Blogs > Liberty and Power > Terrorists must be denied child recruits?

Jan 19, 2005 6:01 pm

Terrorists must be denied child recruits?

To: The Editor, Financial Times


PW Singer ("Terrorists must be denied child recruits," FT, 1/19/05) describes the use of young people in Terrorist attacks, even in suicide ones.

That a 14-year-old sniper shot a soldier should surprise no one.

Surely, Singer is aware of the youth who served in the American Revolution, where the average age of the male population of the colonies was only slightly above 25 years of age. Fourteen year-old soldiers were quite common!

In Judaism, and some Christian sects, young people are considered moral agents at the age of 12. Islamics often think likewise.

When the US uses counter-insurgency tactics in Iraq as it did in Vietnam, to kill civilians, these acts are observed by the very young.

At the height of the Vietnam War an American officer conceded that in killing so many (Robert MacNamara mentions 3.2 million) the US might have lost that generation, but hoped to win over the "hearts and minds" of the next one.

Perhaps Singer has a new theory of genetics, but it would appear that killing heavily in the parents' generation, would impact the youth, who might just have lost their parents.

William Marina
Prof. Emeritus in History, Florida Atlantic University, and Research Fellow, The Independent Institute, Oakland, CA

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