Sunday, March 30, 2008

Stop-Loss Policy: No Secret to Enlistees

I'm seeing more reviews coming out on "Stop-Loss," the new Iraq war film by Kimberly Peirce (the New York Times' review is here).


I've thought about the film a great deal. For one thing, the movie's considered a work apart from other recent cinematic efforts on Iraq. It's well-acted and heartfelt, and raises questions people should be thinking about, issues that turn around and rebut the antiwar message of the film.

Specifically, we have an all-volunteer military. We do not have a draft, and the Pentagon's "stop-loss" policy is not a "backdoor draft," in contrast the major premise of the movie.

I raised these points my initial review,
"Stop-Loss": The Thinking Man's Antiwar Movie?" For example:

...there's some power in this movie, which is worth seeing and evaluating. In addition to the gritty realism of the battles scenes, the movie's well-acted, particulary as seen in Phillippe's Staff Sgt. King. In Phillippe's hands, King comes off as a vigorous all-America fighter, in Iraq and on the streets back home, where his realizes his personal beliefs have been betrayed.I disagree with those beliefs, which is that the Pentagon's stop-loss policy is tantamount to a "backdoor draft," and that's the major problem with this movie (and where I can understand LGF's dismissal of the film).

We have an all-volunteer service, so when young Americans sign up to fight they go on the basis of choice and volition. Contractually, soldiers can be recalled to battle, and to be shocked, as Phillippe's King is when told he's returning to Iraq, is disingenuous, if not outright storytelling fraud.

Sure, families have been hit hard by the separations, the battle injuries, and the war dead. But the the consequences of joining the service are known in advance. Soldiers are not victims, no matter how hard the anitwar left tries to make us believe.
Plus, the film's gripping opening scene of battle provides a realistic portrait of the constraints on American fighters, who chase insurgents in urban environs peopled by civilians - old men, women, and children - who are then used murderously as human shields by the Iraqi terrorist fighters. No wonder many Americans have trouble adapting upon return home. Even the hardest warrior wants to battle legitimate enemy combatants, not civilians pawns who're sacrificed by Iraqi militias to keep the insurgency alive.

One of concern I had is with new Army recruitees' knowledge of the stop-loss policy. A major flaw in the movie's in how Ryan Phillippe's Staff Sgt. Brandon King makes it seem as if he didn't know he could be sent back to Iraq. Frankly, this premise is totally untenable. It's an attempt by the director to make the soldiers look like victims, when they are not.

But check out
Urban Grounds' clarification of this question:

My little brother and I enlisted in the US Army together in August of 1990. The recruiter who signed us up went over our contract with us very thoroughly.

As the United States had just declared war on Iraq, he also explained the portion of our enlistment contract that detailed the Army’s Stop-Loss policy.

While I knew plenty of Soldiers who didn’t like the policy, I didn’t know any who didn’t know about it and that it was a part of their enlistment contract.

Which is why I think that the new movie
Stop Loss is just another piece of Liberal anti-war, anti-military rhetoric.
"Stop-Loss" is liberal and antiwar, but it's not useless in its message, as I've indicated.

We will not doubt be seeing more impartial movies of Iraq. The war still rages, of course, so there's no opportunity for historical distance. But when conserservative critics,
like that at Libertas, fail to analyze the totality of the film, nuances are lost in the outrage of opposition:

What is possibly left to say about a poorly produced, poorly acted, poorly directed, and very poorly written anti-war film that defames our troops…?
Read the whole review, much of which is agreeable. It does bear some consideration, of course, to think about the sacrifice of our soldiers, and to reiterate the military service is on a volunteer basis, and we might have less angst over the war if more people actually supported to decision for young Americans to join up and fight in the first place.

See Reihan Salam's essay, "
Why Stop-Loss Matters," for more reflections along these lines.


Anonymous said...

Why would a government adopt a policy of stop loss after a major conflcit. It's brutal on our forces whether it's being discloused or not. I don't agree with the policy because it's socialst in nature. When secret societies dictate our war policies so that their children are excluded from war , we have abandoned our democratic process to allow a submersive process of collusion to dictate our nations
war policies. Don't we have a right to know how our government works ?

Is the military program of Stop Loss directly related to the repercussion of Watergate and should these policies be halted ? When Mark Felt { Deep Throat } leaked the information that a policy of war had been signed into our Executive that would exclude certain members and sectors of our society from having to serve in the military , are the current policies of Stop Loss what they had in mind ? Although the Stop Loss policy has some redeeming benefits , it's long term goals are mainly responsible for the fatigue and exhaustion of our current troops. The personal effort in the military has become so desperate that you have some soldiers serving in war zones while taking psychological medications and sleeping pills. Considering the long and short term effects of this policy , it appears genocidal in nature and unfair to the military personnel that have so boldly volunteered to serve and defend our country. Please take a minute through the holiday season and think about the people defending your nation and write your legislators and demand the program of Stop Loss be stopped.

Reference = All The President's Men / Un Censored - Warner Editions 1st Edition - ( Simon And Shuster are all Censored )
Reported the Mark Felt Leaked that A System To Delete The Need For War was signed into the Executive and that a Black Operational Government had been incorporated into our government.