A short guide to dodging the draft

The Vietnam War draft made for a time of unique, albeit cowardly, excuses


Evan Daane, Staff Writer

So you say you want to start a war, but getting your hands dirty on the battlefield is simply beneath you? You’d never join the military because that might put you in harm’s way, and you’re going to be too important to your country down the line to risk your death now. You’re going to be an ambitious politician, but standing in your way is the potentiality of a draft. That could put you, the able-bodied white male that you are, on the front lines and into danger. So how can you skip out on said draft so you never have to experience the horrors of war and then go on to start meaningless conflicts that result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands? Well, lucky for you there’s a great deal of precedent in our country. Let’s see what we can learn from it!

The first way to get out of the draft was to get a student deferment. If you had the money to keep paying for school, you could pay your way out of the war. This is an important part of most any draft dodger’s toolbox, and most everyone who will be discussed used their status as a student to defer entering the draft lottery another year. Wartime is a good time to be getting an education, and because you’re most likely wealthy enough to afford it, it might be worth it to go to grad school. Plus the more education you get, the more intelligent you will seem. That might just help you get elected, even if you’re not the brightest. Cue George W. Bush.

A great way to get out of military service while making it seem like you signed up for combat is to join a division of the reserves. During the Vietnam War, the reserves were never deployed because of the fear of a home invasion. So if you’re looking to gain some sort of military credit without any of the risk, this is the way to do it. This is also exactly what former president George W. “Dubya” Bush did. He was able to join the National Air Reserves despite his poor entrance exam score (and multiple arrests and traffic violations) because a family-friend got the Lieutenant Governor of Texas to recommend him for the program. Bill Clinton and John Bolton did the same thing, with Bolton entering the National Guard and Clinton into the Reserve Officer Training Corps, in which he enrolled but never actually attended. Clinton was in opposition to the Vietnam War, but that didn’t stop him from creating a conflict whenever his Presidential approval was waning. (See the unprompted bombing of Afghanistan and Sudan just three days after his address of the Lewinsky scandal, multiple bombings of Iraq which pushed the date of his impeachment back and a war in Yugoslavia which suspiciously began after a troubling rape allegation.) You could take note from Clinton, wars cover scandals up. This is important, considering that for an ambitious politician such as yourself, there are going to be many of them.

Another great way to get yourself off the front lines is to simply have a kid! This is what Dick Cheney did once he became available for the draft. Formerly exempt from the draft as a married man and sole provider for the house, this changed on October 26, 1965, when the Draft Board said that married men without children would be called up. Elizabeth Cheney was born on July 28, 1966, exactly nine months and two days after the rule was changed. Cheney (along with the previously mentioned Bush and Bolton) were major architects of the war on terror, which has been ineffective, profit-driven, and responsible for the deaths of almost 5,000 Americans and more than 650,000 foreign civilians. Since you’re most likely in politics for the wrong reasons, these three might as well be seen as idols. Take notes!

Do you have a minor illness that might make long marches in the jungle troublesome? If you do, great, that’s an exemption! If not, you’ll just have to fake it, which might be how both Donald Trump and Joe Biden avoided serving. Trump was exempt on the grounds of having bone spurs, and Biden was because of his asthma. However, both were active sports players and seen to be perfectly healthy otherwise, so it seems their injuries weren’t too burdensome. Trump, of course, has called for and nearly started wars with North Korea and more recently Iran, while Biden has supported every conflict during his time as a senator and as vice-president. As a politician, you might not want to follow in their footsteps as many people find the circumstances of their exemption to be untrustworthy at best. That hurt both of their images and election chances, and you need the public to like you!

The final way to get out of the draft is what I like to call “The Nuge” after it’s originator, conservative rock icon Ted Nugent. In a 1977 interview, Nugent claimed to have not bathed for a month, defecated and urinated in his pants for a week prior to his physical and took crystal methamphetamine to make sure he was deemed unfit for the draft. While he denies it now, his record with the Draft Board shows that he was given a 4-F designation, meaning he was deemed unfit to serve. While Nugent is not directly responsible for any wars, he has called for violence against Muslims and supported the war on terror, quoted in an interview saying “Our failure has been not to Nagasaki them.”

However you dodge the draft, one thing is for certain: you’re going to start a war. Whether it’s for personal profit or a cheap distraction remains to be seen, but it’s going to happen. You’re that kind of politician. It’s quite easy to start one when you have no firsthand experience of actually going to war, so really, it’s best for your conscience if you avoid the draft. Happy dodging!