Saturday, May 29

: "By David H. Hackworth

Top military managers insist that our all-volunteer Army isnt stretched too thin from this countrys heavy and hazardous commitment to hot spots like Iraq and Afghanistan and cooler places in another 131 countries around Planet Earth. They spout positive numbers like carnival hucksters, hyping enlistment and re-enlistment rates they keep insisting are at an all-time high.

Loyalty, patriotism and seeing the results of successfully accomplishing their missions are the key factors in this success, said Col. Elton Manske, an Army personnel chief in the Pentagon.

Except thats exactly 180 degrees out from what hundreds of soldiers have told me during the past few weeks.

It also doesn't square with the fact that the Army is currently extending 44,000 soldiers under stop-loss provisions which, like a form of the draft, arbitrarily keep a soldier in service beyond the agreed-upon term of enlistment.

'Stop loss is not only a breach of contract, its a form of slavery,railed a Special Forces (SF) senior noncommissioned officer. There's a tidal wave of folks getting out. ... The number of senior SF NCOs leaving is amazing. Our battalion had three of five sergeant-majors retire, and our sister battalion had two of five. The number of master sergeants was well into double digits. I predict that the exodus will devastate the senior NCO corps at a time when experience and stability are most needed. "

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