Recruiting British soldiers at 16 isn’t just morally wrong. It’s bad economics
The Ministry of Defence wastes £94 million every year training minors for army roles which could be filled more cost-effectively by adult recruits, says a new report launched today by human rights groups Child Soldiers International and ForcesWatch.
Britain is the only country in the EU, the Council of Europe or among the UN Security Council Permanent Membership to recruit sixteen year olds into the military. They may not drink in a Pub, smoke, or vote in General Elections. They cannot have commercial contracts enforced against them. They may not join the Fire Service, but they can join the British Army and on their eighteenth birthday risk being killed in combat.
Recruitment at 16 is a scandal. Wars in Kosovo, Iraq and now twelve years of armed conflict in Afghanistan make the danger of being killed in battle an every day reality from the day a young recruit turns 18.
The moral case against recruitment of sixteen year olds is compelling. Eighteen is the age of legal responsibility. Those below that age are considered too young to make decisions that may lead to putting their own lives or those of others at risk. Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights has criticised the recruitment of minors.… Read more