Thursday, March 27, 2008

Stop-Loss

There I was, doing my bit for Queen and country by researching on the Internet when I accidentally come across an entertainment site. “Whoops,” I said as I tried to back out of it, then I noticed a short piece on a new movie directed by someone named Kimberly Peirce. Well, a chick directing an entire movie by herself. You’ve come a long way, baby. As I read further I found the movie is sort of a war movie called Stop-Loss, and it’s about a young man who goes AWOL after he is ordered back to Iraq even though he has fulfilled his military obligation. Ho ho, I thought, what will these Hollywood people come up with next? First it was the zany, loopiness of Oliver Stone’s JFK, and now this. I understand that movies are fantasy, but shouldn’t they at least be a little bit plausible? Imagine, any US administration being so bereft of morals as to force someone back into a war zone and imagine the citizens of the US allowing them to do it. Fuggedaboudit. Never happens. Oh, except it does.

Apparently Stop-loss is the involuntary extension of a soldier’s service contract and was brought in to the US Legal Code just after the Vietnam War. It wasn’t used until the first Persian Gulf War and has been used many times since. The weird thing is, the citizens of the US don’t seem to mind. Let’s take the latest war as an example. How many of the young people who volunteered following the 9/11 attacks knew that they would not be exclusively going after the people who attacked the United States, but would also be put into harms way by an administration that was swinging wild, and once the time they volunteered for was up the administration could say, “Hold on there, pal. You got to stay. You’re not dead yet.” You would think that people would be rioting in the streets. I mean, if you try to take their handguns away, then you have a fight, but if you force their child to stay in Iraq longer than they were supposed to and they come home mutilated, that’s alright. That seems messed up to me.

I have read that one way to get out of the Stop-Loss thing is if a soldier agrees to an involuntary stay of twelve to fifteen months on the front-lines along with a three month “out-process” period. Twelve to fifteen months. I believe that if you add up all the military service times of the top Bush administration people it comes to less than five minutes so I guess that’s fair. Not. And somehow it only seems right that the chicken-hawks would be the ones to decide to extend someone else’s military service.

I suppose at the time, George W Bush was drunk and most of the rest of the chicken-hawks were hiding in university but I read that when vice-president Dick Cheney was asked why he hadn’t volunteered to go to Vietnam he said that he had had better things to do (the quote is, "I had other priorities in the sixties than military service." The Washington Post - March 14, 1989) Well there were 54,000 US casualties in Vietnam and I’ll bet they all had better things to do too. And I’ll bet that the 4000+ US dead and who-knows-how-many wounded and crippled in the US's Iraq adventure all had better things to do as well. I guess it’s like Dick so famously said on the news recently, “So?” That’s not being anti-American and hating democracy, is it, Dick? Right.

Anyway… Humouroceros

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