I can't hold a glass of wine yet
But they think it's fine to
Have me hold a gun
Kill a man or kill his son
— Company of Thieves, "Quiet on the Front"
We too shall enlist
When our elders' time has come
To add to the list of deeds
Inscribed upon their tombs
We are much less jealous of surviving them
Than of sharing their coffins
We shall have the sublime pride
Of avenging or joining them
Some are eight or nine or ten
And they die like a fly, and no one knows
Who they are, they're smaller than the gun they load
— U.D.O., "They Want War"
To arms, oh citizens!
Form up in serried ranks!
March on, march on!
And drench our fields
With their tainted blood!
— "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem
On Shiloh's dark and bloody ground,
The dead and wounded lay;
Amongst them was a drummer boy,
Who beat the drum that day.
A wounded soldier help and him up—
His drum was by his side;
He clasp'd his hands, then he rais'd his eyes,
And prayed before he died
"Do you know how they make them, Threlnan? No, of course you don't. They find some barbaric planet where children fight before they can walk, and they hunt down the most bloodthirsty killers. They recruit them when they're twelve, thirteen, fourteen, with all that hate and that arrogance, just at the age when you think you're bulletproof and nothing can kill you. Then they keep them like that, give them a gun and some armour, and point them at the nearest enemy. They're not soldiers, colonel, they're maniacs."
"I consider their existence our greatest failure. "
— UN Secetary Kofi Annan, on Child Soldiers.
Think you gangsta, popped a few rounds?
These kids'll come through and murder a whole town
Then sit back and smoke and watch it burn down
The graves get deeper the further we go down
— Lupe Fiasco, "Little Weapon"
Or maybe it was because of something that impressed me in Carton's Army of the Potomac: that the soldiers were all so young and innocent... Even though it was a deadly game, and the suffering and fear were terrible and real, it was still a game played by children...
Andre: I can see what you are thinking. But we need every man we can get.
Yuri: Even if they're not men?
Andre: A bullet from a fourteen-year-old is just as effective as one from a forty-year-old. Often more effective.
Shepard: You've been killing since you were six?
"Children, you call them? They can pull a trigger just as well as veterans, and they have the spirit of a bull narthax. Call them children if you wish. I call them troops. Good troops."
— Colonel Marus Cullen, Warhammer 40,000
"We fight this battle not for ourselves, but for our children, and our children's children, which is why I'm forming a Children's Brigade."
We are talking about innocent children! You would really leave these children on the street knowing what you do about Juma? Dammit Frank, they will be used as cannon fodder! Or slaughtered in the soccer stadium for entertainment!
"Duck faces and death threats should never be paired (doesn't one cancel out the other?). Yes, these are teenagers, but they're also tomorrow's soldiers and while it's easy to write these photos off as the stupid antics of kids who don't know better, it's hard to ignore the blitheness with which they pair bikini shots with the words 'death to all Arabs.'"
—Jezebel, "Duckfaces and Death to All Arabs"
She walked side by side with her master down the hall of the hotel. The rugs were sodden, the walls were smeared, and the bodies separated.
She wasn't sure where to look anymore.
"M-Master… I… feel sick… why… why did we… these people…?"
He knelt down, grasping her by the shoulders while she shook from adrenaline and horror.
"We did this because these people deserved it. They pack us into boxes and work us until we die, and then write us off as resources. Expenses. We're just data to them that they pour through while they sat in this hotel, drinking wine and sleeping with women. We taught them a lesson tonight. Tonight, we reminded them we're living people, who can't be taken lightly."
He held her close, pressing her face into his jacket, and he whispered close as he picked her up and walked.
"We're knights killing dragons. Farmers killing giants. Our fight to be freed from these ruthless human rules… is a page in a story of history. We're making history, Blake."
In the folds of the master's clothes, smelling the scent of living people again, the child felt secure once more. Guided by the red of her master, she knew that, no matter what happened, at the end of the day, they were fighting evil. Enacting justice.
Making the world a better place.
She had the power to make the world a better place.