Child Soldiers and Nuclear Nonsense

The Washington Post and Associated Press reported yesterday the Obama Administration granted a waiver allowing continued US military aid to Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Yemen, even though those countries still employ child soldiers. The waiver was “necessary” because otherwise, military aid to those countries would have been cut off under the Child Soldiers Prevention Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush, that renowned peacenik, near the end of his term. Somehow, I can’t imagine Obama voters thought this was the “change you can believe in” they voted for in 2008.

However, there is a perverse consistency here, as the US is one of only two countries (Somalia being the other) that haven’t  ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in part because we recruit 17 year olds into the military (though they can’t be sent into combat until they turn 18), which goes against the treaty. Shameful is the only word I can think of to describe these policies.

Then there is the nonsensical notion that the recent loss of communications regarding 1/9th of the US land-based ICBM fleet (50 out of 450 nuclear-tipped missiles, all with tens or hundreds of times  the explosive power of the bomb that leveled Hiroshima in 1945) is a reason to scrap the modest New START agreement with Russia, and/or to hand over even more of our tax dollars (in a time of tight budgets for seemingly everything except stuff that goes “BOOM!”)  to the nuclear weapons complex. The Obama Administration has already promised $180 billion over the next decade for nuclear weapons production complex and delivery sytems “modernization” in an attempt to gain Republican votes for New START ratification. The Administration is already negotiating with key New START opponent Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ, and he hates pretty much all arms control agreements) to see if they can shovel more money to the Dr. Strangeloves in our nuclear weapons establishment in order to get his support for New START.

Again, shameful. For a more rational view on the state of this Administration’s and the other nuclear states’ disarmament and non-proliferation policies, see the Arms Control Association’s latest statement and Report Card.

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