Obama Waives Ban on Sending Military Aid to Countries With Child Soldiers

Former child soldiers in the Congo
Former child soldiers in the Congo

Ask any policymaker in the White House or Congress, what’s more important than human rights? Their response: “Our government, of course.”

The Obama administration yesterday issued blanket waivers exempting three countries from a federal law banning U.S. military aid to countries that use child soldiers. Think Progress:

The Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CPSA) is meant to bar the United States from providing military assistance to countries who have “governmental armed forces or government- supported armed groups, including paramilitaries, militias, or civil defense forces, that recruit and use child soldiers.” As per the Optional Protocol on the Convention of the Rights of the Child, “child soldiers” include children under 18 who have been forced into service, those under 15 who have volunteered to fight, and and those under 18 who have joined up with any force aside from an army. It also includes those who serve in a “support role such as a cook, porter, messenger, medic, guard, or sex slave.”

A national security interest waiver was built into the law, however, giving the President the authority to override the law should he deem it necessary to do so. That’s precisely what the Obama administration did on Monday, issuing blanket waivers to three countries known to use child soldiers: Yemen, Chad, and South Sudan. Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo received partial waivers as well; this means that they’ll be granted lethal aid only in support of the peacekeeping missions currently ongoing in the country.

This year, the State Department issued a list of ten countries that had been found to be using child soldiers: Burma (Myanmar), the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Of those, seven were due to receive military aid from the United States, an action which the CPSA barred — for the most part.

President Obama has refined the practice of issuing waivers to human rights laws to a high art. Last month, he issued a waiver to get around a federal ban on sending lethal aid to terrorist groups, giving him legal cover for sending weapons to Syrian rebels. With Egypt, Obama didn’t issue a waiver but vacillated and refused to comment on whether the military coup in July in fact was a military coup, thus evading a federal law prohibiting U.S. military aid to governments that are overthrown in military coups.

Michael J. Mazarr has written that “the very definition of grand strategy is holding ends and means in balance to promote the security and interests of the state.” Keep that in mind when you contemplate how Obama had the conscience to deliberately waive federal laws banning U.S. military aid to countries in which children are forced into warfare. Washington compromises rhetorical commitments to freedom and human rights “to promote the security and interests of the state.” In other words, to make the government bigger and more powerful.

Hey, anything for the government.

48 thoughts on “Obama Waives Ban on Sending Military Aid to Countries With Child Soldiers”

  1. Thank you Mr President. For taking these hits in politics, and lord knows the hit's you must take personally on a daily basis, and making earnest effort to stand up for the common man/woman while we are in an era of so many who are not.

    You are looking thin, please take time from your schedule to eat a bit better, I can only imagine if I were in your position, what my stomach would be feeling like.

    People forget you are a real person too, this citizen doesn't. I know I am speaking for millions when I say, even though you have no more elections to win, we still have your back. Hang tight, stay strong, and we shall overcome.

    1. As of today, he must bear the unthinkable burden of having 800,000 fewer lackeys at his beck and call.

  2. Who els did you think that he is going to waive military ban on, Israel a apartheid regime, Saudis a feudalist stone age regime, or other dictatorial system, these are the regimes that USG is working for, they don't call USA a militarism regime for nothing. World has changed, not for better but for what people have struggled to achieve, child labor laws is one of them, human rights and act against humanity is another, hence, these are the hindering laws fir vulture capitalism to do the perfect change which is the idea in remaining in power, militarism is another. Libya war was to open a corridor into Africa, selling weapons to regimes as brutal as these, is as helping terrorists in Syria. These regimes can be used for later wars in Africa which is part of the USG plan in giving them weapons to start wars.

  3. I wonder just how many laws have this Presidential waver option, and WHY. If Congress is going to pass laws like this, they might as well just say it's all up to the Prez, we're meaningless.

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  6. I wonder, are we still living in an ancient age when people were not aware of educating their children and send them to king’s army for earning money? Obama acted kindly, as he is not intended to hurt the tender aged soldiers.

  7. I wonder just how many laws have this Presidential waver option, and WHY. If Congress is going to pass laws like this, they might as well just say it's all up to the Prez, we're meaningless.

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  9. I wonder just how many laws have this Presidential waver option, and WHY. If Congress is going to pass laws like this, they might as well just say it's all up to the Prez, we're meaningless

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  11. You are looking thin, please take time from your schedule to eat a bit better, I can only imagine if I were in your position, what my stomach would be feeling like.

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