Child soldiers, sometimes referred to as little soldiers, are children who are either raised as soldiers or forced to fight in the battlefield. They are usually younger than 16.
Throughout history and in many cultures, children have been extensively involved in military campaigns even when such practices were supposedly against cultural morals. Since the 1970s a number of international conventions have come into effect that try to eliminate the participation of children in armed conflicts, though the practice still remains widespread in some parts of the world, with at least 300,000 child soldiers being deployed by 2009. The growth of the "war economy" in the early 2010s led to an increase in the use of child soldiers on the battlefield, with the soldiers recruited by private military companies also becoming younger as a result.
During the late 2010s, the means of child soldiers gained a far more insidious twist, where trafficked children had their brains surgically removed and placed in cyborg head units, and then placed under VR training for the purpose of making them ruthless killing machines. Raiden and Maverick discovered this when investigating a Desperado-owned research lab, and attempted to put an end to it, at the very least ensuring that those kids he couldn't save from having their brains removed, he'd at least spare them from experiencing the same kind of childhood that he had as Jack the Ripper.
Former child soldiersEdit
- Frank Jaeger, during the Mozambican War of Independence. He later underwent training by the CIA in order to become the Perfect Soldier "Null."
- FOX member Elisa/Ursula, who participated in the San Hieronymo Takeover. Was killed by FOX member Gene.
- Chico, as a member of the Sandinista National Liberation Front. Was killed by Skull Face.
- Psycho Mantis, as a former member of XOF under the code name "Tretij Rebenok".
- Liquid Snake, real name Eli, who led a group of child soldiers in Africa when he was 12 years old under the name "The White Mamba".
- Raiden, during the Liberian Civil War, in the Small Boy Unit.
- Drebin 893, during the Lord's Resistance Army insurgency in Uganda.
- Big Boss, during the Korean War, when he was 15 years old.
- Shabani, the original leader of The Mbele Squad of Child Soldiers. Was killed during a rescue mission by XOF.
- Mbele general's XO, a Buta who was forced into acting as a child soldier by the general and killed his parents.
- Skull Face, during World War II as a spy and assassin who killed many Soviet agents, military officials and soldiers.
Other military uses of childrenEdit
In 1999, the military fortress of Zanzibar Land was inhabited by many children who had been "saved" from various wars by Big Boss. Although they were not deployed as child soldiers during that time, Big Boss intended to train and equip these children to fight in future wars.
Behind the scenesEdit
Despite adolescent experience with warfare being endemic to the games' casts in some form or another, no "observed" faction in the Metal Gear series actively employs child soldiers. Several of the factions that used them during the series, however, were often proxies of the Patriots and the Philosophers. Additionally, although he was stopped by Miller, Venom Snake intended to recycle rescued child soldiers within the ranks of Diamond Dogs.
There are several occasions in the series where it is implied that some characters had experience of warfare at a young age, although their participation as child soldiers, if any, is not specified. Examples include:
- Olga Gurlukovich in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, who claimed to have "grown up on the battlefield."
- Solid Snake in the the Raymond Benson novelization for Metal Gear Solid, which claimed that he had been trained as a soldier since early childhood.
- Monsoon in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, who claimed that he learned his stance of "kill or be killed" from growing up on the killing fields in Cambodia.
- Solidus Snake participated in the Liberian Civil War as a CIA paramilitary when he was a teenager.
According to Hideo Kojima's notes in the Piggyback Collector's Edition Guide's art gallery, the child soldiers were an integral part of the free infiltration sandbox and thus the player had to meet them in the game. He also elaborates on why Big Boss takes in child soldiers: Since Big Boss himself is infertile, and thus is no longer able to have children, he is very protective of any children that he encounters, even Eli, and that the children are a blessing even to someone like Big Boss who was defined by his lust for revenge.
Prior to the release of The Phantom Pain, the Metal Gear Solid: Official Missions Handbook had claimed Liquid Snake had formerly acted as an underage mercenary at the age of 13.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ^ Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2001).
Rosemary: Drafting small children, sending them to war -- it's not allowed under international conventions. // Raiden: ICC rules don't mean a lot in war. Someone told me that there are over three hundred thousand children in combat right now. I was just one of them...
- ^ Metal Gear Solid by Raymond Benson, Del Rey Books (2008).
"Even when as a child, he had acknowledged the fact that he was different from others his age. He was already sufficiently distinguished from his con-temporaries in that he did not know his parents and had grown up with and been educated by a variety of foster “teachers.” And he'd been training to be a soldier since early childhood."