The Practical Nomad reports that:
Exhausting all means of getting people into uniform short of a draft, yesterday the USA Department of Defense published new regulations on Management and Mobilization of Regular and Reserve Retired Military Members (32 CFR 64, 71 Federal Register 19827-19829, 18 April 2006)…
…The only time in the last 40 years, before the current wars, that military retirees were recalled to active duty was during the crisis in military staffing in medical professions in the first USA-Iraq war in 1990-1991, when the call-ups of retirees began with retired physicians' assistants. The new regulations provide for the possible call-up of any and all retired soldiers, but the first call-ups of retirees are likely to be of those with medical or perhaps other specialized skills.
The DoD directive does, in fact, make anyone drawing military retirement pay eligible to be recalled to service at the pleasure of the Secretary of Defense, and they assigned to virtually any federal "wartime" position that the government deems fit. No further permission of Congress is required because such measures are already allowed under Title 10 of U.S. Code. It is not subject to review under numerous federal laws such as Unfunded Mandates Reform Act or the Regulatory Flexibility Act because, among other reasons, the cost isn't expected to exceed $100 million in any one year.
In other words, the life of every American citizen who retired honorably from the United States military is under the direct control of one Donald H. Rumsfeld.
We're over three years into the Iraq war and almost five years into the Global War on Terror. Why is the Secretary of Defense just now deciding he needs to draw on the retired military community? Why does the entire retired community need to be in the eligible pool? Why wasn't this directive announced at the DoD website, and why hasn't the mainstream media covered it?
A number of possible answers to these questions exist, of course, but the release of the directive on the heels of the well publicized revolt of the retired generals is timing too close to dismiss as pure coincidence.
While the retired generals critical of the war and Rumsfeld have received the most attention in the media, scores of military retirees of lower pay grades have voicing their displeasure with the administration and the Pentagon for years. As dissent began to disappear from traditional military publications--rumored to have been by the order Rumsfeld himself--many retired war critics took refuge in the Internet. My personal experience and anecdotal evidence shared by fellow military affairs writers indicate that numerous government agencies have been keeping tabs on web sites that regularly publish articles unfavorable to the war effort by military retirees and other veterans.
Just Because You're Paranoid…
Up until about two years ago, I'd have considered the kind of thing I'm suggesting is going on to be a wild eyed conspiracy theory. But given the Bush administration's track record for ruthlessly suppressing any and all political opposition, I find the notion that it is tracking military dissenters more likely than unlikely.
According to the just released directive, if the Department of Defense finds retirees it wants to shut up, all it has to do is call them back to active duty. It doesn't really matter how old or disabled the retirees are, or whether they have any specialty the DoD could possibly use, because Rumsfeld has essentially written himself a blank check to tap anyone he wants to.
Once retirees are back on active duty, they come under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and their constitutional rights--including the right to freedom of speech--are essentially stripped from them.
If retirees resist a call back to active duty, they'll be in violation of federal law and subject to criminal prosecution either under the UCMJ or civilian law. This would likely lead to, at the very least, loss of all retirement pay and benefits.
Does this sound like a trick too dirty for even the Bush administration to pull? Not to me it doesn't.
I doubt that Rumsfeld would pull this kind of number on the retired generals who have publicly called for his resignation. Their cases are already too high profile to sneak under the radar.
But if any of you lesser retired beings get a call in the middle of the night, please let somebody know about it.