It seems totally wrong to begin with but it has been the case in the past for example in the Armenian genocide that children have had to fight alongside their parents just to ensure their own survival as their capture would mean death. Is it therefore morally acceptable that in a last stand against their certain death to hand them a weapon and tell them how to kill with it? But beyond that if that is in principle ok then is it reasonable to send them on the offensive to secure their own existence and finish off an enemy who would otherwise kill them? A friend of mine put this to me the other day and I can't seem to find a concrete, fool proof answer.
Is it wrong to bite the heads off of new born kittens? Of course its wrong and using children as soldiers is just as wrong. Keep the children safe from harm. Send them away to hide or live with people you trust to care for them. War is wrong. Killing other human beings is wrong. Using children as soldiers is a war crime.
Ages at which we allow citizens to do things are largely arbitrary, so I can't say that it's categorically wrong. Maybe something you should avoid as much as possible, though, because there will likely be geopolitical repercussions and certainly some mental health consequences for the children.
In almost all cases, it is wrong to use ADULT soldiers. Resource and territory grabs, ethnic cleansing and imperialism are all wrong motivations for war...but the overwhelming majority of armed conflicts are rooted in those motivations.
Must even children sometimes defend themselves? Yes, unfortunately. But the wrong there is on the part of the aggressors, not the defenders.
I think fiction deals with many dilemmas we can face. In a scenario like the world of the Walking Dead, the kid had better learn to defend itself and be on the offensive when needed. It’s not too far a stretch of the imagination to insert wartime parallels into the question.
The Nazis used boy soildiers to defend the Fatherland at the end of WWII and the Hitler youth fought very bravely in the last stand battle in Berlin.Shocking to see the pictures now. The Russian army moving in was in no mood to take prisoners or behave in a civilised manner to the German population,the rape of German women after the fall of Berlin showed that the last ditch attempt to save Berlin was a real desperate backs against the wall fight,can you blame them?
A soldier is someone else who will do the fighting for you and protect you from foreign aggressors. If you are a child and your survival is directly threatened (they kill civilian children), you are really fighting for your own personal survival and not a soldier, just self preservation.
A child being handed a gun and told to defend themselves against those who would do them harm isnt intrinsically wrong or right. Its a necessary action but beyond that morals do not enter into it.
A child being enslaved, handed a gun, and told to kill others or they/ their loved ones would be killed is about the closest possible example of pure evil that exists.
All citizens who are fit to serve must be ready, willing and able to defend their nation. Regardless of race, gender or religion.
Any person who would not defend their nation in a time of crisis is irresponsible, reprehensible and morally void of the basic qualities found in a strong and committed citizen.
I went 'yes' but there are some caveats...I don't find using children to be immoral because of their children as much as using all people is offensive. I would never ask anyone to kill or die to protect me because I'm unwilling to kill or die to protect them; however, if someone is willing to throw their life away, I probably wouldn't try to stop them.
IOW, I don't hold children's life to be of more value than anyone else's. I actually would say I value parents of young children the highest but only because I don't want to get stuck taking care of their kids.
The use of child soldiers is (hopefully) the last symptom of a failed state. I say hopefully because I presently cannot conceive of a more drastic state of affairs. In the face of possible annihilation, the only rational course is flight. The fact that you've distributed a bunch of AKs to some preteens would not alter the outcome. So the use of child soldiers is wrong.
It boils down to consent as it would with the course of all adult matters. Contract law, sex, driving; it is never rational to put these things in the hands of children.