STOP-LOSS – BACKDOOR DRAFT IN FULL SWING

The peacetime draft – signed into law in 1940 by President Franklin Roosevelt – lasted 33 years until it was abolished in 1973 by the government after almost a decade of unrest and protest during the Vietnam War era. But, the government has one of those “fine-print” clauses in the enlistment contract for military service that serves as a tactic which has come to be known as the “back door” draft.

The stop-loss provision is the involuntary extension of a service member’s active duty service under the enlistment contract in order to retain them beyond their initial end of term of service (ETS) date. Stop-loss was used immediately before and during the first Persian Gulf War. Since then, it has been used during American military deployments to Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo and during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the subsequent War on Terror.

Stop-loss was created by the United States Congress after the Vietnam War. Its use is founded on two different provisions. The first is contained in Title 10, United States Code, Section 12305(a) and states in part:

“the President may suspend any provision of law relating to promotion, retirement, or separation applicable to any member of the armed forces who the President determines is essential to the national security of the United States”

The second provision is included in the actual enlistment contract signed by those entering service. Paragraph 9(c) of DD Form 4/1 (The Armed Forces Enlistment Contract) states:

“In the event of war, my enlistment in the Armed Forces continues until six (6) months after the war ends, unless the enlistment is ended sooner by the President of the United States.”

The Armed Forces Enlistment Contract uses the word “war”, but that word has literally lost its meaning through Congressional shirking of its constitutional role to declare war and the merging of all aspects of terrorism under the blanket cover of the “War on Terror.”

Every person who enlists in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces signs an initial contract with an eight-year service obligation. The enlistment contract for a person going on active duty generally stipulates an initial period of active duty from 2 to 4 years, followed by service in a reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States for the remainder of the eight year obligation. Service members whose ETS, retirement, or end of service obligation date falls during a deployment are generally involuntarily extended until the end of their unit’s deployment.

In 2002, the Army announced new orders that would forbid thousands of soldiers from leaving the service after they returned from Iraq, Afghanistan and other fronts in the war against terrorism. Since then, the stop-loss policy used by the Army to keep US soldiers and reservists in the military beyond the date when their service was supposed to end, has been used on more than 50,000 members of the armed forces since the war in Iraq began.

The policy is nothing more than a draft. The military is overextended fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Bush Administration was totally unprepared for the ensuing conflict once it ended its “shock and awe” tactics.

Plans were not made for a lengthy occupation nor were they made for the subsequent insurgency that divided the three ethnic factions in Iraq and placed our military smack in the middle. Military personnel have been recycled and recycled – some as many as four or five times.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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When I attend the Peace Rally on the first Saturday each month, I see a few young people. But most of us are of an age who remember the Vietnam War and the draft with all its inequities. Most of us are in our 50s and 60s and recall the thousands of young people who marched in the streets and protested the Vietnam War. They protested because, among other concerns, they had a vested interest – they could be drafted.

Now that the draft has been abolished, the same interest of the young does not exist. But the government didn’t let go completely of its control over potential soldiers. All males of a certain age are required to register. And just why do you think registration is still maintained even though we have an all-volunteer military?

At some point, the government will be out of bodies to send to foreign lands. Volunteer enrollment will slow, and stop-loss will no longer work on a physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted and worn out body of soldiers. New bodies will be needed, and those bodies will be readily available through the selective service registration process.

All that will be needed is for Congress to re-instate the real draft, and, unless we disentangle ourselves from the Middle East, it is coming.

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About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
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16 Responses to STOP-LOSS – BACKDOOR DRAFT IN FULL SWING

  1. mark says:

    Registration is maintained so that in the event that the security and defense requirements of the nation dictate the reistitution of the draft, it may be done quickly.

    The dangers facing our country have not disappeared, and any number of events might cause a relatively sudden need for a draft. Your slow drip theory, however, seems to be undercut by the facts. Iraq is slowly winding down (successfully) and while both candidates seem likely to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan, it will not be significant compared with the drawdown in Iraq. If you are waiting for a draft, motivated by current security threats and needs, to fill the courthouse green with angry young protestors, you will be waiting for a long time. The volunteer army has been a huge success and will not be abandoned soon.

