More on the Back Door Draft
Monday, May 12, 2008 | Author: Mad Typist
A prominent blogger and author of a book about his Iraq War experiences has just been recalled to active duty. This is a really sad op-ed piece to read and I really feel for the guy. It's not just active duty guys being stuck via the Stop-Loss policy, which I've previously discussed. It's also guys on the IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) program who are also being called up.

A bit on IRR and military commitments: IRR basically means you agree to keep your uniforms in functioning order and that you can be called back up if you're needed. As a ROTC graduate, I agreed to serve for a total of 8 years. The standard agreement for an officer coming out of ROTC is 4 years active, with the remaining 4 years spent in the IRR. Military academy grads usually owe 5 years active, 3 years IRR. Certain career fields can be obligated to serve longer than that, due to the extra training they receive (i.e. USAF pilots sign up for 10 years of active service).

A key passage from his article:
When I voluntarily enlisted in the Army, I remember asking my recruiter about the fine print on the contract about being called back up to active duty once my enlistment was completed. He assured me not to worry, that every contract said that and it would only happen if "World War III" broke out.
This same thing was said to me, literally almost word for word. Both Stop-Loss and active duty recall are technically on the multi-page document they make you sign, that much is true. However, I was taught (as I'm sure many other military people were), that it was only for times of extreme crisis. People weren't happy about being Stop-Lossed after 9/11 first happened, but we all understood why it was invoked - major attack, didn't have a bead on the enemy, etc. The idea was not that we could be forced into longer service because a politician wanted more time to make some ridiculous nation-building plan work.
As terrible as this might sound, whenever someone asks me about enlisting, I'm tempted to encourage them. I figure that the more people who enlist, the slimmer the chances that I'll get called back up. But of course this is ridiculous: No one in their right mind would enlist now, whereas I've already signed the papers. I'm now going back to Iraq for a second time because people like me - existing service members - are the only people at the Army's disposal.
Again, the people in charge don't want a draft, because they know there'd be a public outcry on the level of Vietnam. So they violate the trust of their existing soldiers. There will be people, of course, screaming about how it's in the contract that this guy signed, so he should get over it, because his failure to follow up and find out if the recruiter was lying isn't the military's fault. And 90% of those people have probably never served, nor do they have family currently serving. Betraying the soldiers' trust based on a technicality ("Well, we know that this person in an obvious position of expertise and/or authority told you this one thing, but their failure to be more specific is just too damn bad") just burns me.
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