I 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.
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
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
Bay Center, WA
© Arthur Ruger 2005