Soldier Sues Over Extended Stay in Iraq

8-18-04 - SAN FRANCISCO (AP) For the first time, a soldier is suing the government over the program that bars him from leaving the military when his time is up. The official name is the "stop-loss" program. Critics call it the "backdoor draft."

The unidentified California Army National Guard sergeant filed the federal suit in San Francisco. The program, created after Nine-Eleven, could keep up to 20,000 soldiers beyond their enlistment terms.

The soldier's attorney says his client was ordered to stay in Iraq last year beyond his commitment. The man, with more than a decade of service with the Marines, agreed to resign and make a one-year commitment to the Army National Guard. But the Army has extended that by up to two years, and he could go back to Iraq.