How a culture treats its children is a mark of civilization. I realize that the term “civilization” has gone out of use, shelved in the back nooks of musty shelves along with similarly judgmental and politically incorrect terms as “savages.”
But the truth is that a civilization advances when it reaches a higher level of refinement of thought. Nothing can be baser than the total disregard for human life shown when a group goes out to buy and sell children for the purpose of killing them – which is exactly what the Taliban is doing:
Pakistan’s top Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, is buying children as young as 7 to serve as suicide bombers in the growing spate of attacks against Pakistani, Afghan and U.S. targets, U.S. Defense Department and Pakistani officials say.
A Pakistani official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named because of the sensitive nature of the topic, said the going price for child bombers was $7,000 to $14,000 – huge sums in Pakistan, where per-capita income is about $2,600 a year.
“[Mehsud] has turned suicide bombing into a production output, not unlike [the way] Toyota outputs cars,” a U.S. Defense Department official told reporters recently. He spoke on the condition that he not be named because of ongoing intelligence efforts to catch Mehsud, a prime target for a U.S. and Pakistani anti-Taliban campaign.
When I interviewed filmmaker J. D. Johannes at my podcast, he stated that one of the reasons why Iraquis rose against al Qaeda was al Qaeda’s brutality. Nothing in that statement had prepared me to read about this latest maneuver from the Taliban.