Monday, December 29, 2003

SOLDIERS' PAY. From Phil Carter's very thoughtful weblog, a Washington Post story on how the Army's using a little-known maneuver to keep soldiers on duty for longer than they expected:
According to their contracts, expectations and desires, all three soldiers should have been civilians by now. But Fontaine and Costas are currently serving in Iraq, and Eagle has just been deployed. On their Army paychecks, the expiration date of their military service is now listed sometime after 2030 -- the payroll computer's way of saying, "Who knows?"

The three are among thousands of soldiers forbidden to leave military service under the Army's "stop-loss" orders, intended to stanch the seepage of troops, through retirement and discharge, from a military stretched thin by its burgeoning overseas missions.

"It reflects the fact that the military is too small, which nobody wants to admit," said Charles Moskos of Northwestern University, a leading military sociologist.

We pay our servicemen shit; it's so bad that Wisconsin is contemplating chipping in to make up the difference between its native sons' and daughters' military pay and a living wage! And now we're holding 'em over by special request.

To be fair, an across-the-board pay raise is in the works. But it ain't much. Yes, I know that in time of war (however nebulously defined), troops may expect to be held over. But since everyone over in Iraq loves us (a highly-placed source tells me, and everyone), you'd think we'd need fewer rather than more troops.

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