Pursuant to section 404 of the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CSPA) (title IV, Public Law 110-457), I hereby determine that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive the application of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA with respect to Libya, South Sudan, and Yemen; and further determine that it is in the national interest of the United States to waive in part the application of the prohibition in section 404(a) of the CSPA with respect to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to allow for continued provision of International Military Education and Training funds and nonlethal Excess Defense Articles, and the issuance of licenses for direct commercial sales of U.S. origin defense articles; and I hereby waive such provisions accordingly.
You are authorized and directed to submit this determination to the Congress, along with the accompanying Memorandum of Justification, and to publish the determination in the Federal Register.
In English, this means that South Sudan, Yemen, and Libya get a free pass, and the Congo gets… half of a free pass. They don’t have to play by the rules of the international community (rule number one is “respect basic human rights”) in order to reap the benefits (millions of dollars in aid). Ethics are the same no matter how poor a country is; what’s wrong in the First World does not become magically moral in the Third. These “free passes” are questionable for that reason.
It is concerning that a president can send a memo saying “ignore this part of the law,” and hardly anyone questions him. This law “was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress unanimously.” When it seems like Congress can’t agree on anything, they agree on this law. Perhaps we should all be concerned with how that law is used or misused.
I do know that selling or giving weapons to people who use child soldiers is a step in the wrong direction.