Well, there's really no other word for it, is there?
WASHINGTON June 30, 2004 -- For the first time in more than a decade, the Army is forcing thousands of former soldiers back into uniform, a reflection of the strain on the service of long campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army officials on Wednesday announced that 5,674 former soldiers mostly people who recently left the service and have up-to-date skills in military policing, engineering, logistics, medicine or transportation will be assigned to National Guard and Reserve units that are scheduled to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan. The first notifications are to be received July 6. They will be put on active duty for a minimum of 12 months and mostly likely for 18 months. The Pentagon's policy is to not keep troops in Iraq or Afghanistan for more than 12 months.
Robert Smiley, the Army secretary's principal aide on troop training and mobilization, told a Pentagon news conference that more former soldiers, in addition to the 5,674, are likely to get called up next year. He said he could not estimate the number but would not rule out that it would be thousands. [...] People in the Individual Ready Reserve are distinct from the National Guard and Reserve because they do not perform regularly scheduled training and are not paid as reservists, but they are eligible to be recalled in an emergency because their active duty hitches did not complete the service obligation in their enlistment contracts. It is the first sizable activation of the Individual Ready Reserve since the 1991 Gulf War, though several hundred people have voluntarily returned to service since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Interestingly enough, the old name for the IRR was the Inactive Ready Reserve. The IRR was to be the fourth line behind active duty, the military reserves, and the National Guard. Rumsfeld changed the name from Inactive to Individual when it became obvious that Inactive was the one thing that the Ready Reserve would not be in the near future. (One would also suspect that they would be surprised to hear that the reason they're being activated is that their commitment wasn't completed -- the contracts typically expressly stipulate that four or five years will be active duty, and the rest of the eight will be either Reserves or Ready Reserves -- but that's another issue.)
With nearly 6,000 people involuntarily forced back into the military, there's really nothing else to call it but conscription. A draft. In an odd way, they're forcing a situation onto the military that it hoped to avoid; yes, these people are better trained than your average inductee of the past, but they don't want to be there any more than those inductees. You're giving the army a cadre of people who will be resentful and angry, and for an even better cause than the draftees of the past; they thought they had served their country well and with honor, and were done. Now they discover that because they volunteered to serve their country in the past, they're being forced to do so in the present.Posted by iain at June 30, 2004 02:20 PM