Monday, November 16, 2009

Army Threatens Court-Martial For Mother Who Wouldn't Leave Her Child

Dahr Jamail has a story over at Truthout concerning the Army's arrest of U.S. Army Specialist Alexis Hutchinson, a single mother about to deploy to Afghanistan, who couldn't find child care for her 11-month-old son after her mother turned out to be unavailable for the job.

According to Ms. Hutchinson's civilian attorney, Rai Sue Sussman, this case is "completely over the top."

The U.S., in its hunger to feed its war machine in Afghanistan, refused to give Hutchinson further delays in order to find appropriate childcare for her son.
Sussman says Hutchinson told her, "It is outrageous that they would deploy a single mother without a complete and current family care plan. I would like to find someone I trust who can take care of my son, but I cannot force my family to do this. They are dealing with their own health issues."

Sussman told IPS that the Army's JAG attorney, Captain Ed Whitford, "told me they thought her chain of command thought she was trying to get out of her deployment by using her child as an excuse." '
The U.S. could care less about its men and women in uniform. Famously, they sent soldiers to fight their illegal war in Iraq without proper body armor or equipment. It was only a few years ago that a Washington Post report exposed the Army's flagship hospital, Walter Reed Medical Center, as a chaotic mess, poorly serving its overcrowded population of injured and sick veterans.

(It's worth noting that Ft. Hood alleged shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, was a psychiatrist working with PTSD patients at Walter Reed from 2003 to early 2009. One can only imagine what a madhouse he worked in, and how it may have contributed to his presumed mental instability. -- Mark Benjamin also has a story up over at Salon, reporting on how a Navy psychiatrist was fired by his military contractor, after reporting conditions were so bad among returning Marines at Camp Lejeune, that stressed-out returning soldiers were ready to "blow" in serious violent outbreaks. The psychiatrist told military inspectors. "many patients' lives are imminently at risk." Instead of listening, they gave the doctor the boot.)

Spc. Hutchinson is still confined to base in Savannah, Georgia. She faces a possible military court martial. Her son, according to a recent AP update, is with his grandmother in California. Originally, after his mother's arrest, the child had been placed in a county foster care system. The grandmother apparently has her hands full with caring for another "special needs" child, and does not know how long she can keep the boy.

According to Hutchinson's attorney, Alexis will not be court-martialed... just yet:
"To me it sounds completely bogus," Sussman told IPS, "I think what they are actually going to do is have her spend her year deployment in Afghanistan, then court martial her back here upon her return. This would do irreparable harm to her child. I think they are doing this to punish her, because they think she is lying."

Sussman explained that she believes the best possible outcome is for the Army to either give Hutchinson the extension they had said she would receive so that she can find someone to care for her infant, or barring this, to simply discharge her so she can take care of her child.

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