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Quotes / Child Soldiers

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    Comic Books 

"In the end, High Command decided they wanted their new troops to fight, not study, so they reduced the steps from ten to eight to three. Three steps, Nautica: 'From thaw to war in under an hour.' Because who cares whether or not a warborn knockoff with a three-minute life expectancy can quote Dominus Ambus or notate the Grand Celestial Melody? So long as he can assemble a path-blaster with his brand-new eyes closed, everyone's happy. That's sarcasm, by the way. I dabble."

"Nothing is scarier than a twelve-year-old with a Kalashnikov."
Nightcrawler, X-Men

    Fan Fiction 
Under the brass dome and glass portholes, the Big Sister was as pale as any of her younger counterparts, her skin an unhealthy, vitamin-starved grey. Long, tangled red hair framed a thin, high-cheekboned face bordered by tiny, lobeless ears. Above the pallid, bruised-looking lips and the button nose, two enormous green eyes stared back at Elizabeth, blinking rapidly as they struggled to acclimatize to seeing the world without a helmet for the first time in years. It wasn't easy to measure emotions on a face that hadn't needed to express anything other than murderous rage for god only knew how long, but Elizabeth had the distinct impression that this girl was, in fact, terrified out of her life.
The sight alone was heartbreaking, but the implications were even worse: this was what the people of Rapture had been made to fear? These were the girls that Sofia Lamb had charged with kidnapping children and murdering dissenters? Good god almighty, they were barely teenagers; the one standing in front of her couldn't be a day older than fifteen!

You are asking a fourteen-year-old child to put his life on the line, going into combat against things that tear through divisions of crack troops.

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 pore 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.

"What am I supposed to do now?" Henry whispered. His body let go of itself and Henry fell right next to the immense rookie Digimon.
"I know what they want me to do... they want me to just jump to the front line and take my friends to battle, as if we were soldiers willing to die for our country. Besides, they think it's so easy... that in the end, Daemon will be defeated, just like D-Reaper and the Nightmare."
The sound of Henry's fist crashing against the floor covered Jeri's gasp.
"Of course! If the kids do it, it's because it's easy, right?"


    Film - Live-Action 

"You see that? See what a kid can do? That's your fault! That's your fucking fault! Next German you see with a weapon, you rake the dogshit out of 'em! I don't care if it's a baby with a butter knife in one hand and momma's titty in the other, YOU CHOP HIM UP!!!"
War Daddy, Fury

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.

"My comrades tied a rope around my waist and lowered me on top of Nazi tanks. I'd stuff Molotovs under turret and cannon, and they pulled me up again. Eight years old! They called me Tank Boy. I took a lot of Nazi tanks. A lot."
Commander Daskal, The Beast of War


If a grown-up soldier revolts, he can be hard to deal with. He may very well turn the weapons you give him at you. Kids usually can be controlled by means as simple as threatening to deny them sweets.

It is often said that there is nothing more frightening than a teenager with an automatic weapon; this is even truer when the teen is a brainwashed madman.

Fight the good fight, soldier-boy.
Colonel Glenn Stern, The Drowned Cities

We quickly killed all the children encamped in the lobby. Aiming for the leg or shoulder was simply not an option on a mission like this—it was shoot to kill from the get-go. Had we been facing adults, who had somewhat more predictable attack patterns, it might have been a different story. But children... children were fearless, and they never knew when to give up, and that made them unpredictable and dangerous.
Genocidal Organ, by Project ITOH

Jake: I worry about you, Rachel. More than any of the others except Tobias. I feel like this war is to you like booze is to an alcoholic. Like I don't know what will happen to you if it all ends someday. What are you going to do? Go back to being the world's greatest shopper? Go back to gymnastics and getting good grades?
Rachel: You worry about me? What do you think you're going to do? Jake, you're a leader now. You make life-and-death decisions. All the time. You've learned to do that. And you've learned to use people. You use them for their strengths and their weaknesses. Worry about me? Like when all this is over you'll go back to being a mediocre basketball player and a decent student? You're not even in high school yet and you're the most wanted person in the Yeerk Empire. Visser Three would trade his Blade ship for your head on a stick.
Animorphs #22: The Solution

Laughing through clouds, his milk-teeth still unshed,
Cities and men he smote from overhead.
His deaths delivered, he returned to play
Childlike, with childish things now put away.
Rudyard Kipling, Epitaphs of The War

    Live-Action TV 

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!

Niles: Have you forgotten that when Hitler invaded Greece, [Aunt Zola] joined the partisans so she could strangle Nazis?
Frasier: I have never believed that. She would have been five at the time.
Niles: That's why the legend says they were strangled with jump ropes.

Adolf Hitler: Yes, join the Hitler Youth, and if you're lucky, we'll run so short of men that we'll send you off to fight und get killed for ze fatherland!
German Boy: But I'm only ten.
Hitler: [Gives Nazi salute] Talk to ze hand, 'cause ze face ain't listening.


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"

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"

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"

On Shiloh's dark and bloody ground,
The dead and wounded lay;
Amongst them was a drummer boy,
Who beat the drums that day.
A wounded soldier held him up
His drum was by his side;
He clasped his hands, then raised his eyes,
And prayed before he died.

To arms, oh citizens!
Form up in serried ranks!
March on, march on!
And drench our fields
With their tainted blood!

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
— "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem

    Tabletop Games 

Let no child be without a sword. We will all fight, for if we fail, we will certainly all die.

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

Do you know how they make [Space Marines], 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.
Lord General Xarius, Warhammer 40,000


    Video Games 

"So, we are taking children into battle, are we? I am not certain I will be able to sleep soundly after beholding something like that..."

Shepard: You've been killing since you were six?
Thane: Of course not. I did not make my first kill until I was twelve.


Undine: Because someone has to do it, right? Either it's me, or that burden is forced onto someone else.
Mark: That's some real serious shit, coming from a kid.
Undine: We're not kids, we're magical girls.

    Web Original 

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."

    Western Animation 

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.

Wonder Woman: I shouldn't be surprised, since you indoctrinated Robin into crime-fighting at the ripe old age of nine.
Batman: Robin needed to help bring the man who murdered his family to justice.
Wonder Woman: So he could turn out like you?
Batman: So that he wouldn't.

Mr. Twister: I was prepared to be challenged by a superhero. I was not, however, expecting children.
Robin: We're not children!
Mr. Twister: Objectively, you are. Have you no adult supervision? I find your presence here quite disturbing.

    Real Life 

I consider their existence our greatest failure.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

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...

If it sounds fantastic to imagine German soldiers behaving so childishly in the days before the last stand of Hitler's Reich, consider their age: many of these "men" were indeed children, who laughed at the things children laughed at. They were adult only in their candidacy for death.
— From Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-45 by Max Hastings



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