Child soldiering

Edward B. Rackley in his excellent blog, Across the Divide: Analysis & Anecdote from Africa:

I’ve been working with child soldiers in the DR Congo most of this year. My focus has been on evaluating programs run by the usual aid agencies: UNICEF, Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, the Red Cross network, and a host of smaller Congolese groups. These actors are funded by tax revenues and private donations from people in developed countries, so directly or indirectly, you and I are paying for them. Such evaluations provide accountability to donors that they’re getting what they paid for. Anyone who says international aid is unaccountable is simply uninformed.

Images_1In previous postings I’ve explored some of the problems posed by the child soldier phenomenon, but I tend to take for granted the big picture dilemma that this sad group of victims cum perpetrators poses to our world. It’s worth mentioning here: What to do when previously accepted morals and norms prohibiting certain forms of behavior (universally shared taboos, if you like) cease to enforce the limits of barbarism? Capturing and re-programming underage youth to slaughter enemy combatants and innocents is one such taboo that no longer exists in 37 of 55 recently ended or ongoing conflicts.

More here.