Mr. Obama’s actions have inflamed an army of critics, who say the waivers have put at-risk children in even greater danger.
“The implementation of the law by President Obama has been a big disappointment,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. She said countries won’t get serious about ending the use of child soldiers until they think the United States is serious about withholding aid. “U.S. tax dollars should not go to governments that use child soldiers.”
Mr. Obama, however, has an opportunity to silence his critics as he decides over the next two months whether to withhold aid or give waivers to seven countries named in a new State Department report as using children — both boys and girls — as armed combatants.