Criminally pregnant? What does the U.S. Army mean?!


In the face of “The New York Time’s” compelling and vital coverage in their Women at Arms series, they reprinted an AP wire story about criminal pregnancy. A two-star general, Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo, has made pregnancy in a combat zone, among other acts that disrupt esprit de corps and unit effectiveness subject to court martial.  In another word: criminal.

An artist's rendering of court martial jurors

It is interesting to contrast this story with the “Times'” women warriors series; they represent very different perspectives and attitudes.

Most of the offenses are reasonable to non-uniformed eyes and minds, though I haven’t found a list of the less sensational ones.  According to the AP/New York Times, “General Cucolo’s order outlines some 20 banned activities, most aimed at keeping order and preventing criminal activity, like selling a weapon or taking drugs.”

Despite some military leaders’ hunger for gender parity, the military remains a chronic and persistent testosterone zone.  Gen. Cucolo’s decision reminds me of when the Army used to declare that, “If the Army wanted you to have a wife, it would’ve issued you one!”

As per “The New York Daily News” this means that “a husband and wife who are at war together could both be punished.”

This may seem backward, barbaric or whatever other progressive adjective you want to use.  But…  This isn’t the first time that a branch of the U.S. military has implemented policies at which their soldiers rolled their eyes.

Calling the general “naive,” at least one female soldier has her irreverent inside perspective.

Even if this is a simple matter of a commander doing what he must to ensure that he has the troops with the critical skills he needs, various interest groups will exploit this as a political and rhetorical fodder.

File photo of Anthony Cucolo

The “Stars & Stripes,” the U.S. Army’s official voice, has its point of view in “U.S. personnel in Iraq could face court-martial for getting pregnant.”

You might wonder if this squares with the U.S. Constitution’s fourteenth amendment, which provides for equal protection under the law.  But the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which rules military lives, usually supercedes that.

How reasonable, extreme, or absurd is this?

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