  2. xbradtc says:

    Charlotte, Stop-Loss does exist, and it is a real burden upon those who fall under it. Generally it is used to hold on to someone with a critical technical skill in a specialty that doesn’t have a lot of people, like say a trauma nurse. How many people have enlisted since 9/11? Off the top of my head, I’d guess over a million. That gives about a 2% chance of being stop-lossed, and usually, that is for a fairly short length of time, say a year. If stop-loss were such a common occurrence, you wouldn’t see any veterans returning, would you?

    Given that all the branches of the the services are able to meet or exceed their recruiting goals, the likelihood of a draft is non-existent.

    First, it is politically impossible for Congress to pass it. That would be about the only way to ensure the youth actually gets out and votes. There’s not a Congressman out there who wants to lose his seat that way. Rangel just keeps proposing it to use as a scare tactic.

    Second, the services don’t want a draft. They would be far more willing to accept a smaller force than to switch to a draft. Given that any force in the forseeable future will not be too much larger than the current one, the problem with a draft would be that you didn’t need all that many people out of the available cohort of young males in the country. How would the draft pick who went? Any system would almost certainly be open to corruption (remember, the draft was run mostly by local civilian boards) or would be devised to ensure that the cream of societies crop were exempted. The Army does not want, nor do they accept, societies dregs. No, not everyone in the service is a saint, but you’d be surprised at how well it compares to society as a whole.

    Losing a thousand young men and women a year is terrible, but for the most part, society feels it is an acceptable burden if the wars are won. One of the reasons sentiment was running so strongly against the war in 2006 was the impression that we were taking losses for no perceivable gain. Now that the situation in Iraq is improving, the willingness to bear that burden is rising. Not popular, no, but a grim willingness nonetheless.

  3. Xbradtx:

    According to statistics, from 2002 through April 2008, 58,300 soldiers were affected by stop loss, or about 1% of active duty, Reserve, and National Guard troops. Providing the percentage creates a false impression as to the lives affected by stop loss. The figure is about the same number of military that were killed in Vietnam.

    I doubt those 58,300 soldiers and their families see it quite as cheerfully as portrayed by the the low figure of 1%.

    Reliance on bonuses is a factor to entice enlistments, thus the fact that recruitment is up or at least stable can be due in part to bonuses. With the economy slowing and advertisements that make the military look like an ideal job, many young males and females see the opportunity to get ahead. Advertisements of educational benefits, VA home loans, etc., sound great – if you live to use them.

    As to the services not wanting a draft, that may be true. However, if, by some chance, we end up involved in Iran, I don’t believe we will have a choice. Iran has a much greater population than Iraq, so we would be stretched really thin to involve ourselves in a third Middle Eastern country. Of course, much the talk about strikes against Iran may be posturing.

    I believe the “willingness to bear the burden” is an inaccurate statement. When the Democrats were elected to office in 2006, they came in assuring the American public that they would end the war and bring the troops home. Part of the reason the Democrats were so successful was their stance on the war and the promise of bringing home the troops.

    After almost two years of inaction and inability to produce on their promises, the public has simply given up. Rather than an acceptance of the war and willingness to bear the burden, hopelessness exists. The realization has hit home that neither party is capable of ending the war, at least at this point. The public has given up and is apathetic about the war.

    What we see is a stalemate. The Republicans did not intend to end the war, and the Democrats are unable to end the war.

    Perhaps the real reason the draft is not being brought back has nothing to do with mismanagement or political maneuvering. Perhaps it is because if the draft is brought back, the youth will once again generate the political action that existed during the Vietnam era. If that occurred much more pressure would be placed on Congress and the President to end the war, when, in reality, we are negotiating to keep bases in Iraq and an ongoing force.

    Ending the war now would thwart Bush’s plan to establish our ongoing presence through bases for U.S. forces. We also built the world’s largest embassy in Baghdad – another indication that there is no intent to vacate.

  4. Mark:

    I didn’t say the draft would be needed right now. I stated that “unless we disentangle ourselves from the Middle East.” I am saying that it may become a necessity if for some insane reason we decide to get involved in Iran. We do not have the military force to carry on battles on three fronts.

