Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo III, a commander in northern Iraq,has made pregnancy among troops serving in Iraq a punishable offense and one that could lead to court martial. The order applies not only to females but to the male who impregnated them.
The reason for such a drastic measure is to ensure that someone else doesn’t have to cover for the pregnant woman. Military experts have said that Major General Cucolo is perfectly within his rights to make such a order. The order also applies to civilians reporting to the general. Heretofore, pregnant soldiers were sent home, often leaving a duty uncovered. The slack had to be taken up by others.
According to AKnews
Army spokesman George Wright said the service typically sends home from the battlefield soldiers who become pregnant. But it is not an Army-wide policy to punish them under the military’s legal code, he said. However, division commanders like Cucolo have the authority to impose these type of restrictions to personnel operating under their command, Wright said.
Cucolo oversees forces in northern Iraq, an area that includes the cities of Kirkuk, Tikrit and Mosul. His Nov. 4 order was first reported by the military newspaper Stars and Stripes. Cucolo’s order outlines some 20 barred activities. Most of them are aimed at keeping order and preventing criminal activity, such as selling a weapon or taking drugs.
But other restrictions seemed aimed at preventing soldiers from leaving their unit short-handed, including becoming pregnant or undergoing elective surgery that would prevent their deployment.
Under Cucolo’s order, troops also are prohibited from “sexual contact of any kind” with Iraqi nationals. And, they cannot spend the night with a member of the opposite sex, unless married or expressly permitted to do so.
Stars and Stripes reports that thus far, 7 soldiers have been punished under the 6 week pregnancy ban. None to date have been court-martialed, however. According to ABC sources, Major General Cucolo states:
“I see absolutely no circumstance where I would punish a female soldier by court martial for a violation … none,” Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo III wrote to ABC News in an exclusive statement. ” I fully intend to handle these cases through lesser disciplinary action.”
Supposedly the ban applied even to married soldiers. The National Organization of Women has expressed their outrage over this order.
Is pregnancy sacrosanct? Is appears that the General has made every effort to apply the order as equitably as possible. Do the troops have access to safe, reliable contraception? Should women be outraged? Should men be held accountable or more accurately, can men be held accountable? Do women ever use pregnacy as an excuse to be sent home?
There are many unanswered questions out there. Many of our readers and contributors are ex-military or retired military. How do the men see this order? If you are serving along side a male counterpart, does the military have the right to hold you to this order? Does the order apply to all branches of the service or just civilians and soldiers reporting to Major Gen. Cucolo?