It is a melancholy object to those who wage wars that many children are burned, maimed and killed; that many children get in the way of bullets and bombs; that after the cessation of hostilities, many children die from pestilence, or are grievously injured by landmines.
These dangers have long troubled politicians. None more, I suppose, than the English, who truly love children. This love has never been more evident than recently, when it became well known that British leaders maintain strict laws punishing anyone who merely visits a website containing child pornography, because children are harmed in making this sordid material.
Many dreamers have offered solutions to the injustices visited upon children in war, but these proposals have proved impracticable. The principled refusal to bomb schools merely turns those buildings into sanctuaries for enemy soldiers. Precision guided missiles are expensive, and they just as often miss their intended targets.
Under my proposal, it will be possible to remove children from Iraq before the war commences. They will be provided safe passage to Britain, and, once there, gainful employment. There will be a demand for these workers. I have been told by many people that Iraqi children — the strong ones who have so far survived the UN sanctions — are considered quite beautiful. Perhaps a little thin, from hunger, but nevertheless pleasing to the eye.
I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that Iraqi children, instead of being placed at risk of death or mutilation from British and American armaments, be given the option to appear in pornography. Of course, an exception to the English laws will have to be made. But the government can remain assured that English children will be protected from this scourge, if the law excepts only Iraqi children.
Strenuous efforts will warrant that no child is coerced. The government will dispatch inspectors to Iraq — often called “the cradle of civilization” — to locate healthy children, and ask them to choose freely: “Do you want to be in pictures — or would you rather be killed in the war? Do you want to be just another pretty face — or prefer yours disfigured?”
No child will engage in this enterprise for an unreasonable duration. I have been assured by child pornographers, and lawmakers, that a boy or girl older than 16 years is no salable commodity. Teenagers who save their earnings may pay for education, or train for respectable professions.
The advantages of my proposal are many. For first, moneys will once again flow unabated to credit card companies. Because of Britain’s strict laws, and recent arrests, sensible Englishmen are, at present, terrified to use a credit card to access a child pornography site. Without swift government action, there will be a decrease in profits, and a resulting loss of tax revenue.
Secondly, tax revenue from this business can fund schools and children’s hospitals, which may suffer in wartime. Some revenues can buy therapy for children who might be emotionally scarred by their employment. What is left might be used to purchase prosthetic limbs for children who choose to remain in Iraq for the invasion.
Thirdly, British leaders will be able to wage this war in good conscience. They will know that all child casualties freely assumed the risk of their injuries. They will know that those children who contract disease, or languish in unsanitary refugee camps, stubbornly refused a helping hand.
Fourthly, publics in the civilized world will need tolerate few, if any, indecent photographs in newspapers, TV or on the Internet, of bloody children who are dead, mangled, or twisted into grotesque shapes.
One might object that child pornography is immoral, harms children, and devalues human life; I agree. But let no one suggest other expedients: asking governments to avoid war by practicing diplomacy and applying creativity; asking governments to shift money from military budgets to humanitarian goals; asking British and American leaders to continue the strict UN weapons inspections in Iraq agreed to by many nations. I repeat, let no one suggest such expedients, until there is at least some glimpse of hope that there will ever be some sincere attempt to try them. At present, both the British and American governments appear too busy protecting children, born and unborn, to listen.
Lastly, I profess that I have no personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no motive other than the public good, assuaging the guilt of politicians, and providing for children. I have no children of my own in Iraq, and I would prefer pictures of adults only.
BRIAN J. FOLEY can be reached at email@example.com.