    Iran would not be the pushover that Iraq was. I believe that, as unpopular as Iran’s president is, any move against Iran would trigger a backlash from other Middle Eastern countries.

  5. xbradtc says:

    You compare the number of people stop-lossed to the number of people killed in Vietnam. That’s pretty apples-to-oranges. Two numbers in the same ballpark. So what? If we had 58k stop-loss soldiers killed, that would be pretty relevant. I admit that the burden on those soldiers who are stop-lossed is great. But it is right there in the contract. And reliance on bonuses has always been a large factor in enlistments. I spent 4 years as a recruiter and I probably had about a third of my enlistees take the bonus (in lieu of other incentives). Do you suppose over the course of the last 5 years that historically low unemployment figures might have had something to do with needing to provide greater incentives to get well qualified people to enlist?

    When the Democrats took control of the House, why did they not cease funding the war? Because they realized (well before the election) that it would be a political and electoral disaster for them. They had no intention of ever stopping the war, just weakening the opposition politically. The fact of the matter is, while Americans are unhappy with the war in Iraq (or rather, were in 2006), they weren’t ready to throw in the towel.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about Iran, don’t believe everything you read about Bush being a warmonger just itching to start with them. Having said that, my personal opinion is that it would actually be somewhat easier to fight there than in Iraq. This is not the forum for a discussion of the operational art of war and the logistical and social factors that inform my opinion. I will say this,though- nobody would want to start a ground war in Iran while the fight in Afghanistan is still going on. Expect to see more troops headed there, rather than a new war in Iran (the possibility of an air and naval campaign against Iran cannot, however, be discounted).

    Any action against Iran would likely involve a backlash from Iran’s people, but from other ME states? Not so much. Remember, they are the neighbors that have to put up with Iran being obnoxious all the time. There is no great love lost between the Arabs and the Persians.

    You and I will disagree upon just about everything politically, but I hope this old former soldier can give you some insight into another point of view.

  6. mark says:

    Well, if the point of your post was simply to say that IF the needs of our national defense exceed the ability of a volunteer military THEN we will have to consider a draft, I suppose we are in complete agreement. I interpreted your post as suggesting that we are at or near that point now. I disagree and only a handful of the most fringe politicians have even raised the possibility of a draft. Frankly, I think your view is that you want either a) complete, immediate withdrawal or whatever the current demand of the “Peace Now” crowd might be, or b) immediate reinstatement of the draft so that an extra handful of young protestors will have a personal reason join you on the Courthouse Green demanding “Peace Now”.

    Ain’t gonna happen. Bush persevered, our military again proved that it may be the only branch of government capable of performing with excellence over long periods of time, and the public (the majority of it) realizes that Iraq is steadily being returned to relative normalcy and our combat presence will be dropping. Americans like to win, even wars that might best have been avoided. As Colin Powell said long before we went into Iraq “you break it, you fix it.” We are fixing it and leaving behind a fledgling democracy with greater tolerance of the US and a brighter future than under Saddam. That may not be why we broke it, but it’s a pretty good way to fix it.

    While I agree that Bush’s miscalculations have stretched our forces thin, cost lives and wasted some of our treasure, I’ll join you on the Courthouse green when you identify a war conducted without such mistakes.

    And while unintended benefits are never a reason to go to war, and cannot be balanced against dreadful consequences, there is no reason (other than over-the-top political correctness) not to recognize them. There have been many such benefits. The next generation of line officers are now combat tested and trained in the type of “new warefare” that may predominate for the next few decades. With the possible exception of the British, who fought by our side with gusto, no other military in the world has our experience and knowledge in urban warfare, the peculiarities of the Arab/muslim world, etc. This experience will make us more respected (and feared) by those that might consider incurring our wrath. Military intelligence, language skills, training regimens have all been changed and upgraded.

    A good friend of mine was at the National War college at fort McNair on September 11. Some of his classmates were among the first “first responders” at the Pentagon just across the Potomac. Within two weeks the curriculum was changed to focus on the new threats to our security. The military learns quickly, even (and perhaps especially) when the lesson comes at horrible cost.

