Iraq Snapshot – March 10, 2010


Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces deaths, counting ballots continues in Iraq, Iraqi widows face huge problems, the US Congress hears about issues facing the children of parents deployed in foreign countries, and more.

Starting with yesterday evening’s US House Armed Services subcommittee hearing. The Military Personnel Subcommittee held a hearing chaired by US House Rep Susan Davis on the issue of military children. At the start of the hearing, Chair Davis explained, “Given the limited legislative calendar available to the committee, today we are embarking on a different hearing structure. This hearing will focus on a specific topic: the effects of deployment on military children and will only last approximately one hour, prior to our votes at six-thirty [p.m.].”

It is an important topic. Hopefully, the topic will be addressed again in the future and, if so, we can see some real independence in the witnesses. We need to see clinical social workers, we need to see child psychiatrists and pscyhologists and family practioners and more testifying. If the children are our focus. If it’s not just, “This is how we make the military brass happy.” Which is a lot of what we heard: How to make the military brass happy.

I want to stress before we go further that if you are the mother or father raising the child (or children) while you’re spouse is away (or the grandparent or legal guardian raising the child), you know best what to do. You are with the child. If there’s a problem, you know that and you know you need to address it and seek out help available. But some of the stuff that follows, I want to be very clear, you do not need to be guilted into anything. Your primary concern is the child.

Two witnesses appeared before the subcommittee: Anita Chandra (RAND Corporation) and Leonard Wong (US Army War College). Ranking Member Joe Wilson’s opening remarks included, “Finally, I would like to know how else we could help these incredible children who have to be strong beyond their years while their parent is away.” Wong presented that his study found children ages eleven through teens spoke of less stress when a parent deployed if the parent had already been on at least two other deployments.

Chair Susan Davis: Let me just start with you, Dr. Wong, because I found that interesting in terms of the adolescents and one of things I wondered about is you are able to separate those young people who were living in a more confined military base versus those who were living in the public domain essentially — attending public school versus a military, on-base school? What differences did you see?…

[continues at]