Check out John Robb’s post about keeping volunteers in the army after they’re due to go home (short summary–they change the rules to say “Nope–you have to stay indefinitely now, can’t go home.”). I’m not pointing this out as a commentary on the war in Iraq, but I am making the distinction that this “stop loss” policy comes dangerously close to conscription (the draft).

As Robert Heinlein said in 1961, “I also think there are prices too high to pay to save the United States. Conscription is one of them. Conscription is slavery, and I don’t think that any people or nation has a right to save itself at the price of slavery for anyone, no matter what name it is called. We have had the draft for twenty years now; I think this is shameful. If a country can’t save itself through the volunteer service of its own free people, then I say: Let the damned thing go down the drain!”

This from an ultra patriot, radical conservative, military veteran who campaigned for Goldwater.