Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Army stop-loss seems to increase, amounts to a backdoor draft

USA Today reports that the Army has increased mandatory “stop-loss” extensions of enlistment contracts, despite a Secretary of Defense order to the contrary in early 2007. The story ("DOD data: More forced to stay in Army") is by Tom Vanden Brook on the front page of the national daily newspaper, link here. The original Gates memo was this (PDF).

The response from the Secretary of the Army was on this PDF in July 2007

The number of soldiers “stop-lossed” rose 43% between Jan 2007 and March 2008, with the average extension over six months.

I had reviewed the movie “Stop-Loss” on another blog in March, here.

The “stop loss” policy is often called the “backdoor draft” and is affecting Guards and Reserves. Some politicians have argued that the existence of stop-loss argues for the return of mandatory conscription as long as there is a war, including women. (The Supreme Court had ruled at one point that conscription of men only would be constitutional.)

I “volunteered for the draft” and enlisted for two years in 1968 after receiving my M.A. in Mathematics. (In the dorm room at the University of Kansas, students put a sign on my door that I would soon become "cannon fodder.") I stayed stateside in the Pentagon and at Fort Eustis. I had gone from 4-F to 1-A (discussed on other blogs) and had gotten an induction notice in early 1968. Perhaps by enlisting I was “better off.”

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