    The improvements in body armor have increased the survival rates of those reaching emergency care with horrific, traumatic head injuries. Doctors in the field have, of necessity, developed techniques that in the past would not have even been considered. Huge advances in emergency care have been made and those techniques are now being taught in American hospitals, including real time link-ups to extaordinary, experimental procedures being performed in Iraq. From the US, these advances are spreading to the rest of the world.

    This knowledge came at the most dreadful cost of all and, as I said, it is not a justification for a war. But so many on your side base their arguments on body counts. Perhaps you should include the thousands of lives that will be saved through these new techniques.

    Peace and drawdown are coming, just not with the defeat and dishonor that so many predicted and some hoped for.

  7. Xbradtc:

    I relish having different points of view. You are right, we probably will not agree on too many issues, but I do appreciate your point of view and your civility in your comments. I have a son who was in the Navy for four years – from 1990-1994. He went in just prior to Desert Shield, and then, of course it became Desert Storm. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t live in fear that he would be deployed to the Middle East. Although there were only about 150 battle-related deaths in Gulf War I, I am not sure I would have coped well if he had been deployed.

    Fortunately, he had skills that the Navy needed here stateside, so he served his entire four years stateside. He never even had to go out on a ship.

    My ex-husband was in the Army. We lived in Germany for awhile, and then he went to Vietnam. My uncle served during the Korean War, and my brother was in the National Guard in the early 70s. I do not come from a background of civilians with no service – I have several relatives who were in the military. I was close to the military – especially since my ex-husband served as a paratrooper in Germany.

    I am also the director of a small grassroots veterans group – Veterans for Better Health Care. I am not a veteran, but our group is not limited to veterans. We have been fighting for over four years now to keep the inpatient beds open at the Fort Wayne VA Hospital.

    So, now to your points. The comparison to the Vietnam deaths was to provide a figure that readers could grasp. Unless a person has been living under a rock, the number 58,000+ holds meaning. But to look at the 1% as the number of stop-lossed personnel tends to minimize the impact that it has on families and those who return. I did not use the figure to compare death to death: I used it as a way for a reader to visualize the 1% as a large number.

    You mention greater incentives. Do you have any figures on how much bonuses have increased? Have they increased to cover, say, inflation? Or have they gone up a higher rate as a greater enticement?

    As to why the Democrats didn’t stop funding, I think we all know they got caught in their own trap. I am a Democrat (you probably have guessed that by now). When I walked into that booth to vote in November 2006, I was full of hope that if we took back control, this war would end. I have been sorely disappointed and actually disgusted at the way Democrats have behaved.

    I know why they didn’t stop funding. They have no intestinal fortitude, and they didn’t want to be accused of pulling the rug out from under out troops. But that is something they should have thought of before they made all their high-handed promises. I know it is politics, but I get so tired of the manipulation that is involved in campaigns.

    As to the war tactics, I find tactics interesting, although I am sure I do not understand them the way you understand them. I have a friend who is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army – he is a West Point grad. We used to talk about things like international law in reference to warfare and the rules of war. Of course, we fell on opposite sides of the Iraq issue. He led a brigade and was wounded badly.

    I realize there may be no love lost between the Arab nations and Persians, but there is nothing like attacking a “relative” that brings people together. The Middle East, whether from Persian ancestry or Arab ancestry, is Muslim. And, yes, I know there is dissension and struggle among the Islamic nations themselves, but I think – and I could be wrong – that attacking a third Middle Eastern country could bring the factions together.

  8. Mark:

    I do not want the draft reinstated. It was a mess in the 60s and early 70s. It was unfair in its application – if you qualified for an exemption, you usually got out of serving. One of the most used, of course, was college. Do I want more people to join us? Of course I do. When you refer to the “Peace Crowd” I have to wonder what is so wrong about wanting peace rather than war?

    One of my favorite sayings is “In the struggle of good against evil, it is always the people who get killed.” Wars are not games, and I detest the use of terms such as “winning” and “losing.” There are only those who prevail and those who do not. We are not playing a card game or a video game.

    I find it disconcerting that you list one of the benefits that “the next generation of line officers are now combat tested and trained in the type of “new warfare” that may predominate for the next few decades.” What a benefit!

    You also put an amazing spin on the increased survival rate. Yes, the armor and protection has increased, and, yes, our trauma care and medical care have improved drastically. I believe I read where 1 of 3 died of injuries in Vietnam while only 1 in 7 die today.

