Single mother and U.S. Army Spc. Alexis Hutchinson skipped out on her assigned deployment to Afghanistan rather than risk having her 10-month-old son go into foster care. Hutchinson had planned for her mother to care for the child, but that arrangement fell apart shortly before her departure date. Hutchinson, 21, was arrested 10 days later and is facing possible criminal charges. Should single parents be serving in the military? (Watch a local news report on Alexis Hutchinson’s divided loyalties)

Hutchinson should have made arrangements: Hutchinson is hardly alone in her predicament, says Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson, in USA Today. "Thousands or soldiers" have similar circumstances: "They’re single parents. They do the right thing. They prepare for their deployment. They fulfill their sworn duty." Besides, there was “alleged misconduct” that may have raised Hutchinson’s action to a detention-worthy level.
"Lawyer: Soldier mom not using baby to shirk duty"

The Army shouldn't take people who can't serve: Hutchinson’s actions seem "stupid rather than venal," says James Joyner at Outside the Beltway. But regardless of her case’s outcome, it raises the question of why the Army allows single parents and other "permanently non-deployable" people to "draw paychecks and fill unit slots." That’s a "crazy" policy, assuming the military’s purpose isn’t "job creation or social welfare."
"Soldier mom refuses deployment"

This is about social, not Army, rules: Why is no one mentioning the child's father?, says Greg Skilling at Examiner. "Has America grown so accustomed to absent, irresponsible fathers that we just assume the guy cannot or will not step up and care for his child?" Ultimately, Hutchinson's story is "more about the need for dual parenting and personal responsibility than Army policy."
"Is the coverage of Army SPC Alexis Hutchinson fair and balanced?"

The overstretched military is ignoring family needs: This is certainly about more than Hutchinson’s family situation, says Jim White at Firedoglake. With America fighting two "unsustainable" wars, the need for troops has been so acute that "sometimes unfit" personnel "are deployed without regard to family situation." We need more troops or fewer wars.
"The wars are unsustainable"