive book to examing the growing and global use of children as soldiers." "P. W. Singer, an internationally recognized expert in twenty-first-century warfare, explores how a new strategy of war, utilized by armies and warlords alike, has targeted children, seeking to turn them into soldiers and terrorists." "Interweaving the voices of child soldiers throughout the book, Singer looks at the ways these children are recruited, abducted, trained, and finally sent off to fight in war-torn hot spots, from Colombia ...
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Overview

"Children at War is the first comprehensive book to examing the growing and global use of children as soldiers." "P. W. Singer, an internationally recognized expert in twenty-first-century warfare, explores how a new strategy of war, utilized by armies and warlords alike, has targeted children, seeking to turn them into soldiers and terrorists." "Interweaving the voices of child soldiers throughout the book, Singer looks at the ways these children are recruited, abducted, trained, and finally sent off to fight in war-torn hot spots, from Colombia and the Sudan to Kashmir and Sierra Leone. He writes about children who have been indoctrinated to fight U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan; of Iraqi boys between the ages of ten and fifteen who had been trained in military arms and tractics to become Saddam Hussein's Ashbal Saddam (Lion Cubs); of young refugees from Pakistani madrassahs who were recruited to help bring the Taliban to power in the Afghan civil war." Finally, Singer makes clear how the U.S. government and the international community must face this new reality of modern warfare, how those who benefit from the recruitment of children as soldiers must be held accountable, how Western militaries must be prepared to face children in battle, and how rehabilitation programs can undo this horrific phenomenon and turn child soldiers back into children.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Foreign affairs expert Singer (Corporate Warriors) offers an illuminating work on the use of child soldiers in conflicts across the globe. This endemic problem involving some 300,000 child combatants is attributable to a tangle of factors including extreme poverty, AIDS, a worldwide glut of light automatic weapons, and a lack of political will to enforce laws. Unscrupulous leaders see children as inexpensive, malleable, and easily replaceable fighters who can be used to plunder villages, traffic drugs, and seize control of resources. Children are abducted sometimes as young as age six and desensitized to acts of violence. The impact on child survivors is traumatic: devoid of education and unfamiliar with normal patterns of social behavior, they are not easily rehabilitated and reintegrated into their families. Singer outlines a cogent program for thwarting the use of child soldiers and argues passionately that the U.S. military and other armed forces should develop training and doctrine to cope effectively with child combatants. Recommended for all academic and public libraries.-Edward J. Metz, USACGSC Combined Arms Research Lib., Ft. Leavenworth, KS Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The first American soldier to die in Afghanistan fell at the hands of a 14-year-old. So writes Singer (Brookings Institution) in this dry treatment of a compelling subject: the growing use of children as soldiers. That 14-year-old sniper was one of tens of thousands of child soldiers fighting across the globe today. More than 11,000, Singer estimates, are fighting in Colombia's ongoing civil war alone; one of four rebels is under the age of 18, "with the youngest recruited being seven years old." Around the world-but, curiously, with epicenters along the equator in such places such as Myanmar, Sierra Leone and Colombia-these children are employed as cannon fodder. In a spectacularly gruesome example from 1984, Iranian boys were taken from school and, armed with grenades and wearing keys around their necks to unlock the gates of heaven, were sent off against Saddam Hussein's regular Iraqi army; as many as 100,000 died in the ensuing human-wave assaults. (The Iranian government, Singer writes, rejected the repatriation of young prisoners: "They are not Iranian children," said the Ayatollah Khomeini. "Ours have gone to Paradise and we shall see them there.") Some children's fanatical urges allow them to be recruited, but more, it appears, join the fighting in order to eat. Many, too, join to avenge the deaths of family members, as so often occurred in Bosnia and Kosovo and, more recently, in Afghanistan, where boys are thought not to become men until they slay those who have wronged them. Singer's material is thorough and sobering, and his analysis of the psychological effects of child soldiering not only on the children but also on the adults-including, now, American soldiers-who kill themin combat has obvious implications for policy planners. Still, the tone is academic, limited in appeal to general readers. A shame, considering that Guantanamo Bay is now packed with teenagers, on both sides of the wire.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375423499
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/11/2005
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.62 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Children and war 3
2 It's a small world after all : child soldiers around the globe 9
3 The underlying causes 37
4 How children are recruited into war 57
5 Turning a child into a solider 70
6 The implications of children on the battlefield 94
7 The new children of terror 116
8 Preventing child soldiers 135
9 Fighting children 162
10 Turning a soldier back into a child 183
11 Looking ahead 208
App Optional protocol to the convention on the rights of the child on the involvement of children in armed conflict 213
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