    Survival rates have increased dramatically in the last two wars. In World War II, the rate was 69.7%; in Korea, 75.4%; in Vietnam, 76.4%. In the last two conflicts, the survival rate has jumped to 90.5% with 60% to 75% of the wounds to the limbs. TBIs have become the signature injury of this war.

    That means that we have a lot more wounded – physically and psychologically – to care for when they come home.

    Let me digress for a minute. What I find inexcusable is the apparent lack of support once the veterans return home. How many people do I see here in Fort Wayne protesting the possible closing of the inpatient beds at the VA Hospital? As I noted in the above response to Xbradtc, I am the director of Veterans for Better Health Care, and we have a small solid core group. But do you think we can get others to join us at parades or events? Do you think we can get the general public to take notice of what is happening with our hospital?

    Once in a great while, we get a new member, but many times when we hand out leaflets and flyers, people look at them and dump them quickly. They are “too busy” to help out. I would wager that almost every family has a veteran in its family tree.

    How many people show up at the Memorial Day Parade or the Veterans Day Parade? In a city of 250,000 people, you would think you could get more than a few hundred people to stand along a parade route for an hour to honor our veterans. How many people visit our veterans who are hospitalized over a holiday?

    Do you know that the VA Hospital here holds a memorial service quarterly to honor those who have passed away in that quarter? I bet very few people know, and probably even fewer could find the time to attend.

    But back to the topics. Your last statements show a profound misunderstanding of why those of us who believe in peace feel the way we do. You state, “But so many on your side base their arguments on body counts. Perhaps you should include the thousands of lives that will be saved through these new techniques.”

    Body counts are not what we base our arguments on. While body counts are inevitable, it is only a number. Each body in a bag reflects agony, despair and a loss that can never be replaced for some family somewhere. As the mother of four sons, I can only imagine how I would have felt had one of my sons died in a war. If only one person would have been killed in Iraq, it would have been one person too many.

    My desire for peace is not based on body counts; it is based on caring about human beings and the uselessness of war.

  9. J. Q. Taxpayer says:

    Charlotte,

    I do so many flip-flops while reading your posting on this subject. At times I am going “RIGHT ON” and other times I am saying “WHAT THE HECK!”

    I think it is very poor reflection on our vets for the health care we extend them after serving. We all should hang our head.

    My thoughts on this issue is that the VA pay for their treatment at one of the Fort Wayne hospitals, including extended stay. They get the best care we can offer them. Extended care can be offered by one of the many fine operations we have right here in Fort Wayne.

    Some vets who live in DeKalb or any other county could obtain care right in their own community if such is offered. They would not even have to travel to Fort Wayne.

    By the VA using Fort Wayne they would find their cost for treatment lower then in most of cities they direct vets to. Also Fort Wayne offers a wide range of modest cost apartments if some members of the family wanted to stay.

    While I can not rule out a draft some time in the future I find it difficult to believe we will need one. Taking any kid off the street and giving them a gun has long past by. Today a soldier needs to be able to think, process, and take action.

    There will not be a return to the days of battle lines running a mile or so long with soldiers just trying to grab a couple of yards of earth each day. Vietnam proved that thought process of fighting a war gets soldiers killed.

    My problem with wars is the elected idiots in Washington telling generals what they should be doing. I do not believe the Mayor or City Council members go to Police Cheif York and tell him what drug houses to take down and to give some others a break because it looks good.

    If you want to save lives in a war then you get in there and get the job done. By drawing out a war only leads to more dead bodies on both sides.

    If one follows the beliefs of not getting into a war the US would have stayed out of WWII with the Germans. We may have gone in later but not when we did if the thought process of today is applied.

    Even with Japan if we reacted like many today would want us to we would have set down at a table and talked to them. Of course they would have been sinking more ships off our West coast, taken over more of Alaska, and most of bases in the Pacific would have been taken over.

    I wonder how many people know that there was riots in New York City prior to us entering WWII?

    War is one horrible deal and anyone that has served in one knows it first hand. These are very people who would find it difficult to just send in fellow humans to be shot or killed.

