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It's about fucking time!

Robert Gates says that stop-loss is going away.

Let me just say this for the record: there is nothing more devastating to a serviceman's morale than stop-loss. What is stop-loss? It's the Army - or any branch of the military, really - telling someone that yes, you signed a contract for four years, and you're planning on going home and starting a family and going on with your life, but you know, we need bodies on the front lines, we're going to hold you as long as we want, and there's nothing you can do about it. Needs of the country, kid. Now shut up and report back to your station or we'll put you in jail.

This makes no sense to a lot of you, I'm guessing, so let me put this in perspective: imagine being in the worst environment you've ever been in, be it a bad school, bad home situation, bad relationship, whatever. Now imagine that you endure that twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and you have no way out. Now imagine that you have the possibility of being killed by a covert attack at any time, on top of that. But it's OK! Because there's a set date when this hell can end, and you can move on with your life; you were promised it before you decided to sign up for four to six years, and it's written in stone.

Now imagine that whatever you're doing, you're told just before you're about to stop doing it, that you have to keep doing it. You have no choice in that matter; you're being held on to, and it's happening indefinitely. Your life is on hold, until someone says so, and not only that, you're going to be doing this in the worst possible conditions for whoever knows - or cares - how long. That contract you signed? Oh, it's not worth the paper it was signed on; the Needs of the (fill in the branch) supercede that. And in addition to that, unlike a job or a relationship, you cannot quit, and if you try to do so legally, you will be ostracized or possibly physically harmed or killed by people that are supposed to be your allies; if you do it through other means, you will be put in jail, or if you're gone long enough, you could be executed. Meanwhile, your story will travel. People that have been around and are staying around for their full time in, they will laugh at you, tell you tough shit, and make you the butt of their jokes. "This motherfucker thought he was getting out! Hey, let's put this jackass on the front line, he'll make a good bullet sponge!". The ones that are getting out? They know that this could happen to them now. Morale plummets. And that family you wanted to start? That job you wanted? The odds are that the job's gone, and your mate isn't sticking around, either. Or maybe they are, but they're getting laid on the side. Don't think it happens? Divorce rate on the USS George Washington for married couples within twelve months of our return to Norfolk in December of 2002 was around 35%.

Stop-Loss was meant to keep people in with very specific skills that were necessary to fight in specialized wars; in other words, people with knowledge in Arabic are kinda necessary nowadays. However, as the war was proven to be one big, steaming lie by a Republican junta that increasingly thinks of it's people as chess pieces in their own game, the volunteers in an all-volunteer military started to drop out. One way to mitigate this was to force the National Guard - you know, the people that are supposed to be guarding OUR shores? - into service in Iraq. After that, they needed still more people; that's where Stop-Loss became abused.

Let me make this clear: people like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld ruined - through death, dismemberment or shell-shock - good American lives by treating their soldiers as disposable resources; after all, you go to war with the army you have, right Donny? The arrogance and sheer disregard they have has gotten thousands of ours killed, hundreds of thousands of theirs killed, and thousands more irrevocably affected for the worse. I maintain that Cheney is a war criminal who should be on a gallow's pole, and that Rumsfeld, if he doesn't hang for his gross negligence in terms of getting troops body armour and properly armoured trucks, should be in jail for the rest of his life. The reversal of this policy by Mr. Gates is just the first step in righting the wrongs that predominantly belong to these two evil men, and if anyone had any balls anywhere, the second step would be to take the money from their pensions and personal fortunes and use them to replace the funding that was lost from Veterans' Affairs in this latest "stimulus", not to mention all the money that was cut out, which turned Walter Reed Medical Facility into the rathole - literally - it became. It'll never happen, and the chickens in our current administration will never give more than a passing glance to the crimes that have been committed since 9/11... but a man can dream, can't he?

Maybe now, at least, my brothers and sisters can retain hope of being treated like humans instead of as resources.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 20th, 2009 11:08 pm (UTC)
All I can say is "good"; I always thought Stop-Loss was a load of bullcrap. I can see the necessity for it in very specific situations, as you stated, but it was abused, and that's horrible.
Mar. 20th, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
That is impossibly inhumane. And with Don't Ask, Don't Tell, they're firing plenty of qualified gay people who might have at least reduced the perceived need for this kind of shit. It's almost impossible to imagine this sort of thing goes on--it's like indentured servitude.
Mar. 20th, 2009 11:18 pm (UTC)
It is indentured servitude; the Army is saying that their word is no good. All the branches are.

As for gay people in the service... I'm not sure you want me to go there. Let's just say we have a SIGNIFICANT difference of opinion there.
Mar. 20th, 2009 11:31 pm (UTC)
Jesus. Thank god they're getting rid of it, then.

If you're implying what I think you are, then yeah, end of discussion here.
Mar. 20th, 2009 11:43 pm (UTC)
As for gay people in the service... I'm not sure you want me to go there. Let's just say we have a SIGNIFICANT difference of opinion there.

What is your opinion?

