...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
      ( 12:13 PM )
No Choices

Do you think you've ever been between a rock and a hard place? You won't think it's anywhere near as bad as what this Washington mother is going through. Dodi Lewis, a committed Army Reserve soldier, is being asked to choose between her children and a court martial.

Dodi Lewis, 24, serves in the Army Reserve and should be in Iraq right now working as an MP at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Her mother was taking care of Dodi's two children but then her mother became ill and her doctor said she could no longer take care of the children.

Dodi's husband is also serving in Iraq so she says she needs to take care of the children, rather than return.

"I kind of feel like I'm letting some people down. I kind of feel like a failure, like I dropped the ball, but at the same time I have to think about my kids," said Dodi.

What kind of world have we created where a 24 year old mother thinks she's letting people down if she tries to take care of her own children? What kind of situation has our government created when the Army won't grant her that leave of absence? Not only is her mother sick in the hospital, but her father is currently serving in Iraq, and her husband is now being transferred from duty in South Korea to Iraq. So far she has been refused the leave she needs to care for her children. If she goes AWOL in order to not lose them, she will lose them anyway because she will be court martialed for desertion.

I feel like screaming when I hear stories like this. I just can't understand it. I hope that her Congresspeople and Senators will step up to the plate and intervene for her with the Pentagon. There has to be a line we can draw where we say enough is enough - she has already served her country faithfully. There is no possible explanation for denying her the emergency leave she has requested - for the Army to put her in the position of either leaving her children with people they don't know and not knowing how they will be cared for, and being imprisoned (and then losing them anyway) is unconscionable. It's disgusting, actually. But then, a government that sanctions torture is probably not going to bat an eye about ripping a soldier away from her children with no one to care for them.

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