Sunday, January 28, 2007

So. Many. Idiots.

Opponents of the war in Iraq are so determined to complain about a draft that they complain despite that little annoying technicality that we don't have a draft:

In an action branded a backdoor draft by some critics, the military over the past several years has held tens of thousand of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines on the job and in war zones beyond their retirement dates or enlistment length.

It is a widely disliked practice that the Pentagon, under new Defense Secretary Robert Gates, is trying to figure out how to cut back on.

Gates has ordered that the practice — known as "stop loss" — must "be minimized." At the same time, he is looking for ways to decrease the hardship for troops and their families, recruit more people for a larger military and reassess how the active duty and reserves are used.

Stop-loss isn't ideal. But it isn't a draft. It is a means of maintaining unit integrity by keeping individuals in a unit deploying rather than cripple the unit by letting experienced people go only to be replaced by new people right when the unit is going into combat. It saves lives.

Soldiers don't like this. I don't blame them. But it is part of the enlistment contract they signed.

It is good that the Department of Defense will try to reduce the need for stop-loss. But this is not a "back-door draft." Opponents of the war are not discouraged by a lack of a draft and so cast their net widely to call something a draft. They think they found something with stop-loss by calling it a "backdoor draft." They've been calling stop-loss a backdoor draft for years now. Repetition has not made the term any more accurate.

"Backdoor draft" is a term branded "really, really stupid" by some critics.

But it is a target-rich environment. Why I don't drink excessively is beyond me given the idiocy I read nearly every day from people who lack the semblance of a clue about military matters.