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The Army's Stop-Loss Policy

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: December 6, 2004
Latest Update: December 6, 2004

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Index of Topics on Site Soldiers Retained Beyond Limits of Enlistment
Most Americans are currently committed to what seems a necessity that we complete the military action we have begun in Iraq. Certainly all of us support the men and women who have volunteered for military service and find themselves in the midst of this war. It is true that some of them never foresaw the possibility of such a war when they enlisted, for the National Guard, for example, but the war once started, none of us has the discretion to simply walk away.

Many of you reflected rising concerns about a draft on transfor_dom earlier this semester. We'll certainly need to go back to that. But more immediately we are all faced with issues, such as young people being told they cannot leave Iraq even though their time has been served. The situation reminds me of the Second World War dilemma when young men in Europe were told they could not go home after victory in Europe, but had to go on to the Pacific to fight again. (That was the origin of the one-sided, two-sided argument in effectiveness of persuasion.) Like those men in the Second World War, these young people are being told that they must stay in Iraq, even though their enlistment contracts have ended.

Read and consider: 8 Soldiers Sue Over Army’s Stop-Loss Policy By Monica Davey. New York Times, December 6, 2004, at p. A8. Backup.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Agencies: What should the role of the US Army be in the protection of the soldier's rights? Is the Army exclusively charged with meeting the needs of its generals? Or is it charged with concern for the individual rights of those who serve?

  2. Law: What about the foreseeability of circumstances? The law holds that people are responsible for consequences that reasonable persons would have foreseen. Should National Guard members have foreseen the possibility of extended service in a foreign war? Should soldiers who enlisted have foreseen the possibility of being kept beyond their enlistment period?

  3. Poverty: How could you account for the perspective that says the war in Iraq weighs more heavily on the poor? Be specific. For example, consider career opportunities, education opportunities, and how these might affect foreseeability.

  4. Women and Poverty: How does gender affect women's role in these issues? Again, be specific. Is family money and support for career and education still more likely to be spent on men than women? Consider also changing patterns of racism and affirmative action.

    These are just a few of the questions that come to mind for me. I hope that you will add others as you discuss this on transform_dom. jeanne

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