Democrats & Liberals Archives

Stop-Loss: Bush's Ugly Draft

One courageous soldier, holding vigil in Bellingham, Washington, is discovering that most of the people he talks to don’t even know what “stop loss” is, or believe that it only refers to a certain kind of stock trade. In fact the Bush administration’s indefensible and immoral use of the military’s stop loss policy is a despicable mistreatment of the volunteers who comprise our armed services.

The stop loss policy allows the military to retain soldiers past the time of their contract in times of national emergency. In a real national emergency that makes sense. The only national emergency we have now is one of Bush's own creation, and it is not going to be addressed - indeed it is only being exacerbated - by forcing our volunteer soldiers to remain in the line of fire past the time of their contract. The only emergency being addressed is the political emergency of Bush vainly attempting to save face while denying the reality that his "liberation" of Iraq has been a colossal failure.

Soldiers are being called back to third and even fourth tours of duty, and kept past the time stipulated on their contracts for one simple reason. There aren't enough volunteers to support this boondoggle, and no one other than Charlie Rangel has the gumption to suggest an honest draft to supply the fresh troops that would be necessary to support keeping the former level of troops in the Middle East, much less a surge. Meanwhile Ahmadinejad laughs while we rattle our sabres, because he knows our military is now stretched too thin to provide any real threat against Iran.

When news of the stop loss program first broke, I was surprised by the lack of outrage and coverage of it. Still, outside of the military, it is a little known necessity for fueling this insane war. There are signs that it is gaining traction as an issue, though, as it erodes support for the war in the very camps where support has traditionally been strongest. In fact it has generated such a spate of lawsuits and backlash in the ranks that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is ordering that plans be made to minimize its use.

The surge and the widespread objection to it has been well reported. Some have suggested that if we really want to give the military option a chance to succeed we would need a far greater surge than the President has ordered. The elephant in the room is that we CANNOT supply such a huge surge without a real draft, and that we can only support the current levels, surge or no surge, by mistreating the very soldiers we supposedly honor.

We must demand that President Bush support our troops by bringing them home in an orderly fashion - and soon.

Posted by Walker Willingham at June 5, 2007 6:25 PM
Comments
Comment #222365

Walker,

I could not agree more.
Excellent post.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at June 5, 2007 6:37 PM
Comment #222368

Whenever I hear the Republicans who still support the war talk about supporting the troops, it’s stuff like this that I remind them of. The support they give is literally the lip service they expect of the public in regards to fighting the war. But lip service it is, and superficial aid to the soldiers it remains.

The burden they have placed on the soldiers and the military is unconscionable, not to mention collosally stupid, given what they have asked these soldiers to achieve.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 5, 2007 6:51 PM
Comment #222382

Surprise,surprise. Bushco does not really give a shit about working people’s kids.If we bring back the draft it should only apply to those making 300,000 or more. Peace at last!

Posted by: BillS at June 5, 2007 10:13 PM
Comment #222410

Generally speaking, the troops support Bush and the Republican party. Supporting the troops is all well and good. But I would suggest that the neverending sympathy for the troops from the blue column is neither needed nor wanted.

Posted by: Schwamp at June 6, 2007 10:18 AM
Comment #222411

Stop Loss, is a problem, but it has always been available to the Presidents to use. Problem is when someone enlist they are not told or don’t read the fine print about their obligation.
I am retired military and have been for the last 16yrs, but I can be recalled to active duty until I am 60yrs old, which is another 4yrs from now.
If I was recalled would I go back, right now Canada would be my first choice before the Military with the current president.
They also have a plan where if I talk someone into joining I would be a $2000 check from them, well when I first retired I would recommend the military, now I tell them to go to college.

Posted by: KT at June 6, 2007 10:46 AM
Comment #222414

despicable mistreatment of the volunteers who comprise our armed services is nothing new.

That is why it is necessary to increase poverty, so that people have fewer alternatives. I know someone who was transfered from Hines IL to Ft Stewart GA, who opted up when his time was up.

GWBush trying to restart the cold war this week will probably discourage more possible recruits. Before the NH debates, the Rpblcn spokesman was comparing our involvement in Iraq to WW2 and Korea, saying that we would probably have troops there for decades.

Posted by: ohrealy at June 6, 2007 12:08 PM
Comment #222500

Good article, Walker. You’ve been talking about stop loss and other outrages endured by our soldiers because of this administration since 2004.
[Sigh] Makes me so sick that our troops are still in Iraq, that they are still dealing with the same BS, and so, we’re still talking about this.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 7, 2007 12:58 AM
Comment #222505

At long last!

I’m finally seeing some commentary from others besides myself on just how immoral Bush’s war is, and how he is abusing (terrorizing really) the military.

Walker the only thing I would beg to differ is that our National Emergency isn’t exactly of Bush’s creation. The National Emergency is precisely and specifically George W. Bush, the fascist terrorist currently held up in the White House.

BillS—Great idea! I’m down with that!

Schwamp—is your opinion supported by any FACTS? Do you know any COMBAT soldiers currently or previously in Iraq that might echo your view? Do you know even ONE family member of a fallen American soldier from the Bush War? That you can so casually disregard human life is way beyond my comprehension. Thank God!

Posted by: Kim-Sue at June 7, 2007 1:24 AM
Comment #223010

I am in Iraq right now. My active duty time should be ending Sep. 3 of this year. It was involuntarily pushed back to Dec. 4 so far and we are all told we’ll be extended again. My wife is due to have our first child i a couple of weeks. And i am getting leave to be there but I will be baording a plane to come back at about the time I would have been signing out for good. Alot of good people made plans to go on with there lives. And now are stuck in limbo. This needs to end. And yes I did once support the president, but no longer.
Spc. Michael Manz
mikeyjm1@yahoo.com

Posted by: SPC Mike Manz at June 12, 2007 5:38 PM
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