Saturday, November 14, 2009

US military brass forces a child into foster care and screams at a civilian woman that she's a "bitch"

The laughs and smiles outweighed the tears during services Saturday for Army Chief Warrant Officer Earl “Scotty” Scott III, an Army aviator killed when his helicopter crashed in Iraq on Nov. 8.
And that’s just how Scott, 24, would have liked it, based on the memories shared by Scott’s family and friends during the hour-long “Celebration of Life” service held in the All Saints’ Chapel at Jacksonville Naval Air Station.
One after another, they described to the roughly 300 in attendance a boy with a sense of humor and adventure who grew into a man known for his practical jokes and passion for flying.

The above is from Jeff Brumley's "Young Army aviator who loved adventure laid to rest
A fatal copter crash took Mandarin High grad's life in Iraq
" (Florida Times-Union). Earl Scott III is among 4362 US service members to die in Iraq since the 2003 start of the war and the 189th US service member from Florida to die in the Iraq War.

Turning to California which has seen 464 service members die in the Iraq War, Dhar Jamail (IPS via MidEast Dispatches) reports on the military's attempt to destroy a home and place a child in foster care:

VENTURA, California - U.S. Army Specialist Alexis Hutchinson, a single mother, is being threatened with a military court-martial if she does not agree to deploy to Afghanistan, despite having been told she would be granted extra time to find someone to care for her 11-month-old son while she is overseas.
Hutchinson, of Oakland, California, is currently being confined at Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, Georgia, after being arrested. Her son was placed into a county foster care system.
Hutchinson has been threatened with a court martial if she does not agree to deploy to Afghanistan on Sunday, Nov. 15. She has been attempting to find someone to take care of her child, Kamani, while she is deployed overseas, but to no avail.
According to the family care plan of the U.S. Army, Hutchinson was allowed to fly to California and leave her son with her mother, Angelique Hughes of Oakland.
However, after a week of caring for the child, Hughes realised she was unable to care for Kamani along with her other duties of caring for a daughter with special needs, her ailing mother, and an ailing sister.
In late October, Angelique Hughes told Hutchinson and her commander that she would be unable to care for Kamani after all. The Army then gave Hutchinson an extension of time to allow her to find someone else to care for Kamani. Meanwhile, Hughes brought Kamani back to Georgia to be with his mother.
However, only a few days before Hutchinson’s original deployment date, she was told by the Army she would not get the time extension after all, and would have to deploy, despite not having found anyone to care for her child.
Faced with this choice, Hutchinson chose not to show up for her plane to Afghanistan. The military arrested her and placed her child in the county foster care system.

On the above, Courage to Resist has issued the following alert:

Army sends infant to protective services, mom to Afghanistan this weekend
Army has mom, Alexis Hutchinson, arrested and 11-month old son put into county foster care system. Alexis has now been ordered to deploy to Afghanistan on Sunday, November 15, where she will be court martialed.
Action Alert: Contact Congresswoman Barbara Lee to urge her to "Request that the Army not deploy Alexis Hutchinson to Afghanistan so that she can care for her son." From the 9th District (Oakland-Berkeley, CA) phone: 510-763-0370 (fax: 510-763-6538). Nationwide: 202- 225-2661 (fax: 202-225-9817).
Donate to Alexis' legal and family support fund (
Alexis' attorney now available for media interviews.
By friends of Alexis and Courage to Resist. November 12, 2009
Specialist Alexis Hutchinson of Oakland, CA is the single mother of an 11-month old boy, Kamani. Currently she is confined to Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, Georgia, where she has been posted since February 2008, and threatened with a court martial if she does not agree to be deployed to Afghanistan, even though she has not found anyone to take care of her child while she is away.
In anticipation of going overseas Specialist Hutchinson flew to California and left her son with her mother Angelique Hughes of Oakland, as per her Army family care plan. However, after a week of caring for the child Specialist Hutchinson’s mother realized that she was unable to take care of Kamani on top of her other duties to her special-needs daughter, her ailing mother, and her ailing sister. In late October Angelique Hughes informed Hutchinson and her commander, Captain Gassant, that she was not able to care for her daughter's baby after all. The Army gave Specialist Hutchinson an extension of time to find someone else to care for her son, and in the meantime her mother brought Kamani back to Georgia. However just a few days before Specialist Hutchinson was scheduled to deploy she was told that she would not get the extended time after all and would have to deploy, even though there was no one to care for her child.
Faced with that choice Specialist Hutchinson did not show up for her plane. The military had her arrested and they put her child in the county foster care system. Currently, Specialist Hutchinson is scheduled to fly to Afghanistan for a special court martial on Sunday and is facing up to one year in jail. Her mother flew to Georgia and retrieved the baby but is overwhelmed, and does not feel able to provide long-term care for Kamani.
Specialist Hutchinson would like to have more time to find someone to care for her infant. However, she does not have a lot of family or friends who could do so. She says: “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.”
Also in the news:
Army Sends Infant to Protective Services, Mom to Afghanistanby Dahr Jamail, Inter Press Service. November 13, 2009
Online version with possible updates
(photo above: Alexis Hutchinson and son Kamani / Facebook)

