Wednesday, December 2, 2009


by 13 Stoploss

Sergeant So and So of the United States Army called me this morning. He asked how I was, very open-endedly. Seizing the moment to shove that trash back in his face, I told him I was in school and loving it. I could practically see him reading down a list of approved responses when he asked me what I was studying and where. I told him journalism at UC Irvine and that he should look into school himself.

He laughed, and was not controlling the conversation very well. I could tell he was new to this, and was a little timid.

I asked him if he was local. He laughed, said “yeah,” and he asked me if I was having any trouble paying for school.


This dude didn’t even know I was a veteran? I thought he was trying to get me back in, but he was just trying to get me in—like I was some poor student affected by the recent 32% tuition increase to the UC.

I asked him if he’s heard of Chapter 33. You know, the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

“Nah, I haven’t.”

“Ahh, that’s too bad, bro. I get 100% tuition, $1000 a year for books, and E5 BAH with dependents. In Orange and LA County, that’s $2152 per month just to go to school. You should really look into it—it’s a pretty sweet deal. Beats calling punk ass kids on the phone.”

He laughed again and told me to have a nice morning.

But that’s not all. Stupid Kory texted me this morning. He said I should get my disability before they try to recruit me again. I thought he was commenting on my Facebook status, but he was actually just telling me what happened to him last night. Despite moving to Michigan with his girlfriend, Stupid Kory still gets called by California recruiters.

“They were telling me I had to go back. I told them I was 70% [disabled], and they said never mind and hung up on me like stupid bastards.”

What really bothers me about all this is when I interpret this in the context of Obama’s speech last night on Afghanistan. VetVoice raised some pretty good questions about the 30k troop increase, specifically where are they going to come from if there is no simultaneous drawdown in Iraq, a phasing out of stop loss, and an effort to match dwell time to deployment? None of it adds up—just like the health care bill. It’s irresponsible to promise something that doesn’t exist. Any Army people remember having to sit through check writing classes because so many soldiers were bouncing checks?

Uh oh.

Unless there’s a draft, this check is going to bounce. In my old unit, that was an automatic Article 15. Think the President cares about an Article 15?

I’m predicting BOHICA—either to deployed soldiers in the form of 18 month deployments and 9 month dwell time, or to the American public. This means you—Radical Student Union, Muslim Student Union, and other similar spoiled teenage protesters!

PS - Sorry for the remixes. Can't find the real version.


Anonymous said...

Well, I've been a socialist and a liberal activist; unfortunately never had the chance to be a spoiled teenager... you're right, the numbers don't look good. These are real lives and real people; it's not the same as running a budget deficit.
It's mess, Stoploss. Apparently, it's a hell of a lot easier to start a war than stop one.
One of the jobs of a liberal activist is to keep wars from starting... we didn't. Kids like you were at the time listened to the guy in office who was waving the flag and beating the drums... you guys listened. Patriotism turned into a pissing contest. What can I say? I'm sorry. z

13 Stoploss said...


I believe in fighting for what one believes in, so I support the right to petition government. But I don't believe activism stops or prevents politicians from enacting their plans. In fact, I don't think it helps in the slightest. Many people will see this as pessimistic--I agree it isn't optimistic--but it seems to me that protesting is just a form of complaining and whining. Doesn't matter how much you whine, Mom and Dad are not going to give you a cookie.

I hope you understand me well enough to know Im not criticizing political groups as a whole, but more of the young and spoiled do-no-gooders who wave their signs and nothing else. As a result of your response, I slightly edited the groups I'm "looking at."

Next, kids like me did not listen to the guy in office waving the flag ( has the history of this disaffected young kid who just wanted to marry his girlfriend and go to college). kids like me needed a roof to live under, a decent paycheck to afford a car, and the promise to have post service schooling paid for. My decision has never been patriotic. I listened to the beat of my own need and did something about it.

It's cruel and assholish and spiteful, but I'm laughing that the recruiters are trying to get me. There are enough assholes out there like me who will not join, and if this "mission" does not get the personnel that some general feels is necessary (no amount of military personnel will fix a political problem), then eventually, a draft will be necessary. And those young kids I mentioned above will be caught in the net.

I'd like to see them protest when it happens.

13 Stoploss said...

Also, in the words of my favorite dead comedian:

"I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it."

Joe said...

I think we'll see what we did 2/3 years ago where the doors open to anyone. 3 attempted murders? Beat your wife? Tattoos across your face? Get in here!

