- Jan 10, 2002
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Saddam trains kids to kill
8,000-strong army of children ready to take on U.S. forces
Posted: April 4, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
Reminiscent of the Hitler Youth of World War II, Saddam Hussein has trained an 8,000-strong army of children to face coalition forces in Baghdad.
In a report by the New York Daily News, Peter Singer of the Brookings Institution explains the children are considered a junior Fedayeen Saddam ? the paramilitary forces Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has dubbed "death squads" for the atrocities they commit.
The child army is called Ashbal Saddam, or Saddam's Lion Cubs, according to the report.
"Whatever the Fedayeen has been willing to do, you can extrapolate that these children will do the same," Singer told the paper.
After the first Gulf War, says Singer, Saddam began forcing boys as young as 6 into military boot camps. By age 10 the children are trained in the use of small arms and basic infantry tactics. Their uniform includes shirts with the inscription "Ashbal Saddam," according to the Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights.
So, what can U.S. forces expect to see from the Lion Cubs?
"Ambushes, sniping, hit-and-run tactics are the most likely things we'll see," Singer said.
In northern Iraq, said the Daily News report, U.S. troops may find themselves fighting in the trenches alongside children. There are an estimated 3,000 children serving with Kurdish opposition forces opposed to Saddam, according to the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers.
Facing child warriors is nothing new for U.S. forces, having battled them in Vietnam, Somalia and Afghanistan.
U.S. military personnel are taught tactics to use when fighting children.
Keni Thomas, an Army Ranger who fought in Somalia, said that in the heat of battle, a soldier is a soldier.
"At the time, it is not a difficult decision to make," he told the paper. "In the end, only you know what you see down your sight. Whether it's a man, woman, child or machine firing at you, it's a threat."
In a December 2002 report titled "Iraq: A Population Silenced," the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor disclosed that Saddam Hussein forces "children between the ages of 10 and 15 to attend 3-week training courses in weapons? use, hand-to-hand fighting, rappelling from helicopters, and infantry tactics. These children endure 14 hours of physical training and psychological pressure each day." If families object to having their children turned into soldiers for Saddam, said the State Department report, they're "threatened with the loss of their food ration cards."
Saddam's recruitment and cultivation of child warriors is not surprising considering his close ties with the Palestinian Authority. As WorldNetDaily has reported, under the direction of PA leader Yasser Arafat, Palestinian children are commonly taught to hate Jews, to glorify jihad, violence, death and child martyrdom almost the earliest ages. Use of children as warriors, human shields and as suicide bombers is an essential part of the Palestinians' war strategy against Israel.
Saddam has routinely paid $25,000 to families of youthful Palestinian "martyrs" who died killing Israelis.