I'll tackle a couple of these points concerning Stop-Loss. Let me preface by saying that I do not like the policy, but I can see the need for it on occasion. I have not been affected by it, but it could happen to me as I near retirement.
First, according to Presidential Proclamation 7463
A national emergency exists by reason of the terrorist attacks at the World
Trade Center, New York, New York, and the Pentagon, and the continuing
and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States
of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the
Constitution and the laws of the United States, I hereby declare that the
national emergency has existed since September 11, 2001, and, pursuant
to the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), I intend to utilize
the following statutes: sections 123, 123a, 527, 2201©, 12006, and 12302
of title 10, United States Code, and sections 331, 359, and 367 of title
14, United States Code.
How does this affect a member of the military?
From the DoD Enlistment Contract, DD4/1
10. MILITARY SERVICE OBLIGATION FOR ALL
MEMBERS OF THE ACTIVE AND RESERVE COMPONENTS,
INCLUDING THE NATIONAL GUARD.
a. FOR ALL ENLISTEES: If this is my initial enlistment,
I must serve a total of eight (8) years. Any part
of that service not served on active duty must be served
in a Reserve Component unless I am sooner discharged.
b. If I am a member of a Reserve Component of an
Armed Force at the beginning of a period of war or
national emergency declared by Congress, or if I become
a member during that period, my military service may be
extended without my consent until six (6) months after
the end of that period of war.
c. As a member of a Reserve Component, in time of
war or national emergency declared by the Congress, I
may be required to serve on active duty (other than for
training) for the entire period of the war or emergency
and for six (6) months after its end.
d. As a member of the Ready Reserve I may be
required to perform active duty or active duty for
training without my consent (other than as provided in
item 8 of this document) as follows:
(1) in time of national emergency declared by the
President of the United States, I may be ordered to
active duty (other than for training) for not more than
[B]24 consecutive months.
(2) I may be ordered to active duty for 24
months, and my enlistment may be extended so I can
complete 24 months of active duty, if:
a. I am not assigned to, or participating satisfactorily
in, a unit of the Ready Reserve; and
b. I have not met my Reserve obligation; and
c. I have not served on active duty for a total of
(3) I may be ordered to perform additional active
duty training for not more than 45 days if I have not
fulfilled my military service obligation and fail in any
year to perform the required training duty satisfactorily.
If the failure occurs during the last year of
my required membership in the Ready Reserve, my
enlistment may be extended until I perform that
additional duty, but not for more than six months.
(4) When determined by the President that it is
necessary to support any operational mission, I may be
ordered to active duty as prescribed by law, if I am a
member of the Selected Reserve.
Now you'll notice the use of the term 'war'. I suppose it could be argued that we are not in a state of declared war, so we could debate on whether the contract refers to that specific declaration by congress or the common definition of armed conflict, as according to Dictionary.com
: A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties. The period of such conflict. The techniques and procedures of war; military science.
Further, in the case of Santiago v. Rumsfeld, the 9th Circuit has issued an opinion denying the petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by a service member who had fallen victim to the stop loss policy. The court based that decision in part, by quoting yet another portion of the Enlistment Contract:Laws and regulations that govern military personnel may change without notice to me. Such changes may affect my status, pay, allowances, benefits, and responsibilities as a member of the Armed Forces REGARDLESS of the provisions of this enlistment document.
The fine print of this contract and it's implied conditions servitude may seem draconian, and I may be inclined to agree. But until the President's power to issue Declarations of National Emergency and/or the Department of Defense's assertion of power concerning contract law is successfully challenged and overturned, the Stop-Loss policy is constitutional in my opinion.
Concerning the first link's reference to a retention crisis, I disagree. We all know the pitfalls of the recruitment drives, but re-enlistment is another story.
From USA Today
From Oct. 1 through June, the Army had re-enlisted 53,120 soldiers, 6% ahead of its goal of about 50,000 for that period. At that pace, the Army would finish the year 3,850 troops ahead of its target of 64,162.
Re-enlistment rates the past three years have been at least 6% above the service's goals for the 500,000-member active Army. There are about 105,000 Army soldiers in Iraq, including members of the National Guard and Reserve.
Now these numbers are due in a small part to the fact that some soldiers earn re-enlistment bonus's based on their job specialty, and that bonus is tax free if they re-enlist in a combat zone. My point however, is that a significant decrease in retention numbers would be heralded by some as proof that our war in Iraq is a failure, since the voices of those that actually served there were being heard. It stands to reason that a similar sentiment can be felt by those veterans re-enlisting after knowing the hazards.