Anyone who has served in the US military is aware of how rules and regulations make sense, but there are times when these regulations should be discarded. Spc. Alexis Hutchinson has a ten month old child and was ordered to ship out to Iraq to do her duty, but the 21 year-old mother felt she could not simply pack up and leave without anyone to care for the baby. Ms. Hutchinson is one of thousands of mothers who have been sent to combat even if it meant leaving a young child in the hands of someone who was not a member of the family. Her attorney, Rai Sue Sussman shook her head in disbelief at the Army decision to arrest the mother on charges of disobeying orders. As Ms. Sussman noted, the issue “is a perfect case, exactly why the Army has an administrative discharge due to parenthood.” The situation arose when Ms. Hutchinson’s mother backed out of a promise to care for the grandchild, but once she heard of the arrest, grandma headed for the child.
The larger issue is why the same men and women must over and over again be sent into combat and forced to abandon families. Let’s face facts. The American government refuses to tell the American people that if we are going to fight wars, there must be a shared commitment by the entire population. We cannot ask 1.5 million brave men and women to defend a nation of 300,000,000. If we fight in Afghanistan or Iraq, then a draft system must be introduced to ensure there is shared equity in death and life.