War Toys for Tots

G.I. Joe has shown boys how to exercise military might for decades, but America's recent "war on terror" has made way for a new cash crop of action figures. Since Sept. 11, corporations like Dragon Model have pushed "American Freedom Fighters," featuring "Tora Bora Ted," while top trading-card companies immortalize patriotic heroes and demonize enemies through anti-terrorist card collections. J.C. Penney even advertises a "Forward Command Post"—an occupied civilian home that looks like a dilapidated Barbie dream house, with its elaborate balcony destroyed to make space for machine guns. But help is on the way. Kids Can Free the Children is organizing war toy trade-ins at schools to send the message that, for millions of children, "war is not a game."

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