Sunday, January 28, 2007

Soldiers feeling duped and deceived?

Yes. What else do you want to know?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- 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.

"It's long overdue," said Jules Lobel, vice president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and lawyer for some in the military who have challenged the policy in court.

"It has created terrible problems of morale," Lobel said last week. "It has in some cases made soldiers feel that they were duped or deceived in how they were recruited."

And a reminder of the barrel the military has been scraping, the recalling to duty of reservists, the lies they've had to tell to teenagers and potential recruits, the parents and soldiers who are saying no.

So duped and deceived? Yes.

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