I always thought "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was exactly the policy I'd implement if I was in charge...
Mar. 21st, 2009 03:29 am (UTC)
Well, Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a great thing; it is the best compromise anyone could have ever come up with, and Clinton did a hell of a job with it.

But when it comes to gays and women, I can't support them in any form of combat ready position. Though not for prejudiced reasons.

It's a two pronged sword. See, in a combat area - be it on the ground or on a ship - you do everything with your team. You eat together. You work together. Live, shower, go out on leave, get fucked up, screw women, etc. It's an interesting study in group mechanics and peer pressure for someone that's into that, but the truth is that most of these guys have to be, more or less, your brothers.

You add a gay person into the mix, and chances are very good - especially in the military, which is loaded mostly with lower-income people from rural regions - that it's going to fuck everything up because at least one person in that group is going to be prejudiced against gays. Not the Tim Hardaway "I really don't like gay people" fashion, but in the "I want to kill a faggot" way, as if all gay people are looking to fuck everyone in the ass.

And yes, people have made attempts on other gay people. Were they gay? Were they not? Who cares? In cases like that, suspicion is proof of guilt, and sometimes, yes, a person gets the shit beat out of them for stepping out of line like that.

Now, it's easy for a civilian to say "hey, that's not right! Impose penalties! Hate crimes! Take that person out of the unit!", but not so fast. These are COMBAT units. These are people that have to kill or be killed at a moment's notice. You NEED a bit of groupthink in a group like this. This brings up two scenarios: an openly gay person is in a unit, gets into trouble, and needs to be bailed out... is a homophobe going to save that person? And secondly, let's say you take someone out of their unit for whatever reason; that unit has officially been weakened. There can be no room for shit like that when death is the price you pay for slipping up.

Mar. 21st, 2009 03:29 am (UTC)
Same thing with women in combat positions, though there, you also have biology involved. Put women with men and put them into tight spaces, 24/7, and nature WILL take it's course. A woman WILL find a man, and WILL have sex with him; be it accidental or purposely, she could get pregnant, and if that happens, she's out of the unit/off the ship. Yes, there's rules against fraternization, and most units/ships have rules against sexual contact of any kind while on US Government property (excluding homes or social areas; basically, you can't fuck on a ship, or in the barracks, and in most barracks, unless you're a certain paygrade, opposite sexes aren't even ALLOWED inside), but they go so easily ignored it's laughable. So what happens? Someone gets caught, they get in trouble. But what if the woman gets pregnant? She's gone. Again, your unit's lost strength.

Furthermore, women, by sheer nature, aren't strong enough to do most combat jobs. They're smaller. They're lighter. Their physical readiness standards are lower than a man's. That limits most women to being phone talkers or something similar. When I was in the Navy, I topped out at 215lbs. of near-solid muscle. How many women could take an injured 215lb. man out of a compartment that's about to go up?

Going back to sex with women, let's not forget what women have been for thousands and thousands of years of war: spoils of war. The men go through, kill the other men, loot and burn the village, and rape the women; how many times have we heard about this? It's definitely not new - it still goes on - and the stories of places like Nanjing are plentiful. If a woman gets captured in combat, I can safely say she WILL be raped. Not "might", almost definitely WILL be raped. Repeatedly. Forcefully. Over and over and over and over and over again, to the point of forever psychologically ruining her for the rest of her life. I'm sorry, I'm a bit more humane than to allow someone to be put in that position. But then again, it's sometimes advantageous to pretend they've been put in that position; after all, what were half of the stories about Jessica Lynch? She finally had to step forward - after she was out of the Army - and say that 90% of what the Army said about her was a trumped up lie, much like what the Army said about Pat Tillman. Jessica Lynch's gender was advantageous to her, and the media, and they used her for it.

And finally - this is the one that's going to piss off the feminists - most of the women I knew in the military just didn't want the physical labour that came with it. A few did; they were no problem. But most of the females in the service that I dealt with actively shied away from firefighting duty, and actively shied away from anything involving being physical. We lost 20% of our female ship's company before every deployment because they all got pregnant before the cruise. 20% isn't a fucking coincidence.

Considering all of these items, I can't support gays or females in combat-ready positions. Backlines, yes. In combat positions? Human nature just doesn't preclude it.
Mar. 21st, 2009 04:59 am (UTC)
That all makes sense. Thanks.

Mar. 21st, 2009 06:47 am (UTC)
Man, I've never thought about that... I honestly thought there could never be a logical argument against having women in combat positions. You've proven me wrong on that though. It makes sense, even if I still don't want to agree with it.
Mar. 21st, 2009 07:47 am (UTC)
Dude, even I don't want to agree to it; in a perfect world, everyone could serve with everyone.

But... reality is reality. And in a war zone, you don't have time to fuck around with hypotheticals. You go with what works, and I'm sorry, but gays and women don't work.
Mar. 21st, 2009 09:04 am (UTC)
Mind if I quote this when I debate with someone about the issue?
Mar. 22nd, 2009 07:19 am (UTC)
By all means. I feel I have a unique perspective on this.
Mar. 21st, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)

One of the worst abuses of the war, and I'm not sorry to see it go!
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


Mr. Met
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