Monday, April 11, 2005

Honesty and Stop Loss

Sent the following out to every Washington State Representative and Senator whose address I could find as well as the governor and others in authority.

Then sent it to every U.S. Senator and Representative whose address I could find as well as the Pentagon, Rumsfeld, and the Bush administration.

Dear Senator/Representative

I want to write and encourage you to explore legislation at the state or national level that requires a formal presentation of the Stop-Loss Pentagon policy as it is applied to enlistment contracts into the Guard, Reserves and active-duty of all military organizations.

When one buys a house or car the signing includes an assortment of paperwork that involves among other things a paper trail of full faith and disclosure. The idea is that the buyer or borrower is required to formally declare and acknowledge that he/she has had all the implications of the contract explained and understands them.

The issues brought up in the recent Santiago vs. Rumsfeld case magnify that - among other things - those who sign on the bottom line are generally in or just out of high school with limited experience in the world of employment, self-sustenance and dealing with the consequences of decisions which may or not be decisions of the moment driven by impulse.

As it is, our high schools have become something you and I never had to deal with in our lives - mandatory attendance and presence in what is literally shark-infested waters where military recruiters enjoy open-season with unrelenting aggressiveness towards our children at school.

I am employed as a social worker for the state of Washington. Last month I had occasion to interview a young man a year out of high school - a young man still considering college, trade school or immediate employment. I asked him how often recruiters contact him.

He did not hesitate. "2-3 times a day every day."

Recruiters hiding behind the No Child Left Behind and preying on families who are very poorly informed about opting out of recruitment efforts are more and more becoming the public face of a desperate and cynical Pentagon that appears more and more to be the senior hucksters trying to maintain unreasonable quotas at the expense of truth.

A "read-this-before-you-sign" requirement with its implied session of "truth-in-lending" would give greater credence to those who defend Stop-Loss with the disingenuous "They knew what they were getting into."

Further, it would remove some of the sense of victimhood presented by these young soldiers as well as the sense among their families that the soldier AND the family have been HAD.

Such legislation is very much in harmony with current tenets of American capitalism that facilitate aggressive marketing and public disclosure. It would also, I believe, help to inculcate among those who do understand Stop-Loss and go ahead and sign the enlistment contract a sense of genuine sincerity and appreciation of what they are laying on the line.

It would help the signing to become almost the commencement moment of an act of patriotism genuine in its purpose.

Again, I encourage you to work within your legislative houses to draw up and pass something that goes way beyond the simple and shallow "Support the Troops" bumper stickers and that involves recruits and their families more fully in such an important participative moment at a time of national emergency.

Otherwise, Stop-Loss as currently administered and justified is a simple and fraudulent deception with deadly consequences.

I'd be happy to discuss this with you at your convenience.

Arthur Ruger
Bay Center, WA

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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