U.S. troops who are currently deployed to Iraq have been given an order from their general in command that made getting pregnant or impregnating a fellow soldier an offense punishable by court martial.
This order is, according to a report, part of a larger order that aims to prevent the loss of soldiers from active duty at a time when “troop strength is stretched thin”. The directive came from General Anthony Cucolo and restricted the behavior of more than twenty thousand soldiers under his command.
General Cucolo explained the orders in a statement, which was sent to the troops. Gen. Cucolo writes the following in the statement: “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.”
If the pregnancy of a female soldier, however, was proven to be caused by a sexual assault, then the soldier will not be subjected to punishment.
The rule, which was enacted last November 4, applies to military and civilians who are under the command of General Cucolo in Nothern Iraq. This covers the areas of Balad, Kirkuk, Tikrit, Mosul and Samarra.
There are more than 1,600 women in the 22,000-strong troops under the command of General Cucolo, and he has been quoted as saying that female soldiers are “invaluable”; it is for this reason that the general would like to ensure that they are able to finish their deployments.
Other than the pregnancy restriction, other prohibitions included in the directive relate to gambling, the use of drugs, and actions deemed offensive by Iraqis, which include entering a mosque or a religious site.