Solider ordered not to marry Iraqi woman?

Tonight’s edition of 60 Minutes II had a story about an American army sergeant who fell in love with a female Iraqi doctor while in Baghdad. His CO ordered him not to marry her. He did anyway, in secret. On finding out about it, the CO transferred him, gave him a reprimand, an honorable discharge, and sent him home. The sergeant didn’t see his wife from the conclusion of the ceremony until six months later, when the 60 Minutes II crew helped her get out of Iraq for a reunion with him in Jordan. (They’re now living happily ever after in Florida.)

I know that soliders give up many of their rights when they sign up, but this seems a rather extreme intrusion into the personal realm.

So my questions are:

  1. Was the CO within his rights to order the soldier not to marry?
  2. Can any soldier be prevented from marrying anyone for any reason, or do special circumstances (foreign comabt duty, foreign prospective spouse, etc.) have to obtain?
  3. What sort of special circumstances?
  4. How clearly are the CO’s perogatives in this area spelled out?

(This was a repeat of a report that was first broadcast some time ago, so if this has been covered already, I apologize. I tried searching on the obvious terms, and didn’t find anything.)


I don’t know the answers to your questions, but here’s another example:
American reservist marries Baghdad woman he met in Iraq

I don’t know about this case. However in a formally declared war a woman from the country on which war was declared is an enemy alien and subject to certain restrictions until peace is formally established. I suppose technically the commander would be within his rights to forbid marriage in that case. Just the same I’m reasonably sure there were German and Japanese brides before a formal peace was established in WWII.

I remember reading a few months ago that this was a general policy for all U.S. military in Iraq. I’m not sure what the precedents might be. Sorry I don’t have a link…

Pardon me if I’m wrong and, I will stand corrected if I am but didn’t GWB say several times that the United States wasn’t at war with the “citizens” of Iraq but rather the United States was at war specifically with the regime of Saddam Hussein? Wouldn’t that free the woman of any “enemy” status?

Just wondering is all.

It’s possible you’re right. The regime of Saddam is gone and all that is left in Iraq are its citizens and its infrastructure. So what is all the shooting about?

Just wondering too.

I don’t think it has to do with Iraqis being considered enemy combatants; I think it’s intended to avoid foreign nationals from trying to get the advantages of American citizenship through faked marriages to lonely soldiers.

This certainly isn’t unique to Iraq. There’s any number of MASH episodes in which an American soldier wants to marry a Korean woman, and there’s some heavy Army investigation before allowing it to happen. I wouldn’t mistake MASH for gospel truth, but I’ve found them to be generally pretty accurate.

Good question however I wasn’t the one who stated who the war was with I was only going by what I had heard somone else saying. So, no I don’t know either but it is a good question. :wink:

"It is the policy of the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force that all active duty personnel have basically the same right to enter into marriage as any other citizens of the United States in the same locality. Armed Forces personnel stationed in or visiting foriegn countries are required to obtain written authorization from the senior oversea area commander of their particular branch of service prior to marrying. … The policy of the departments is that approval will be given in all instances where military personnel have complied with regulations implementing this policy, provided that — "

[summaries in brackets]

1 - [the alien can enter the US]

2 - [the member is financially stable]


My understanding is that the Marines, in particular, are very strict about junior enlisted folks getting married and having a family, IRCC, mostly because of financial considerations.

I do not know to what extent the above-listed policy relates to the particular case of that soldier on 60 Minutes.


:rolleyes: No, it’s not a good question, it’s a smart-ass rhetorical question. Obviously, the shooting is about making sure a democratic, America-friendly government rather than another Saddam or another Khomeini is running Iraq. The official diplomatic way of saying this is that the U. S. military (and its coalition partners) were invited/requested by the Iraqi Interim Government to assist them in stabilizing the country.

Ok, did you note the context in which I answered and that that was the question posed to me by David Simmons in post #6. You quote my answer minus the smiley which was meant to portray my intention that to answer that question would probably cross the politics in GQ line, don’t want to go there.

Now, wasn’t the marriage prior to the interim government being installed? If so then it must have been during the invasion period so my question would be correct because GWB had stated who then enemy was and wasn’t not me. Now if I am wrong about the time line or I what I have attributed to GWB having said them I apologise but I do believe those were his words or something to that affect.

However I think Ravenman has clearified the situation pretty well. Which I think negates the argument of whether or not the marriage was permissable anyway.

According to Ravenman, then, the CO wouldn’t have had the right, unless it was on the technicality that the soldier didn’t ask in advance. 60 Minutes wasn’t clear if he asked.

Can anyone add anything to this?

Someone said.
“It’s possible you’re right. The regime of Saddam is gone and all that is left in Iraq are its citizens and its infrastructure. So what is all the shooting about?”

Gawn Fishin, I admire the way you tried to steer the topic back on course. However, I (and CM Kelly too obviously) have found that if some one pops their little breen head out from under the bridge and drops a politicly loaded question grenade, its best to just not pick it up.