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“The test of the morality of a society,” wrote theologian and anti-Nazi activist Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “is what it does for its children.” Or more significantly, what it does to them. For example, just when you think the Taliban couldn’t set the bar of subhumanity any lower, reporter Michael Yon, embedded with American troops in Afghanistan, reports on two instances of shocking Taliban cruelty, directed at children, that have enraged local Afghans themselves.
First, the Taliban kidnapped the son of a man who refused to turn over a police vehicle to them, and tortured the 8-year-old before strangling him to death (not that this is especially atypical of the Taliban; in early June they hanged a 7-year-old Afghan boy accused of being a U.S. spy). Next, an even younger boy was forced to step on an experimental Improvised Explosive Device (IED) to test it. His leg was blown off below the knee. Locals brought the boy to a nearby American base, where he and his father were loaded onto a helicopter to Kandahar Airfield for medical care (because that’s what Americans and Israelis do: instead of torturing and murdering children, we heal them – even the children of our enemies). Yon asked the Taliban spokesman about it, and he predictably dismissed the story as “enemy propaganda.” But Yon has a military report on the incident which includes pictures of the boy’s wounds, and outraged villagers were witnesses.
Elsewhere, al Qaeda has recruited orphans, street children and mentally disabled children as suicide bombers against coalition troops in Iraq. Palestinian summer camps for children give them an “education in terror,” glorifying suicide bombers and training kids how to blow up Israeli buses and settlements. Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini famously sent waves of children to clear Iraqi minefields, and today Iranian children’s TV indoctrinates toddlers to embrace martyrdom against Jews. And then there’s Beslan, where Chechen Islamic militants took over a thousand Russians hostage, three-quarters of them schoolchildren; after brutalizing and murdering hostages for three days, ultimately the ordeal ended with nearly two hundred children dead, some of them shot in the back by the terrorists as they fled. Children, whether their own or those of infidels, are a useful tool in the service of jihad.
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