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The bottom line is this:
During the Vietnam era it wasn't too difficult for the draft
age sons of the wealthy and/or politically well placed to
find ways of avoiding the posibility of going to Vietnam or
in many cases avoiding military service altogether!
That said, I think at the time, most of the reluctance to
serve in the military was more of an issue of facing the
regementation, dicipline and the loss of personal freedoms
encountered in every day military life rather than the fear
of bodily harm from combat in Vietnam.
"DO YOU MISS YOUR MOMMY!"
"WHAT'S MARYJANE ROTTENCROTCH DOING WHILE YOU'RE AWAY
The prospect of Boot Camp and military service was ( and
probably still is) just plain scary!
Before 1965, joining the service was a way out of poverty
for many young men and was generally looked upon with
respect. I joined the service right out of high school
because I wanted adventure plus I felt that I was serving my
country. For me it was a way to travel and see the world.
One side effect of the Draft and Vietnam war in the 1960s
was the number of young men who went to college or got
married and had children just to get a Draft Deferment.
One friend went to school from 1962 until 1969. He got
married and had 2 kids. When he finally graduated, he got
drafted and spent a year in 'Nam as a grunt.
Things changed after 1965. There were many young men who
enlisted the same day they received a notice from their
Draft Board. They tried to get into the Air Force or Navy
(or reserves) thinking that a 4 year enlistment was better
than 2 years in the Army as a draftee.
I volunteered, that was my choice and like most people who
served their country whether they got drafted or enlisted, I
was not a hero nor did I do anything special. I just did my
duty. Like most, I was "Shot at and missed, **** at and
I never really faulted most people for trying to avoid
military service. However I never respected poor little rich
kids who landed cushy positions in the reserves or received
some kind of deferement because mommy and daddy didn't want
to see little Jr. come home in a box. What about all of the
thousands of poorer kids who had no choice!
Yes, Bill Clinton avoided getting drafted but so did most of
the young men who attended college in the late 60s including
many prominent members of George Ws entourage especially
Cheney who "had other things to do"!
Whether we ever find the truth about W's service record
(along with his pre-1995 Texas driver's license record) will
be a subject for debate.
One thing that rubs me wrong is that George W got an early
discharge from the Texas ANG so that he could attend
graduate school. Now isn't that special!
I was due to be discharged in October, 1965. I was trying to
"get a Cut", an early discharge to attend school myself. On
August 20, 1965, ALL members of the US Navy and Marines got
an involuntary 4 month extention at the convience of the
government tagged on to their enlistment. I don't remember
how long the extention was in effect but it sure messed up
my plans. My dad wasn't a congressman.
A more important issue that affects all of is is that we
have gotten bogged down in a quagmire in Iraq, led there by
a bunch of Chicken Hawks who never heard a shot fired in
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