Question: Why Is Supporting The Use Of Children As Soldiers Better Than Using Torture In Interrogations?

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The Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 requires the United States to withhold any form of aid from nations that use children in their armies, a clear human rights violation.  President Obama  waived the provision in 2010, as Samantha Power, then the National Security Council senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights, assured the media and the nation  that “the waivers would not become a recurring event.” By the terms of the law, the President has to notify Congress that he is waiving it within 45 days of making the decision. Monday afternoon, with Congress on the eve of a government shutdown and knowing that any such announcement would be largely ignored by the public and the press, the White House press announced yet another waiver of the law The new Child Soldiers Prevention Act waiver applies fully to Chad, South Sudan and Yemen. Congo and Somalia received partial waivers.

Here’s the text of the Presidential determination, signed by Mr. Obama: Continue reading

Richard Cohen, National Interests, and the Ethical Duties of the US to the World

There used to be no columnist who infuriated me more consistently than Richard Cohen. Those were the hazy, golden days before I discovered E.J. Dionne, Paul Krugman and Harold Mayerson, however, whose rigid ideology virtually precludes objective analysis. Cohen isn’t biased, he’s just wrong more often than not. But he is also capable of bursts of moral and ethical clarity. Today was an example, as he took on the isolationist voices on the left and the right that make up a large component, if not the majority, of our elected leadership today.

Cohen begins by recounting a section from  Erik Larson ‘s book,“In the Garden of the Beasts,” about how the American foreign policy establishment in the Thirties resisted efforts by William Dodd, then ambassador to Germany, to protest the Hitler government’s increasing persecution of Jews. Humanity, and the U.S., paid a steep price for its inward-turning perspective after World War I, as we abdicated our traditional role as defender of liberty, freedom, democracy and human rights on the world stage. Continue reading