We ran a story on Dec. 20th, when General Cucolo first banned pregnancies under his command. Well, he took it a step further.
The crazy that comes out of the military sometimes is breathtaking. I wonder if this General is connected to the C-Street gang known as The Family?
VELSHI: Twenty-two U.S. soldiers serving in northern Iraq have just gotten two new orders from their general. Rule one, don't get pregnant. Rule two, don't get another soldier pregnant. Break those rules and you will get court-martialed. The general, Anthony Cucolo, e-mailed CNN explaining his decision, telling us -- quote -- "I need every soldier I have got, especially since we are facing a drawdown of forces during our mission."
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: In my view, this is patently unconstitutional, Ali. There's a long line of U.S. Supreme Court cases that says that the right to be a parent is a fundamental constitutional right. That means it's a right of the highest order and worthy of the highest protection.
Now, the military does get great deference from the courts, which means, if they want to redeploy a pregnant soldier, as they often do, they can do that in the way that a private employer could not do. But they cannot threaten with court-martial or jail a pregnant woman or a man who impregnates a woman. In my view, this will not pass any kind of constitutional muster.
THOMAS KENNIFF, FORMER ARMY JAG OFFICE ATTORNEY: Well, first of all, I think he may be going into hiding soon, because I think this is a situation where you have a commanding general who is in charge of his own fiefdom in northern Iraq and probably thought that he could do this with the consent of his own JAG, who may -- we use a term in the military when JAGs are referred to as going native, meaning that they're basically acting as yes men for the commend.
I agree with Lisa fully that there are serious constitutional problems with this and military laws and military orders are not exempt from constitutional scrutiny. The Supreme Court weighs in on military case laws and military decisions all the time.
So, you know, I think when this gets more exposure, as it is now through the media, there's going to be some major fallout here, because there's no question in my mind this is a major violation of the right to privacy.
UPDATE: John Amato:
Four Democratic female Senators have demanded that this horrific policy by General Cucolo be rescinded immediately. This is insane stuff.
Four Democratic senators have written a letter to an Army general in Iraq asking him to rescind an order that threatened to court martial female soldiers who become pregnant while deployed in the war zone.
The policy by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo III was instituted on Nov. 4, but it has triggered outrage among women's groups since it became publicly known in recent days.
"We can think of no greater deterrent to women contemplating a military career than the image of a pregnant woman being severely punished simply for conceiving a child," the senators wrote to Cucolo today. "This defies comprehension. As such, we urge you to immediately recind this policy."
The letter was signed by Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
UPDATE II: Now the general is saying that no soldier will actually be court martialed.
The commander who instituted a policy cracking down on pregnancy among soldiers defended it Tuesday as necessary to maintain troop strength, but said no soldier would ever be court-martialed for violating the directive. The policy -- which would punish soldiers who get pregnant or impregnate another soldier -- was included in Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo's orders to troops regarding conduct while deployed under his command in northern Iraq.
Cucolo said that as a former public affairs officer, he realized when he created the rule that it would be controversial for those outside the military.
"When I wrote this, I knew there would be public interest, and I also knew there would be a period of time when many folks would opine and give their own personal thoughts and blog about it. And I am fine with that. That's America," he said. "But I was also willing to deal with this attention because this is important. I am responsible and accountable for the fighting ability of my task force. I've got to take every measure to preserve my combat power, and that's the reason."
Yes General, we will blog about it and you got your fifteen minutes of shame, but in the end it's just another attack on the ladies when all is said and done no matter how you care to view this issue. I didn't realize that serving in battle was a lot like "Animal House."
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