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...penny for the guy - Elizabeth Unexplained
Lots of data but no answers
...penny for the guy
Please to remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

It seems apt, things aren't going my way today.

In other Anglophile news, three soldiers from the Black Watch were killed by a suicided bomber in Iraq. Its rather interesting reading news from the BBC website, and then listening to news radio in this country. In some of the BBC stories folks in the UK were convinced that moving the Black Watch into US controlled territory in Iraq last week was some nefarious political scheme on the part of the UK government to help Bush out before the election. Sure, it sounds like a good accusation to make, but it doesn't make any sense given that 99.99% of people in the US wouldn't give a damn even if they knew. The troup move wasn't exactly headline news in the US, even on the more reputable new services. Besides, its a 900 person regiment and the US has lost more soldier than that already in the war. I'm sure even most of my friends know very little about the regiment and its nearly 300 year history, so the chances of the average American voter caring at all are just about nil.

A lot reporting bothers me more and more these days. Mostly its just that the reporters seem so darn stupid. They'll happily report about how so-and-so said such-and-such is a politcal move to affect something, without any critical look at whether or not this is actually plausable. For an example from this country there's the way media in this country quotes people talking about the "back door draft" about how reservists keep getting called up to go to Iraq. Now I think that W was rushing things at the very least when he went to Iraq, but using the reserves is not a "back door draft". If you're in the reserves you can get called up and sent into a war zone, that's part of the deal, even if the guy giving the order is an idiot. The media is happy, however, to put these talking heads on the air or in print without challenging anything that comes out of their mouths. Its like if I put code in production without unit testing it first, or worse,
put someone else's code in production without testing it.

Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

5 comments or Leave a comment
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: November 5th, 2004 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I thought that the "back door draft" more specifically referred to the stop-loss policy, so that when you're deployed to Iraq you can't leave the Army when your normal enlistment period is up.

i.e. a draft by tacking enlistment onto the end of the time of the people who are already there, rather than enlisting new people.

Now, maybe the reservists are supposed to know about that too, the way they're supposed to know that they might get used as troops if we go to war. I only knew the latter and not the former, myself, before I heard of it as a "back door draft"
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: November 6th, 2004 01:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I heard it specifically in regards to reservists. Its my understanding (from Warren) that in the US most military service is N years of active duty followed by N years in the reserve. If they're keeping people in the army there after their active duty is up, its because these people are no longer on active duty, but are eligible to be called to serve as reservists. They can't keep anyone beyond the reserve years. The thing about being in the reserves is that its really the same as being in the military if you're needed.

Its not like being in the British army where you just sign up for either 7 or 9 years and then you're completely free to go. That system makes more sense to me, and it might be how you'd think it would work in the US, but its not.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: November 6th, 2004 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)

I guess I prove your point. :)
countertorque From: countertorque Date: November 9th, 2004 01:46 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank You

It is my understanding that "back door draft" specifically refers to keeping people in active duty when their time is up.

It was my understanding that people could be kept on active duty even if they did not owe any reserve time after they got out, in certain situations. I could be wrong; I never went and looked it up or anything. But, no matter what the rules are, it's stupid to call it a draft. It happens all the time, whether we are at war or not.

Some submarine officers and enlisted that I worked with were kept in the Navy past the end of their active duty for various reasons. In fact, my own service was in danger of being extended because my boat decomissioned. My time wasn't up, so I was sent to another boat. The Navy has a rule that you must spend 1 year at a new command if they go to the expense of sending you there. So, if I had less than a year left, I'd have been extended to meet that requirement. There weren't any other options.
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: November 9th, 2004 07:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank You

You probably know better than I do about the US military. My information is coming from my husband, who was in the Navy in the early-mid 80s, and I've probably oversimplified from what he told me. I know that officers can certainly be kept longer in certain circumstances. For example, Warren had to agree to an extra year of active duty in order to get the position he had at Naval Reactors. He also says he also put in a little extra time in the reserves because he forgot to officially resign, which he had to do as an officer. It wasn't a big deal for him though, he ended up working at Naval Reactors for a few more years as a civilian anyway.

If you're interested, Warren put together a little article on this because he found himself explaining it again and again online.
5 comments or Leave a comment