You need to ask yourself where the hell Congress is? How the hell do things like the above happen when the US military is supposed to be under civilian control? Where does anyone in the military get off placing and forcing a child in foster care? Where the hell are the Armed Services Committees in the House and Senate and why the hell aren't they doing their damn job?

They're not doing their job and if that fact escapes you, all you have to do is refer to another report by Dahr from this week. In this one, he's reporting on Tim Rich who self-checked out of the military for reasons which included the military's refusal to let him marry the woman he wanted to (they forced him to take out a loan and buy a plane ticket to send her away) and, after the two got married in spite of that, the abuse never ended. Where the hell does the military get off thinking that anyone's marriage is their damn business? Where do they get off, commanders, calling a woman a bitch?

They certainly shouldn't call a woman serving a bitch but how the hell dare they snarl that a civilian woman?

From Dahr's article:

At the time he was in a “holdover” unit, comprised mostly of AWOL soldiers who had turned themselves in or had been arrested. Others in his unit had untreated mental health problems like him or were suffering from severe PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) from deployments in Iraq and or Afghanistan.
According to Rich, every soldier in his platoon was subjected to abusive treatment of some kind or the other. “It even got to the point when our 1st Sergeant Cisneros told us that if it were up to him we all would all be taken out back and shot, and that we needed to pray to our gods because we were going to pay (for our actions).”
Tim’s wife Megan had to bear his never-ending ordeal in equal measure. She witnessed the military’s callousness up close. She informed Truthout, “Since February of this year, Tim’s unit had been telling him he would be out in two weeks. After two weeks when he asked, they would repeat the same thing. At times he would get excited and start packing his belongings and I would try to figure out how to get him home to Ohio. He would call me crying in relief because he thought we were going to be together again real soon. The military forced me to lie to him too. When he realized they did not mean to release him he grew very destructive during his black out spells. Eventually he simply gave up on coming home.”
Megan first realized there was a problem with the way the military was treating her husband when she noticed him doing and saying things that were out of character for him, like apologizing for not being a good husband and father and being openly suicidal. He had also begun to self-medicate with alcohol, an increasing trend among soldiers not receiving adequate mental-health treatment from the military.
She revealed to Truthout, “He had quit for the girls and me but it seems like he could not handle the stress and needed an escape. This caused a huge problem between us and we began to argue about it. He became severely depressed, pulled away from me, and started to do things he normally doesn’t do, such as giving away his money and belongings, and telling the recipients that he wouldn’t need those things in hell.”
She sensed that her husband would be in trouble if he were to stand up for himself, so she began to advocate on his behalf. Her attempts to do so met with fresh abuse from his commanders. The chain of command banned her from the company barracks and had her escorted off post. The couple was commandeered into Sergeant Fulgence’s office where they were chastised. The sergeant referred to Megan as “a bad mother” and “a bitch.” When Megan attempted to leave the office in protest, the sergeant ordered her to stay and listen to what he had to say.

The command is clearly out of control and the Congress is obviously derelict in their own duty or these kind of things would not be taking place. These are abuses, yes, these are also more than that. And those involved in forcing a child into foster care and those involved in injecting themselves into a married couple's relationship, judging a civilian parent and calling a woman a bitch need to brought up on charges.

If you don't get, it falls under conduct unbecoming an officer. In a country where the Congress actually functioned, there would be so much pressure brought to bear that within one week everyone in the brass responsible would be busted down to private because their own actions have demonstated they are not fit to be officers.

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dahr jamail