French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy recently warned that the use of child soldiers is ‘a time bomb that threatens stability and growth in Africa and beyond’. At a conference on child soldiers in Paris he announced that they constituted ‘lost children’ who were ‘lost for peace and lost for the development of their countries’ (BBC 2007). This lost generation metaphor has become a commonplace in discussions of child soldiers, who are presumed to return from war traumatized, stigmatized and broken. ‘They are walking ghosts’, mourns a recent New York Times (2006) editorial, ‘damaged, uneducated pariahs’. While such alarming assertions attract much-needed attention and money to the reintegration of former child soldiers, the evidence to support these claims is weak at best. In fact, the evidence to support almost any claim relating to children affected by war is sadly lacking.