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."
- Chico, as a member of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).
- Raiden, during the Liberian Civil War, in the Small Boy Unit.
- Solidus Snake, the commander of the Small Boy Unit, and also a CIA paramilitary prior to and during the Liberian Civil War.
- Drebin 893, during the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency in Uganda.
Other military uses of childrenEdit
In 1999, the military fortress of Zanzibar Land was inhabited by many children who had been "saved" from various other wars by Big Boss. Though they were not deployed as child soldiers, Big Boss intended to train and equip these children to fight in the wars of the next generation once they came of age.
Behind the scenesEdit
Despite adolescent experience with warfare being endemic to the games' casts to some extent or another, no "observed" faction in the Metal Gear series actively employs child soldiers, likely due to international video game ratings standards' possible objections. Several of the factions that used them during the series, however, were often proxies of the Patriots and the Philosophers.
Elisa/Ursula, a member of FOX who took part in the San Hieronymo Takeover, was implied to have been of a young age in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Olga Gurlukovich of Metal Gear Solid 2 claimed to have "grew up on the battlefield." However, the game did not specify whether or not she had actively participated in war as a child soldier. Similarly, Portable Ops implies that Big Boss had participated in the battlefield since he was at the very least the same age as Elisa. Monsoon, in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, claimed he learned his stance of "kill or be killed" from growing up on the killing fields under the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, although it isn't made clear whether he had participated in any direct combat during this time. Both the novelization for Metal Gear Solid and the secret call in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker implied that Solid Snake (and presumably Liquid Snake) had also been raised in the military since early childhood with the purpose of serving as an insurance policy for Cipher, should they come into direct conflict with Big Boss.
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: Portable Ops, Kojima Productions (2006)
Big Boss: You're pretty young. // Elisa: Well, you were out on the battlefield when you were my age, weren't you, Snake? Or should I say... Big Boss?
- ^ Metal Gear Solid novelization by Raymond Benson, Del Rey Books (2008).
- ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).