Joe Hendren

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Conscription already a reality in the US

The American war machine is so desperate for numbers it has resorted to a form of backdoor conscription.

A US solider has been jailed on criminal charges in Georgia for writing and recording a rap song that blasts the army and describes going on a shooting spree. Marc A Hall used music to vent his anger after being told he was not allowed to leave the army after four years this February as he had planned, and he would be forced to remain in the ranks for a year-long tour of Iraq starting in December 2009.

The 'stop-loss' policy is the involuntary extension of a service member's active duty retaining them beyond their initial end of term of service. The policy originally dates from Vietnam, but was also used during the first Gulf War and the so called War on Terror. More than 185,000 U.S. troops have been forced to extend their time in the military since September 11. While there is a clause in recruitment contracts allowing involuntary extension to end of term service dates this clause has been subject to some legal challenge, interestingly on the basis that Congress never formerly declared war in the case of Gulf War II (Iraq). 'Involuntary' means it is a form of conscription in all but name.

One can see how soliders who ask to leave could be treated. "No, we will keep you here for another 12 months under stop-loss - if we can't think of a suitably 'brave' mission, I think the bomb disposal squad requires some more recruits" (read cannon fodder)

In 2007 Secretary of Defence Robert Gates ordered military bosses to minimise their use of mandatory tour extensions, and the military responded by increasing its use of stop-loss by 43%.

The Canadian Press reports:
Hall posted the song, called "Stop Loss," on his Web site. Klimaski said he also played it for many soldiers in his unit, the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division. On the recording, Hall denounces the Army for the policy used to keep thousands of soldiers in the ranks beyond their scheduled dates to leave the military. He also raps about opening fire with his military-issue M-4 rifle.

"I got a (expletive) magazine with 30 rounds, on a three-round burst, ready to fire down," Hall raps on the recording. "Still against the wall, I grab my M-4, spray and watch all the bodies hit the floor. I bet you never stop-loss nobody no more, in your next lifetime of course. No remorse."

"They're saying it's a threat. We're saying it's a fantasy," said Jim Klimaski, a Washington civilian attorney who has talked to Hall about the case. "He's mad, but he's not stupid. He's not violent."

I can't help but recall the episode of Blackadder the Forth, set in the Western Front in 1917, where everyone was preparing to go 'over the top'. Blackadder recalled that the traditional way to get out of the fighting was to pretend to be mad, by putting underpants on your head, sticking two pencils up your nose and saying 'wibble'.

As Blackadder said as his final words "Who would notice a madman around here?". Quite.

Update: You can hear Marc Hall's rap here. Predictably the 'shooting spree' as described by the media is only one or two lines of the song.

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At 9:51 am, Blogger Scott Kohlhaas said...

Stop-loss is a problem. The best solution is to never sign their contract in the first place.
Please visit for more info on the threat of a draft.

At 9:56 am, Blogger Joe Hendren said...

I agree Scott - hopefully highlighting Stop Loss will discourage more from signing up. Having less troops means the industrial military complex of the US is less likely to invade anywhere else (like Iran).


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