Military Justice

Posted: December 08, 2004

We had just about become numb to frivolous, hair-brained lawsuits - until David Qualls raised his head from out of a foxhole.

Qualls is one of eight active-duty National Guard soldiers who are mad that they must spend more time in the service than they bargained for.

That's because in June the Pentagon initiated the "stop-loss" program, which can extend enlistments during national emergencies and war. About 7,000 soldiers have had their service extended.

Qualls, a truck driver, says it's "a question of fairness." He has served his one-year stint, plus five months, and feels "that it's time to let me go back to my wife."

But the Army says it's a question of reading the contract's fine print. It says the time of service could change under existing laws.

The soldiers' lawyers dubbed it "bait and switch," a way to bring in fresh recruits, then stick them with a longer term than expected. It's a back-door draft.

You already know how we feel about this war in Iraq. But the lawsuit filed by Qualls and his fellow soldiers galls us. If you signed up, you're committed.

Period. *

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