People out there in Google search-box-land appear to be very upset about the movie Stop Loss. They keep furiously typing in the words, "Bullshit Stop Loss Movie" or "Stop Loss Movie Bullshit" into "The Google" and visiting this here media outlet (due to an earlier post about the movie). Many of those visitors have made a pretty moving case that the movie Stop Loss, out in Theaters on March 28th, is a load of hooey.
A little FAQ for everyone else joining the conversation:
What does Stop loss mean? The retention/extension of soldiers in the service beyond
their initial term.
What is this movie all about? From the Director of BOYS DON'T CRY, the movie is a fictional story about one otherwise obedient soldier's decision to either ship back to Iraq or go to Canada to avoid being stop lossed. The movie regards stop loss as a "loophole" in the soldier's contract and treats it as if it were a "Back Door Draft."
What is the controversy all about? As far as I can tell, the movie may or may not be misrepresenting the agreement between soldier and military. According to several veteran visitors to this blog, the military makes it pretty clear that the guys are signing an eight year agreement consisting of 4 years of active duty and 4 years of reserve duty and that the second part could easily mean active duty if the situation necessitates (i.e. they could be "stop lossed"). However, it has also been described (on Military.com, no less) as, "...an order forcing some members of the country's volunteer armed forces to remain in service beyond their contractually agreed-upon term." That could mean 8 years.
Still others describe stop loss as completely unrelated to that initial agreement of an 8 year term and more about paragraph 9c of the enlistment contract which states:
In the event of war, my enlistment in the Armed Forces continues until six (6) months after the war ends, unless my enlistment is ended sooner by the President of the United States.
As to whether the stop-loss policy itself is bullshit, I think it probably is. It appears that soldiers who have served 8 years ARE getting stop-lossed. One example features a soldier named
Emiliano Santiago who sued the government over the policy after he was extended beyond his eight year contract to December 25, 2031 - essentially forcing him to become a career military guy. He lost. Furthermore, who's to say when this war has actually ended? What defines that? The paragraph 9c of the service agreement was probably written during the times of traditional wars where one side wins and the other loses. We don't fight those wars anymore. No, when we fight wars now, everybody loses, nobody wins, and it doesn't truly end until we send everyone home minus whatever body part they had to leave behind. Which in the case of Iraq and a McCain presidency, that could easily be 2031.