Murphy's Law: March 28, 2002


The new international treaty banning anyone under 18 from combat will have little or no effect on the US military. The treat prohibits drafting anyone under 18 or accepting volunteers under 16; the US has signed but not ratified the treaty. President Bush has supported senate ratification. Every year, the military recruits 175,000 people, of whom about 12,000 are 17 years old and enlisted with parental consent. By the time they finish basic training, less than a thousand haven't reached their 18th birthday. Under the treaty (at least as the US interprets it), 17 year olds can be in combat zones but only in support units, not in front line combat. Thus, the seven Navy personnel in the Arabian Sea who are under 17 need not be reassigned as they are not actually under fire, or firing back.--Stephen V Cole


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