All Through the Vietnam War, draft avoidance and resistance came to a peak, nearly crippling the Selective Service System. Joined with the rebellion inside the military and the greater civilian antiwar movement, draft resistance became yet another shackle on the government’s ability to wage a war in Vietnam, and brought the war home in a very personal way for a generation of young men. Many draft resisters filed for conscientious objector status, didn’t report for induction when called, or attempted to claim disability to preserve their rights while many others refused service to win the rights they were never given .
Draft avoidance is an purposeful decision not to adhere to the military conscription policies of one’s country. Those who practice draft evasion are critically referred to as “draft dodgers,” a term which was made popular during the Vietnam War. The draft was controlled by the Selective Service System of the United States. It was used as a form of conscription when volunteers for the armed forces weren’t enough. The first number that was drawn was 258, which was September 14, so all registrants who were born on this day were the first to be drafted into war.
The second number drawn was April 24, so they were the second registrants to be drafted to war, and so forth. People soon noticed that the lottery numbers were not distributed uniformly over the year. In particular, November and December births, or dates 306 to 366, were assigned mainly to lower draft numbers representing earlier calls to serve . This led to complaints that the lottery was not random like the legislation required; putting the numbers in capsules and mixing them in a shoebox did not mix them well enough before the drawing.
The administration’s refusal to recognize the fact that draft was in fact no random led millions of Americans to protest the draft. They protest because they have lost their rights; the country built upon democracy, spreading war for democracy, had stolen democracy from its citizens. Universities became the home to many of these protests; as young men were those sent off to war. Students began destroying conscription cards and bluntly refusing to obey it. By 1976 this reached a peak when more Americans were refusing conscription than being drafted.
This is what disloyalty is: objecting to sell your life to your country; refusing to give up your future for a war that you do not believe in. These Americans were not only challenging the draft for their their objection for the wars cause, they were protesting for their right to live. While these Americans were just feeling the devastation of stolen rights. African Americans had experienced it for their entire lives, and they too refused to give their life for a soulless country.
African Americans also were drafted to fight in the Vietnam conflict; in fact the Vietnam War saw the highest proportion of African Americans ever to serve in an American war. In 1965-69, during the height of the U. S. involvement, blacks formed eleven percent of the American population but made up 12. 6 percent of the soldiers in Vietnam. The majority of these soldiers were in the infantry, even though authorities differ on the figures. The percentage of black combat fatalities in that period was a staggering 14. 9 percent, a proportion that subsequently declined.
African Americans were being used as pigs for slaughter. They were taken from a war against racism in their home country and put in a completely separate war half way around the world, whose intent was never truly clear. Racism caused tension amongst soldiers, lowering morale, and creating a new though process; many African Americans didn’t think they were obligated to defend America because America didn’t defend them. Martin Luther King Jr. commented on the irony of the situation saying that blacks shouldn’t have to die for a country that esteemed them as second-class citizens.
Being forced to give up their lives for people who made it their lives mission to make sure that African Americans did not feel at home was outrageous. African Americans’ place was home, to fight the real war. They were fighting a war to earn what America had promised them, Democracy, and all it entitled. Contrary to their beliefs, those who avoided the draft were not thought to be in the right, in fact according to Robert Buzzanco draft dodgers were viewed as unpatriotic and considered unAmerican.
Draft dodgers had abandoned their country in its time of need; the war required militants, and it was thought that if one was to live within a country, utilize the freedoms that it gave freely, and make a life for themselves, then they should give their life freely to it to preserve those same rights for the rest of the country. This however is an imbalanced position, as the country did not give these rights freely as seen with the Civil Rights Movement. The government had plunged the country into a senseless war; asking its citizens to give up their lives to go slaughter a third world country, and gave no reason as to why.
The country was unfairly forcing its children to give up everything and gave nothing in return. Draft Dodgers, draft dodging or evading has been a part of history for years, especially in America. However not until the mid-20th century did America see more and more Americans standing up for their right not to fight. The draft dodgers of the Vietnam War made an impact of the world around them, showing that they didn’t have to fight for a war they didn’t believe in. It was the late 1960’s and already Vietnam was proving to be a different war than all of the rest.