A lawsuit will be filed in federal court on Monday by the Center for Constitutional Rights, representing a group of eight US soldiers who are angered
that they are not being allowed to return home for good after fullfilling the terms of their one-year contracts. The Army policy has barred thousands
of soldiers from leaving Iraq, despite terms of enlistment being satisfactorily completed. The soldiers have been seeking legal help through late
night internet searches, email inquires and through phone calls with family back at home.
The eight soldiers come from places scattered across the country, from this small town an hour northwest of Little Rock to cities in Arizona, New
Jersey and New York. In Iraq and Kuwait, where they all work now, most of them hold different jobs in different units, miles apart. Most have never
But the eight share a bond of anger: each says he has been prevented from coming home for good by an Army policy that has barred thousands of soldiers
from leaving Iraq this year even though the terms of enlistment they signed up for have run out. And each of these eight soldiers has separately taken
the extraordinary step of seeking legal help, through late-night Internet searches and e-mail inquiries from their camps in the conflict zone, or
through rounds of phone calls by an equally frustrated wife or mother back home.
Last spring, the Army instituted the policy for all troops headed to Iraq and Afghanistan, called it a way to promote continuity within deployed units
and to avoid bringing new soldiers in to fill gaps left in units by those who would otherwise have gone home when their enlistments ran out. If a
soldier's unit is still in Iraq or Afghanistan, that soldier cannot leave even when his or her enlistment time runs out.
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I completely agree with this, because hey, a contract is a contract. Stick to it. They have fullfilled the terms of their contract and now it is time
for the government to fullfill theirs by letting them return home when the contract said they would.
Imagine going to war, managing to live through it, knowing every day that you only have a short time to go before you're out and back home. Then the
time comes, and wham. The government keeps you there, against the contract, and no doubt, against your will.
IMO, it's one thing to ask the soldiers, or maybe even pressure them somewhat to stay, knowing that by bringing in new recruits it may possibly
endanger the lives of the more savvy veterans. But to go back on their word, and force them to stay? This is where I draw the line, and I feel
especially bad for these soldiers. Not to mention the sheer havoc it must cause on morale.
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