Stop-loss was a national disgrace used by Bush to force soldiers to stay in his disastrous war in Iraq. It's hard to believe that conservatives who make a big deal of supposedly supporting soldiers would screw them this way. In keeping this promise, Obama has done a very good deed for those who serve in the military.
|"Stop-loss" stopped in early 2011
Updated: Friday, November 4th, 2011 | By Louis Jacobson
During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to take several steps to ease fatigue among military service members, both active and reserve, after years of frequent deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of those steps, specifically targeted at Reserve and National Guard members, was to "end the 'stop-loss' program of forcing troops to stay in service beyond their expected commitments."
Ending the stop-loss policy was initially set in motion under President George W. Bush and has been carried out by both Bush and Obama. In March 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the policy would be phased out by early 2011.
And on June 15, 2011, Gates told a Senate subcommittee that stop-loss had indeed ended.
The men and women who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan have made many sacrifices over the last seven years, including repeated and extended combat deployments. So it is very good news that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has decided to phase out the deeply unpopular stop-loss program, which forces soldiers to remain in the military after their enlistments end.
An estimated 120,000 troops have been affected since 2001, including 13,000 who are still prevented from exiting the service. It is hard to argue with critics who deride the program as a back-door draft. But then, the all-volunteer military was never designed to be abused as it was during the Bush administration: indefinitely deployed and in permanent crisis mode.
Mr. Gates seemed appropriately contrite when he told reporters that holding so many soldiers against their will was “breaking faith.” He was right.