CBS was the only network to assign a reporter to the start of the war crimes trial of Charles Taylor at The Hague. The former President of Liberia is accused of sponsoring the civil war in next-door Sierra Leone. Anchor Katie Couric did that little thing that she does, using the pop culture reference of the 2006 movie Blood Diamond as a hook to introduce Sheila MacVicar's hard news story: "For the first time," MacVicar stated, "prosecutors have made the recruitment of children under age 15 a war crime." She introduced us to Ishmael Beah, soldier at the age of twelve, now author of the war memoir A Long Way Gone. In Sierra Leone, thousands of soldiers were children or teenagers, 50,000 people died, "thousands more were maimed. The prize? Fabulously rich diamond fields." Taylor, who claims never to have set foot in Sierra Leone, pleads not guilty and is being tried in his absence.
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