Defining Child's Role in an Equal World

I note that Defense Secretary Richard Cheney received a draft deferment during the Vietnam war "because his wife and child needed him."

Today, had he and his wife been among the many American couples who joined the reserves as an alternative to the gloomy prospects offered them by our recessed economy, they might have had children only to find themselves both shipped off to a combat zone--leaving their children at risk of being orphaned and abandoned to the mercies of the social services of a nation where ordinary day care is hard to find and where the inner-city infant mortality rate rivals that of some Third World countries.

Cheney and the Defense Department's Committee on Women oppose the Boxer Military Orphans Prevention Bill, which would keep single parents and at least one-half of a military couple with children out of combat zones, because they say it would discriminate against women in the military. Sending both a child's parents, or a child's only parent, into combat to further U. S. foreign policy aims is discrimination of the worst sort--discrimination against our children.

GEORGIANA F. COUGHLAN

Gardena

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