Significant draft avoidance was taking place even before the U. The large cohort of Baby Boomers allowed for a steep increase in the number of exemptions and deferments, especially for college and graduate students. The number of draft resisters in the United States was notably significant. According to Cortright, "Distinct from the millions who [avoided] the draft were the many thousands who resisted the conscription system and actively opposed the war". President Richard Nixon 's task force on the all-volunteer military reported in that the number of resisters was "expanding at an alarming rate" and that the government was "almost powerless to apprehend and prosecute them". In Australia enacted a draft for soldiers to send to Vietnam. From a growing force of conscientious objectors grew in Australia and by became openly popular due to a growing protest movement. Information campaigns were carried out by organizations like Students for a Democratic Society and Save Our Sons to spread information on how to avoid the draft. For example, conscription scholars Lawrence Baskir and William Strauss say that the Coast Guard may have served that purpose for some,  though they also point out that Coast Guardsmen had to maintain readiness for combat in Vietnam,  and that some Coast Guardsmen eventually served and were killed there. Other young men sought to evade the draft by avoiding or resisting any military commitment.
He played football in high school and was active in sports throughout college. He spent one summer as a lifeguard at a local pool. But after he graduated college in the spring of and became eligible for the draft and —possibly — combat duty in Vietnam, he received a diagnosis that let him avoid military service. The year was one of the bloodiest of the Vietnam conflict with , Americans drafted into military service — the second-highest during the war. Fifty-one years after the Summer of Love, the draft records of the sitting president, and at least one of the Democrats who want to replace him, are issues in the campaign. He served in the Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer, spending six months in Afghanistan. Moulton, a former Marine officer who served in Iraq, also accused Trump of dodging the draft. Military veterans running on their record of service is nothing new. The Moulton campaign, which was the first to highlight the draft issue, denies any intra-party purpose. The Biden and Buttigieg campaigns declined repeated requests for comment.
Tom Martin Ph. I enlisted in the military while I was still in high school. He did so to avoid having to serve his country in the Vietnam War. Soon after he turned 26, too old to be drafted, and no longer needed ways to avoid the draft. Sanders was just settling down in his new home in Vermont in while I served my country as a military policeman in jeep patrols in Vietnam. His decision to refuse to fulfill his wartime civic and patriotic duties claiming conscientious objection follows him his entire life … My question as a Vietnam veteran is: How on earth could a person claiming to be a conscientious objector become the commander in chief of the most powerful military in the world? But Sanders said the use of force, in his opinion, is not only permissible in response to an attack. We should be working with other countries in coalition. Moderator Anderson Cooper asked Sanders:. COOPER: Senator Sanders, tell an American soldier who is watching right now tonight in Afghanistan why you can be commander-in- chief given that you applied for conscientious objector status.
Being a Vietnam veteran I wondered how Sen. Bernie Sanders, who claimed conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War, could become the commander in chief of the most powerful military in the world and order his fellow Americans to go to war when he refused to go to war himself.
As a commander in chief, Sanders could be called upon to support the authorization of a draft and order people to serve in the military during peace or wartime. This happened to six other presidents during the 33 years the draft was active in our country from to The members of Congress and the six presidents from did not make the decision to maintain a draft or going to war lightly.
It was done to ensure our national or world security. S laws require Congress to reauthorize a draft every two years. A majority vote by Americans elects the public officials who make these decisions. The bottom line is that during the Vietnam War, Congress and the president asked Sanders, along with millions of other Americans, to serve their country and fulfill their duty.
It could set a dangerous precedence. There is a fragile line between acts of civil disobedience and the principles of freedom. Our democratically structured system of government draws and defines that line. It is often difficult for people who did not grow up between the years of to understand the feelings of year-old males who faced the draft and the possibility of going to war.
Although citizens have the freedom to peacefully protest the draft or a war, they do not have the option to pick and choose which war to participate in when America asks them to serve. Those who refused to serve their country were breaking the law. I knew no one who liked the draft or wanted to go to war, but the people I served with were extremely proud of having fulfilled their duty and obligation to their country.
Our laws cannot be ignored by calling it our right to freedom of expression. Veterans will tell you freedom is not a right, it is a privilege. President John F. Kennedy put it well, "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. His statement diminishes the many sacrifices veterans made who did serve in the Vietnam War. Steve Wikert.