Via Rose Berger, the summer issue of Portland magazine includes an essay by Portland editor and Century contributor Brian Doyle, in which he quotes at length a conversation with a young U.S. war veteran named Jackie. She paints a striking picture.
From 1995-2005, 2 million child soldiers were killed and 6 million permanently disabled or injured. An estimated 300,000 children (younger than 18) are currently serving as soldiers. Some have joined voluntarily out of economic desperation or for their own safety; others have been forcibly recruited by rebel forces. Still others have been by recruited by recognized sovereign governments—and eight of the nine such governments receive military assistance from the U.S.