From U.S. soldiers having to fight children in Afghanistan and Iraq to juvenile terrorists in Sri Lanka to Palestine, the new, younger face of battle is a terrible reality of 21st century warfare.
Indeed, the very first American soldier killed by hostile fire in the "War on Terrorism" was shot by a fourteen-year-old Afghan boy. Children at War is the first comprehensive examination of a disturbing and escalating phenomenon: the use of children as soldiers around the globe.
Interweaving explanatory narrative with the voices of child soldiers themselves, P.W. Singer, an internationally recognized expert in modern warfare, introduces the brutal reality of conflict, where children are sent off to fight in war-torn hotspots from Colombia and the Sudan to Kashmir and Sierra Leone. He explores the evolution of this phenomenon, how and why children are recruited, indoctrinated, trained, and converted to soldiers and then lays out the consequences for global security, with a special case study on terrorism. With this established, he lays out the responses that can end this horrible practice. What emerges is not only a compelling and clarifying read on the darker reality of modern warfare, but also a clear and urgent call for action.
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.