Armies of the Young: Child Soldiers in War and Terrorism

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Rutgers University Press, 2005 - History - 199 pages
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Children have served as soldiers throughout history. They fought in the American Revolution, the Civil War, and in both World Wars. They served as uniformed soldiers, camouflaged insurgents, and even suicide bombers. Indeed, the first U.S. soldier to be killed by hostile fire in the Afghanistan war was shot in ambush by a fourteen-year-old boy. Does this mean that child soldiers are aggressors? Or victims? It is a difficult question with no obvious answer, yet in recent years the acceptable answer among humanitarian organizations and contemporary scholars has been resoundingly the latter. These children are most often seen as especially hideous examples of adult criminal exploitation. In this provocative book, David M. Rosen argues that this response vastly oversimplifies the child soldier problem. Drawing on three dramatic examples - from Sierra Leone, Palestine, and Jewish partisans of Eastern Europe during the Holocaust - Rosen vividly illustrates this controversial view. In each case, he shows how children are not always passive victims, but often make rational decisions that the one thing worse than fighting is not fighting. possible to save themselves. With a critical eye to international law, Armies of the Young urges readers to reconsider the situation of child combatants in light of circumstance and history before adopting uninformed child protectionist views. In the process, Rosen paints a memorable and unsettling picture of the role of children in international conflicts.
  

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Armies of the young: child soldiers in war and terrorism

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In this provocative analysis of child soldiers, Rosen (anthropology & law, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ.) reveals that the traditional humanitarian view of child soldiers as victims oversimplifies a ... Read full review

Contents

War and Childhood
1
Fighting for Their Lives Jewish Child Soldiers of World War II
19
Fighting for Diamonds The Child Soldiers of Sierra Leone
57
Fighting for the Apocalypse Palestinian Child Soldiers
91
The Politics of Age
132

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About the author (2005)

David M. Rosen is a professor of anthropology and law at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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