Monday, October 03, 2005


Santiago v. Rumsfeld: Armed Forces Stop-Loss Order Upheld

The allegedly liberal U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the Army's ability to hold members of the Armed Services past the expiration of their military contracts under the infamous stop-loss order despite it violating the letter of Contract Law. This case involved a Emiliano Santiago who joined the Oregon Army National Guard in 1996 for an eight year enlistment. Santiago learned on June 11, 2004 that he was the subject of an Army stop-loss order, which meant he would not be separating from the Army National Guard on June 27, 2004 as he had expected. In October 2004, his unit received order to mobilized to go to Fort Sill in Oklahoma to prepare for a one-year mission in Afghanistan set to start January 2, 2005.

After retaining legal counsel to contact the military about his formal separation from the military, Santiago was informed that his estimated termination of service date had changed to December 24, 2031. The appellate court relied on vague language in the contract that basically says that a servicemembers conduct will be governed by many laws, regulations, and many customs that will force a member to do things that a civilian would not do to uphold the stop-loss order. This is a sad day in America because we have effectively instituted a draft for those whose terms of service legally end but the government can ignore the bargain that they made.

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