To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to you as a concerned college student to ask you to address the concern of foreign governments recruiting soldiers under the age of eighteen. According to the Human Rights Watch, an estimated 250,000 children are forced to fight and die for their country, some as young as the age of eight. These young boys and girls are not recruited, but more or less forced into fighting in over twenty countries throughout the world.
These children are used in all sorts of dangerous situations including spies, cooks, guards and front-line combatants. The girls are sometimes even used as sex slaves or “wives” of commanding officer. These atrocities are real, however the United States has not done enough to combat what by our standards would be slavery.
Some might think that only unmonitored rebel and guerilla factions would commit such a heinous deed. However, there are governments that do the same thing to fight these factions as well as pursue their own interests. What is even more egregious is that the United States of America provides military assistance to ten of these countries ranging from small donations for military training to hundreds of millions of dollars for weapons and military financing. Some of these countries that the Human Rights Watch lists include: Chad, Colombia, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Uganda.
By using deductive reasoning, it is obvious that our tax dollars are going to these countries through the financing of the United States. Therefore, we are indirectly supporting these governments forcing young children to fight and die even before they reach puberty.
The blood is on our hands, Senator. I implore you to take action. A bill has been drafted by Senator Durbin of Illinois and Senator Brownback of Kansas to restrict military aid to those countries that commit such atrocities. Do what is right, and keep United States weapons out of the hands of children. Vote to allow this bill to pass so that those who are weak and do not have a say are allowed to grow old enough to be able to make the choice as to whether or not they want to fight and die for their country.
John X. Holmes