Let’s put the whole sex-offender-as-existential-threat-to-children trope in perspective, shall we?
While our government, the U.S., has made it difficult-to-impossible for “sex offender registrants” to travel to foreign countries due to its implementation of an alert system to notify foreign governments of the sex offender status of U.S. citizens (and is about to make that system even more egregious through the anticipated passage of the current International Megan’s Law bill) it has killed thousands of children in the Middle East in its ongoing, and massively failed, military adventures which we, the American taxpayers, have paid for to the tune of three to four trillion dollars.
According to Iraq Body Count, between 2003 and 2011, U.S. coalition forces killed at least 1,201 children in Iraq alone.
U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan over the past decade have killed between 172 and 207 children that are known.
At least 3,952 people have been killed, including no fewer than 66 children below the age of eight, and 44 children below the age of 18, in the US-led coalition’s campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria during the period between September 2014 and November 23, 2015. This, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
These documented cases are just a tiny fraction of all child casualties of U.S.-led attacks, emphasizes Neta Crawford, a political scientist at Boston University. Author of Accountability for Killing: Moral Responsibility for Collateral Damage in America’s Post-9/11 Wars. Crawford tracks civilian casualties of U.S. wars for the Costs of War project.
U.S. drone strikes “aren’t the main source of civilian killing in these wars,” Crawford points out. She adds: “Most children killed and injured directly by U.S. forces and their allies were killed the same way as their parents: they died when bombs fell; when they were caught in ‘cross-fire’; shot in night raids; shot at check-points and run over by U.S. convoys who speed through the streets and roads. The roadside deaths are often not recorded unless the U.S. gives some compensation to the families.”
Indeed, the U.S. government itself turns out to be a terrible source for knowing how many children it has killed since it often fails to acknowledge their deaths, or the deaths of any innocents. Instead, it falls to observer organizations such as the United Nations or Human Rights Watch or The Bureau of Investigative Journalism to furnish the boots-on-the-ground and to provide the terrible data that the U.S. fails to accurately report.
We also cannot assume that the military has murdered these kids by mistake, either. Drone operators refer to children as “fun-size terrorists”, as one such recent horrifying example. In a piece for The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald’s online journalism site that prints what is so often unreported by the major media, Murtaza Hussain reports “Drone operators refer to children as “fun-size terrorists” and liken killing them to “cutting the grass before it grows too long,” said one of the operators, Michael Haas, a former senior airman in the Air Force.
For those of us who are the subject of recent hysterias said to be in aid of preventing the “trafficking” and “exploitation” of children in foreign countries, we are doubly outraged to realize that the same government which murders children in foreign countries with impunity is also willing to impose a state of internal exile upon sex offender registrants, as a class and indiscriminately, the vast majority of whom have never “exploited or trafficked” a child in international travel.
Those of us who have often traveled to foreign countries in business or on holiday, without occasion to violating the laws of those countries, are right to be angry at our own government for further degrading our rights while simultaneously rationalizing the destruction of the lives of children in the Middle East. We fail to see how either advances legitimate U.S. interests.
A nation which pretends to be outraged by our presumed foreign victims, with zero evidence to support such a charge, while simultaneously murdering children in horrendous foreign military adventures, reveals itself to be a cynical, disingenuous villain, one which deserves neither our faith or our respect.
By David Kennerly
Where Is Outcry Over Children Killed by U.S.-Led Forces?
There can be no justification for the killing of children by U.S.-led forces in Syria, Iraq and other war zones since 9/11.
By John Horgan, Scientific American, September 10, 2015
FORMER DRONE OPERATORS SAY THEY WERE “HORRIFIED” BY CRUELTY OF ASSASSINATION PROGRAM
by Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept, Nov. 19 2015
US coalition strikes in Syria ‘killed 250 civilians’
by Diana Al Rifai, Al Jazeera, 25 Nov 2015