I find this shocking. Young boys and a few girls, who have never learned about life as an adult, are joining a group of people whose sole aim is to fight. I guess all of them won't enter the front line of battle. They could act as cooks, laundry workers, or office staff. At the age of 16, a young adult is not equipped to make life-changing decisions.
Meanwhile, an open letter from human rights group Child Soldiers International called on the UK Ministry of Defence to raise the joining age from the current 16 years of age. Bishops in Wales signed the letter, along with other Christian peace groups from around the UK.
However, the MoD said it had no plans to change the recruitment age, arguing enlisting could be beneficial for youngsters and is fully compliant with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
I agree with this for some youths. Those out-of-control boys in street gangs could do with a sharp lesson in discipline in one of the Armed Forces. Also, they could learn other skills that would help them deal with life another way. But they shouldn't be sent to fight on the front line.
At present, 16-year-olds can join the UK Army with parental consent and can apply from 15 and 7 months. The UK is among fewer than 20 countries which have a minimum voluntary recruitment age of 16.
Ages for army entrants around the world vary: Bangladesh – 16 (voluntary),El Salvador - 16 (voluntary), 18 (compulsory), Iran - 15 (voluntary service in the Basij), 16 (voluntary), 18 (compulsory), Russia - 16 (military cadets), 18 (compulsory; men have to register for the draft at age 17), Singapore - 16 (voluntary), 18 (compulsory), and United Arab Emirates - 16 (naval cadets), 18 (voluntary). All other countries vary between 17 and 18 yrs.
Under current rules, female soldiers, compromising of around nine per cent of the British armed forces, are not allowed to enter into situations where they could engage and potentially kill the enemy.
In the United States, there is a move to lift the ban on women assuming roles in frontline combat units. Britain has to review its current policy on females in combat within the next five years under EU equality laws. A military source told The Times, America’s decision to allow women on the frontline is highly likely to influence the debate.
I don't want to think about war AT ALL. However, that won't make it disappear. Most of all, I don't want youngsters signing up to fight in war until they've had a chance to live—to learn, love and grow.