Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Why We May Still Lose The War On Terror

A cursory examination of hard data on the ground makes it seem ludicrous to plant the axiom that the US could eventually lose our bid to democratic Iraq, Afghanistan and other authoritarian hellholes scattered throughout the Middle East. Our Marine Corps just finished demolishing the heart of the Al-Quaida-backed elements of the Iraqi resistance. The rapid and complete purging of Fallujah sent a message to our enemies.

Unfortunately, other actions on our part send them a message as well. That message reads that our front line military troops may prove indominatable in open battle, but that in many cases, the resolve to back their efforts does not exist back home across the ocean blue.

The Department of Defense has been served with a lawsuit that alleges that its use of stop-loss regulations to extend soldier enlistments violates the Constitutional rights of soldiers who get extended. This utterly defies reality. Anyone who dons the uniform of the US Army knows that they are not immediately cut loose at the end of their term of enlistment.

If they even get a set of retirement orders cut, they are placed in the Inactive Ready Reserve. Soldiers on this list are liable up to seven years after separation for call-up in the event of national necessity. In other words, if you sign on the line and put on a set of the BDUs, Uncle Sam owns an option contract on your butt anytime he seeks to exercise it.

If the soldiers suing the DOD didn't want to actually go to Iraq, they never should have signed on the bottom line. The Army exists to win America's wars, not provide social welfare or outdoor adventure to people who are underemployed or flat-out bored.

This basic moral logic didn't dissuade the plaintiffs. One of them issued the following statement to the press.

Army Specialist E-4 David W. Qualls said Monday that he had filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of himself and seven other soldiers protesting the Department of Defense's stop-loss policy that involuntarily extends tours of duty.

"What this boils down to, is a question of fairness," Qualls said. "I've served five months past my 1-year obligation -- and I feel it's time for us to be allowed to go back to our lives."

This lawsuit received immediate backing from others who's motives are far less simple and understandable than the desire to return home from a very bad place.

"This (case) is unique because (Qualls) volunteered for a specific time, " said James Klimanski, an attorney involved in the case. "There's nothing in (the Try One) contract -- even in the fine print -- that calls for the involuntary extension under this circumstance," he added, calling stop-loss "a backdoor draft that the Bush administration is imposing on American service members."

Apparantly Mr. Klimanski hasn't quite realized the election ended last month. He's still spreading the rumors of a backdoor draft. This, of course, is contemptible stupidity. You can't stop-loss an individual who hasn't enlisted to begin with.

James Lobel, attorney and vice president of the Center for Constitutional Rights agrees. "This case involves one of the fundamental values of our society -- honesty," Lobel said: "Our government has not been honest with Mr. Qualls and other plaintiffs. ... The courts should (not) tolerate such dishonesty."

Lobel attempts to mask his naked desire to undermine the war effort in higher motives. He's no more convincing to me than a horde of stoner college students demanding medicinal dime bags. The day our courts start deciding what military recruiting practices they will or will not deign to tolerate is the day the US should just take the flag down and surrender to the first bunch of suckers who would willingly take over The Land of The Free and The Home of The Litigous Ass-Hat.

What happened to SPC Qualls is very sad and was handled very poorly on the part of the Army. Should they have counseled him first that this would happen and let him at least tell his family? Absolutely. Finding out his contract had been re-upped from an LES statement was not professional, decent or even worthy.

However, SPC Qualls signed up for service and qualifies automatically for the Inactive Ready Reserve. The US Army had a viable and legal way to extend him without the chicanery. Qualls has no case except to his IG Representative. He's been treated shabbily, and maybe the Army needs to crack a few heads in someone's G-1 shop over this.

However, this should in no way proclude the military from exercising stop-loss as a way to keep qualifieds soldiers in until the war is over. Somewhere in Iraq, Iran, Syria or the wilds of Afghanistan, the leaders of the Whabbi movement read about this and gain hope. As they gain this hope, they gain recruits. SPC Qualls isn't saving any lives or ending the likelihood of further stop-loss orders. He's only making more carnage and a longer war more necessary.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by