The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Major General Anthony Cucolo passed a new policy which may mean time in the brig for soldiers, airmen, and Marines who become pregnant while on active duty in a combat zone. This issue presents so many moral, tactical, and ethical problems I can’t possibly cover them all.
There is the issue of personal freedom, the issue of husband and wife deployed together, the issue of rape, the issue of accidental pregnancy…
Where do we draw the line? Let’s talk about the nature of military service.
Service in the military means that you are not a private citizen any longer. It costs roughly $250,000 to basically train a soldier or Marine for combat in an infantry role. Female soldiers are usually trained for other jobs, some of which may cost substantially more to train for. Example, aircraft mechanic. To be a fixed wing aircraft mechanic you must attend basic training, combat training at the school of infantry, a qualified “A” school, and a qualified “C” school. You’ll have to enlist for five years, not four, just so you can spend a year training on multi-million dollar equipment.
The Marine Corps invests a lot of money in these personnel, and it has the smallest budget out of all the nation’s military. The phrase drilled into my head during boot camp comes to mind… “The first mission of the Marine Corps is to fight and win wars! The second mission of the Marine Corps is troop welfare!”
It’s true. In that order.
In a combat zone, there are many personal freedoms that are given up, freedoms that are taken for granted by the rest of society. Like drinking alcohol. Caught drinking alcohol will get you into some serious trouble. Maybe NJP (non-judicial punishment) or a court martial for dereliction of duty. You see, it’s your duty to stay in condition to fight and defend yourself, your brothers in arms, and your country.
One could argue that becoming pregnant is dereliction of duty, since it is preventable.
The policy takes into account the act of rape, which if resulting in pregnancy is not prosecutable. Thank God. Sexual harassment is a real problem within the ranks of military, and it’s easy to see why. Testosterone fueled bands of men who have been in combat for a few months—out of contact with women—are going to have a libido like you wouldn’t believe when they get back to a non-hostile environment. They’ve been living off adrenaline and rage. Rape might be something completely attainable to a man who has killed on the field of battle, although rare in my experience.
Regardless, rape is an atrocious crime and should carry the worst of sentences, in my opinion.
The policy also is directed at men and women who are married and deployed together. While not banning sex between couples who are married, it is still prosecutable in the event that the woman becomes pregnant. Her husband would also face time in the brig. Of course, it just makes me wonder what HAPPENS TO THE CHILD?
I can’t say whether or not I agree with the policy. I’m not sure. I do know that many of the seemingly ridiculous rules in place in our nations military become that way because there was enough of it going on to warrant a change.
This new directive about pregnancy means interesting things for different branches of service. The Army is the only branch of service that deploys it’s troops for thirteen months. At about month six, you get a two week R&R where you go home and relax for a few. Well, what if you happen to become pregnant while home on R&R? I’m pretty sure that whoever your special someone is that hasn’t seen you in six months may want a little intimate time. Who’s to say that you didn’t do it on purpose so you could come home?
That’s exactly where the policy will fail. The Army cannot say for certain whether you got pregnant on accident or on purpose, and this policy is enacted in a way that decides that it is prosecutable either way. I can understand becoming pregnant while deployed being an issue, but while home on R&R, officially on leave, what’s the issue?
It’s hard to say how this policy will affect the way business is conducted overseas. Pregnancy is not nly something that can be potentially harmful to ones self in a combat zone, but it’s also potentially harmful to everyone around you, a status much different than being pregnant here in the United States.
Like the old Marine Corps adage, it’s mission is to fight and win wars.