    As for Iran I do not see us sending troops into stay for more then a day or so. Our bitch with Iran is nuke processing plants. We do not need to remove the crazy leadership to destroy their nuke plants. Sure countries buying their oil at discount and selling them the equipment to build the nuke operations will scream and yell. Then again they have a vested interest.

    My mind is turning to mush so I am ending this. I just find it interesting that I do agree with some of your thoughts and others I am a couple miles away from.

    Thanks for posting as it gets us all thinking and sharing our thoughts. To which we all learn.

  10. J.Q.

    I guess I am just one confusing person! I find I am the same way with your comments. I sometimes find myself thinking, “Wow, we agree” and then find that in the next statement or so I have the opposite opinion.

    As to our actions in response to attacks, I think we basically responded in similar manners in both World War II and 9/11. We were attacked at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and one day later we declared war on Japan. Four days after the Pearl Harbor attack, we declared war on Germany and Italy. I think we used pretty much the same thought pattern that exists today.

    We were attacked on 9/11, and we responded by launching an attack not quite a month later on October 7, 2001. We, in essence, responded the same way to both situations. The biggest difference was that, in the past, Congress actually took its obligation to declare war seriously.

    Neither the conflict in Afghanistan nor the conflict in Iraq was preceded by a true declaration of war established in Article I of the Constitution as a power given to Congress.

    Today’s wars are not like the wars of the past. In Vietnam, there were no cut and dried lines of defense such as the Maginot line in World War II or the Mannerheim Line of defense constructed during the Winter War.

    I realize that, while I don’t believe in war, we will have war. That is a part of human nature. I look at wars as either necessary or unnecessary. I don’t see wars a winning or losing. I don’t think it is possible to win when thousands or millions of people lose their lives. It may be necessary, but it is not winning.

    As to the VA Hospital, I have been involved in this issue now for over four years, since VA Secretary Principi first announced he would accept the CARES Commission’s finding to close the inpatient beds at the Fort Wayne VA Hospital. Many alternatives have been offered.

    Probably the biggest reason paying for care at a local hospital won’t be a solution as opposed to obtaining care at the VA is that local hospitals don’t want to get tangled in the payment process that goes with VA care. They would, in all likelihood, be required to wait much longer lengths of time than in the typical insurance-billed case.

    Another alternative suggested is to dedicate a separate wing on a local hospital to veterans. It would be a part of the hospital but would only be open to veterans.

  11. J. Q. Taxpayer says:

    I have to agree with you that we have allowed for any president to start a war which does trouble me. But looking at the engery issue that we have two parties fighting for their party over fighting for all Americans is also a thing that troubles me. So if any President did go to congress would they ever get the support needed?

    I am not sure I can agree with the dedicated wing because of the cost to staff it. Hospitals have a massive issue of moving people around to staff the entire hospital. Let alone now to include a wing.

    I understand the payment deal but the hospitals currently deal with the same issue with Medicad and Medicare payments. They seem to weather that storm because of the size of operation they are.

    I do not believe there will be some world war on the scope of WWII.

  12. xbradtc says:

    Again, thanks for letting me respond and thanks for stopping by my place.

    And let me especially thank you for your efforts with the VA on behalf of veterans. I personally have never used the VA, but most vets I’ve known who used them rated them far above civilian hospitals.

    I think your unwillingness to frame the end state of a war as “winning” or “losing” is rather naive. I would argue that sports are emulating war, rather than war emulating sports, in that aspect. You can argue whether we have enjoyed the spoils of victory in any war, but there can be no doubt that throughout history, the losers have suffered. That we as a nation no longer attempt to extract every advantage from our vanquished foes says something for our magnanimity.

    As to your feelings when faced with the prospect of your son’s deployment, I have my own little tale. When I was deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, I didn’t worry to much about Dear Old Mom. She was an old hand at watching Dad deploy. In fact, the day after I was born, off he sailed for Vietnam. And six weeks later, my sister was suffered a broken back. She wasn’t even going to write Dad, as she figured he had enough on his plate. The point being, she was tough. Little did I know she was beside herself with worry about me while I was gone. From my own point of view, the dangers were not all that great. But from the view of someone who doesn’t see the situation day to day, the threats seem greatly magnified. It is the fear of the unknown.

