|credit: Mike Lester, Washington Post|
Nor has championing children prevented her from allowing South Sudan from using child soldiers when she was Secretary of State. The United States passed a law in 2008 that prohibited giving military aid to nations that used child soldiers. The law is a reasonable response by the world's largest arms purveyor to a problem causing immense suffering in failed states like Sudan. The bill was authored by a Republican legislator from Nebraska who called the abhorrent practice "unthinkable"; Clinton herself called child soldiering, "modern day slavery". However the law contained a loophole that allows the State Department to issue exemptions to countries deemed essential to US geopolitical goals. Rebel forces in South Sudan used child soldiers before the law was passed; when it gained independence and was recognized by the United States, the Obama government issued South Sudan an exemption from the Child Soldiers Prevention Act using the technicality of South Sudan's practice prior to the passage of the US law. True to form, it grandfathered slavery into the world's newest country and potential terrorist haven.
Former State Department officials confirm that the State Department in consultation with the White House controlled the waiver process. Paperwork was generated at the agency, moved up to the Secretary of State's office for approval, and then was forwarded to the White House. The State Department's role is to advise an administration on which countries should obtain a waiver. Regardless of its blatant, deluded public statements about South Sudan's future without war, the administration maintained privately that child soldiering was a short-term concession needed to ensure the nascent government's stability. Waivers continued to be issued after Secretary Clinton's tenure and are still in effect as US military aid, including Special Forces support, has flowed into the country. In 2013 aid topped out at over half a billion dollars. The rebel organization SPLA favored with US aid, in addition to using child soldiers, is implicated in a myriad of extra-judicial killings, tortures, rapes and beatings. The violence continues to this day even though the the rebels and the government entered into a peace agreement in 2015. The war has splintered into several sub-conflicts causing hundreds of thousands to become refugees and half the population to face the possibility of famine.
Is this a "champion" who on her watch allowed a rebel organization to enslave children in the name of securing oil supplies? The Hillary-Donald contest is another false choice between a corrupt, neo-liberal hawk and a reactionary demagogue imposed on the electorate by the Money Power. So pass the kool-aid elsewhere Ms. Clinton, thank you very much.