Anonymous said...

I've often wondered if the reason the pro-war people have gotten away this one so well is because it's a volunteer military. Like many of my generation, I felt the draft was unjust. Ultimately, it was this injustice which pissed off the public enough to stop that war. That war, too, was impossible to win with military strength. Would it have stopped any other way??
I, too, would like to see protest if the draft were reinstated. I have been pissed about the UC protesters. They are screaming "foul" at rate increases; but haven't lifted a finger about the war or anything else... giving a damn has gone out of style. I am painting with too broad a brush, I'm sure.

My oldest, (your age) toyed with the notion of joining as a teen; partly to see if it would pull my chain, and partly for the reasons you described. I told her the decision was up to her, and to remember that as a result of that decision she may be someday asked to kill somebody. To my relief, she did not join.
I have seen activism stop politicians. It does take a balls-out sustained effort over the long haul, however. I have attempted to build my life around the quote of Margaret Mead about the ability of the committed individual to change society.
I am deriving a tremendous amount of hope from the voices of vets.
True activism means awareness of the consequences of ones' own actions and making an informed choice
I don't think there has ever been voices this clear in a war before. Your own actions are changing the path of society. You're speaking with thought and reason.

I have no idea why society wants to eat its' young. z

KathyB said...

BOHICA must be an insider thing, no clue what it means. That's okay though. Too bad you can't put the recruiters on a no call list. Economic conscription as a term was coined during the post Vietnam recession. My ex toyed with going back in as a warrant officer. I am afraid that too many of our fellow citizens look upon service members as part mercenary and part patriot. The youngsters have a hard time distinguishing between video games and reality.

Youngsters in a soft world see it as unreal. The young who don't expect to get old are too shut down to care. Hard to make either of them really listen.

I looked out at the cadets at West Point, most of them fighting hard to stay awake, and wondered how many would do time in a war zone. Career officers work hard at getting assignments to advance the career, not to play ninety day wonder.

All we know for sure is that the picture isn't going to get pretty. And I am sorry every hour of every day that so many are enduring their terms of service in my name.

Anonymous said...

Good post, 13, but you should consider the role the military draft played in the US withdrawal from Vietnam. If the US had a professional military back then, it still might engaged. The US public will remain apathetic as long as it has no skin in the game. US career politicians have finally realized this and so needs its professional military force to achieve political goals. Obama's vision of required national service for US youth could increase the size of the US volunteer military to meet these goals, while giving the majority of 18 year olds the option of paid national service in nonmilitary areas of national need.

13 Stoploss said...

"I have no idea why society wants to eat its' young."

You got me, Z. I've held onto this for a couple days. A brilliant thought, and I have nothing.


"mercenary" is a thought I've toyed with for several years. I was paid to do what I would never have normally done. therefore, in the simplest of ways, my allegiance was to the dollar. now, obviously, I'm not for the highest bid, and I would never fight against my country... still, though, money talks--I needed it, and Sam paid me.


I'd like to believe there's something in the water, or falling from the sky. I'd like to believe that explains why my generation is so content or calm or inactive. I don't believe we will see the amount or number of social protest like we did then. unfortunately, there are no more military goals unless we create them. a military cannot win a political fight. I'll not support that fight. from my computer.

Anonymous said...

BOHICA? Here comes BOAGYAW. Jase, I saw Obama's speech about the Afghan surge and thought that we've got LBJ in Technicolor. He was the hope vs. Goldwater when I was in my early teens. He gave us civil rights but screwed us with Vietnam. I see the same bullshit pattern unfolding AGAIN and AGAIN. The way I figure it, if the gov't lied about Iraq, then they've lied about Afghanistan. But I beg to differ, though re protest. Look at the role protesting played in US civil rights movement. So you see, it isn't all WHINING. Trouble is, the media is controlled by the right wing and the average Joe and Jill 6-pak are asleep, big time. I'm in agreement that an OFFICIAL (as opposed to a back door- and an economic-)draft would get more people off their asses and work to end the war. And BOAGYAW? Bend Over And Get YOUR Ass Wiped, as in the British, the Russians, Alex the Great, and several others got theirs wiped in Afghanistan, as will the US. No win THERE, anymore than in Iraq. But then again there are no winners in a war, only victims, flags and parades notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

But though I say an OFFICIAL draft would get people of their asses and acting against the wars, I'm against it because it would give the MICC an unlimited source of cannon fodder.