    One small nit to pick. You mention that four days after our declaration of war on Japan, that we declared war on Germany and Italy. I should just remind you and your readers that our declaration was in response to declarations from Germany and Italy.

    Whether we will see Congress ever issue a declaration more in line with what you would like to see, I don’t know. I personally would have liked to have seen one. But Congress has only declared war five times (I’m lumping the multiple declarations of WWI and WWII together). Be that as it may, the Constitution is mute on what form exactly the declaration must take. The AUMF can easily be seen as a declaration, especially in the case of Afghanistan where there was no recognized government to which to deliver a declaration. To argue that the President began the war in Iraq without the consent of Congress is to rewrite history.

  13. ironmike says:

    I have no problem with anyone debating the validity of this war, or its effects on the souls fighting it. Questioning the ethics, competence, or motives of the men orchestrating it is also fair-game.

    But why do you put yourselves in a vacuum of credibility with off-the-shelf terminology and talking points that are completely false? Enough with the Kerry-esque “Back-Door Draft” and “Fine print” rubbish.

    I have every enlistment contract I have ever signed, since 1989. Each is initialed at each bullet point to ensure and document critical items of understanding. I assure everyone that the font is quite legible at even the most advanced stages of presbyopia. In 1989, the Army had few in the rank-and-file that knew anything about war. Most veterans of Vietnam were gone. Still, to call understanding of Stop-Loss obscure, or hidden in “fine print” even then would have been implausible. 2001 was only a decade removed from Desert Storm, and today we have been at war the better part of the decade.

    I have been forced to work a lot of overtime in my life, but for some reason it has never been called a “Back door hiring spree”. Stop-loss is sound, responsible policy. A soldier is in the Army until he or she is not in the Army. Pretty simple. The Army has a responsibility to maintain strength until it can stand down. The strain on the troops is another matter, and they are stretched thin. I don’t recall many on the left protesting the military downsizing during the Clinton years, however.

    John Kerry used the term “Back Door Draft” because “draft” is a key word that energizes the peaceniks of the 60’s in his base, and is probably the only military term they understand. His doing so was irresponsible, and ultimately he should have considered the impact that his back-door discharge would have on his candidacy.

  14. Ironmike:

    You mentioned the year “1989.” I assume that is the year you entered the military. Just out of curiosity, any copies or idea what the contracts were like in the ’60s and early ’70s? I wonder if they contained the same provision?

    If not, then the new contracts have simply come up with a way to keep military personnel without actually calling it a draft.

    Since you are military, you probably have greater access than I do, so if you don’t mind, could you find out what the old ’60s and ’70s contracts contained?

    As to your statement that you have been forced to work a lot of overtime, it isn’t close to the same thing if you are addressing work in the civilian environment. Your employment contract in civilian life does not contain a provision that “forces” you to work overtime. If you don’t want to, then you quit. Stop-loss does not allow that option unless you want to spend time in prison. Civilian employment doesn’t put you in prison when you refuse to work overtime.

  15. xbradtc says:

    Charlotte, I can’t get a PDF or anything for you, but the only relevant change in the DD4, Enlistment Contract was the change from a 6 year initial obligation of service to an 8 year obligation. This took place before I joined in 1985. That’s hardly a nefarious plan to change the rules.

    The fact of the matter is that as long as there have been short term enlistments (a creation of the 20th Century) there have been stop-loss provisions of one kind or another.

    FYI, in peacetime, in 1977, my Dad, with 30 years of commissioned service, applied for retirement. They denied him and kept him on for 18 more months until they could find a qualified replacement.

  16. micheal jameson says:

    Stopp loss is bs!!!Forget the extra pay how about keeping us home with our families so we can take care of them.We don’t know if we will come home with all our limbs and with our head even on straight.I have been diagnosed with ptsd afeter my last deployment were I got hit by an IED.I have had to keep this from the army paying out my own pocket because of the chance of losing all my benefits due to their way of dealing with it as a personality disorder wich it is but know one should be discharged less than honorable and then lose their benefits due to this.All together I will be getting stop lossed soon and myself and a few others just want to let people know that It is a bad thing to have soldiers over there that are pissed off and not caring what happens to the people that put them their.Than you hopefully all you agree!!!!!!!

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