Today could be the start of something historical in regards to the United States Army, US military policy, and the US presence in Iraq. Today, U.S. Defense Secretary has given an interesting announcement. It plans to reverse the policy that mandates soldiers to stay in the service beyond their obligation. This policy is due to phase out by March 2011.
This policy is nicknamed “stop-loss.” According to Wikipedia, stop-loss is defined as: "The involuntary extension of a service member’s active duty under the enlistment contract in order to retain them beyond their initial end of term of service date. " This was created after the Vietnam War by the US Congress.
The policy of stop-loss has been used in fiction. There was a movie called “Stop-Loss” which starred Ryan Phillippe and Channing Tatum. On a side note, Tatum is cast to play Conrad “Duke” Hauser in the “G.I. Joe” movie. It was revealed that Tatum originally did not want to be part of the movie after being in Stop-Loss. Tatum originally felt that the G.I. Joe movie would glorify war. But changed his mind after seeing it would be similar to something like X-Men.
There is also a Canadian drama on CBC Television called “The Border.” There is one episode of the show in which three US soldiers crossover to Canada and use the policy as the basis for refugee status.
In regards to the “stop-loss” policy, it could be done away with. By 2010, the number of soldiers under “stop-loss” will be reduced by fifty percent.
“To hold them against their will is just not the right thing to do,” Gates explained. By August, the US Army Reserve will no longer send units under that policy. The National Guard will follow suit the following month in September. However, the policy is not completely done away it.
It can be executed under “extreme” measures. Also revealed is that the Army is the only branch of the armed services that still uses “stop-loss.” So far there could be much praise for this decision. It was considered to be a very unpopular program.
Gates adds in special compensation by saying: “This special compensation will be applied retroactively to October 1, 2008, the date when Congress first made it available.
According to the critics of the policy, it is considered a “backdoor draft.” However, what will proponents of “stop-loss” say? So far, it does not seem that proponents of “stop-loss” have stepped forth. However, the announcement has been made. The “stop-loss” will virtually be stopped.