Mona Charen

Feminists, above all, should recognize that when a woman takes an oath as a soldier, she has freely undertaken extraordinary responsibilities. If she becomes undeployable and has to be sent home, (the unavoidable consequence of becoming pregnant), someone else must serve in her place. The Army loses a valuable investment, and the unit is left vulnerable. As Cucolo explained, "I need every soldier I've got, especially since we are facing a drawdown of forces during our mission. Anyone who leaves this fight earlier than the expected 12-month deployment creates a burden on their teammates. Anyone who leaves this fight early because they made a personal choice that changed their medical status -- or contributes to doing that to another -- is not in keeping with a key element of our ethos." That ethos -- and forgetful senators can look it up -- includes the following creed: "I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values. I will always place the mission first."

The general's order was evenhanded. The same punishment applied to men who impregnated someone (though, clearly, it is easier for a man to escape detection if the woman conceals his identity) as to women who became pregnant. It would not apply to pregnancies that were the result of rape.

Though knee-jerk senators and professional feminists would probably faint at the suggestion, there are actually women soldiers who purposely get pregnant to escape service (with an accompanying depressing effect on unit morale). And there are others who are a little careless. Their commanding officer was reminding them (and their boyfriends) to behave as responsible adults and loyal soldiers.

After taking fire, Cucolo clarified that he couldn't imagine putting a woman in prison for getting pregnant. But let's hope the headlines calling this a climb down are overblown. His order was sensible and in a saner world would have been utterly uncontroversial.


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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