What would happen if you dodged the draft in the United States?

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/12/03/what-would-happen-if-you-dodge.html


Sure it’s fun to dunk on chicken hawks, but honestly it’s a shame more people didn’t dodge the draft. Completely pointless waste of lives.


Seems like dodging the draft isn’t so bad. Only about half were even formally accused, and of that only 0.6% served time for it? Did the rest avoid jail time by paying fines or did they get off scot-free?

Definitely better odds than serving, where you had a 2% chance of dying and an 11% chance of being wounded. And that doesn’t even count emotional scars, post-traumatic disorder, and other afflictions vets returned home with. Spending a year in an American jail is probably less traumatic than a year of combat service in Southeast Asia.


Maybe if Senators sent their sons and daughters to war first we’d be more willing to follow them. It’d also help recruitment if we were the good guys in these conflicts…


Conversely: if the rich and well-connected weren’t able to find ways to get out of military service then maybe the people in power wouldn’t be so trigger-happy about sending the youth of America to fight in pointless wars.


One of the things that the video didn’t mention is that there’s kind of a middle ground. When I turned 18 in 1992, after LOTS of internal debate and turmoil*, I filled out my Selective Service card and wrote across the top “I am a conscience objector to ALL war.”

In the two years prior to my 18th, I worked with the cantor at my synagogue and with the pastor at the Unitarian church who was one of my then best-friend’s dad to form a statement of conscience. I had it witnessed and notarized and had copies sent certified mail to myself and my parents.

To this day, I’m super thankful for the information and work that the War Resister’s League and the Center on Conscience and War do.

Part of what started me on the path to becoming a C.O. was reading Ain’t Gonna Study War No More by Milton Meltzer. Unfortunately, I think it’s out of print, but both my middle school and high school libraries had copies in the late 80s, and it was updated in 2003 after the start of Gulf War II: The Never Ending Iraqi Boogaloo.

*strangely, declaring myself a C.O. was a lot harder than coming out, which I also did at about the same time. I distinctly remember telling a Navy recruiter who called that it didn’t matter if they wanted me because I was a homo, and they never called again. :smiley:


You could become President…


Didn’t it used to be common for a leader’s sons to be in the service?


My dad was drafted for the Vietnam war. He got a doctor note because he was legally blind in one eye.

He said he took his note and went down to the physical where every single person there was trying to intentionally fail the physical. The guy on one side tried to fail the hearing test by never clicking the button to indicate he heard a noise while the guy on the other side was clicking like he was hearing stuff all the time. Same went for every other part of the exam.

There was a sergeant or similar at the end of the exam that quickly weeded out all the bullshiters by whispering to see if they would respond and then saying “well, you heard that, something must be wrong with the hearing test” and then sending them on their way.

The last step was the swearing in. At this point the whole room was asked if anyone had a reason to avoid going to war. Every single person raised their hand. The sergeant randomly picked 2 or 3 people and my dad was one of them. They sent my dad for a second eye exam and he got out of the war.

I think he was prepared to go to canada if he didn’t get out of it, but i am not really sure.


I… didn’t like the way that the narrator wasn’t careful with some of the language and concepts that he so casually misused in what was, I would think, a carefully edited video.
I won’t be watching more of these.


It was my good fortune to be born in that interval when there was no requirement to register for the draft.

One of my best friends in college had been attending the Air Force Academy at Vietnam war time. He did very well academically but was asked to leave due to his low score on military decorum. It turned out that he had met his service requirement and never had to go to war.

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The first “what if a famous rock star tore up their draft card” hypothetical has already been answered.

Answer: if you’re rich and can afford good lawyers, not a lot.


That’s what I was thinking, you got cash and the law no longer applies to you…


dodged resisted.

Despite not being listed in the 13th, this is one legal form of slavery that has been ruled to be useful by the courts.


On the old news reels they’d show them in basic training. But privilege is endemic to political life, and the children of the elite go to officer candidate school and land positions on the staff of important generals and admirals. That’s not to say they aren’t qualified or talented, many of them are, but it is curious that the risk is different for those people.


Why do all the characters in this animation seem to have some sort of wobbly variant of Parkinsons disease?

Are they all descended from the weeble family line?


They’re trying to copy the style of kurzgesagt, but with even less fact-checking.


Yes it’s an access problem. But I’d rather solve the problem by increasing access and having fewer dead people than reducing access and having more dead people.

In other words, the solution to the problem of privilege isn’t to take it away from those that have it, it’s to give it to those that don’t. The former is just making the world worse for the sake of equality, rather than making it better for more people.

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Seems to me that one way to get fewer dead people would be by avoiding wars in the first place—which is why rich and powerful people need to have skin in the game when they send the country to war.

Encouraging individuals to dodge the draft doesn’t lead to fewer dead people, because there will always be enough poor people to provide grist for the mill. You either have to end the draft entirely or tighten up enforcement so that rich people can’t game the system.