Education, Elitism and Class, Military and Veterans, Uncategorized

A Memo on the Vietnam Draft, a Prelude for 21st Century Vets

(This is a set-up piece, a prelude, as to why we need a corps of veterans out there teaching young kids about America. Like any military exercise, we have to 1) know the objective and 2) and know the size and power of the obstacles out there laying out there to keep us from reaching it.)

Recently we published a piece calling for national service, suggesting that every high school graduate be required to attend a boot camp of sorts, where, among other things, they would be taught to make their bed, learn to say “Yessir”, “No Ma’am” and “Thank you” in the appropriate manner, and to develop an appreciation of sweat equity, rubbing elbows, with people they would never have spoken to or sat with in the lunch room at high school.

Yeah, I’ll bet you thought every kid already knew that.

Well, they don’t, and how many of them are in this condition are many more than you know.

WHY they are in this condition, and HOW they came to be in this condition is what I will discuss here, for the military, military service to be more specific, played a major role in how American youths have been shaped over the past 50 years.

In short, the idea of a mandatory system was impractical even before I put it to paper. If such a law actually could get through Congress, fully 40% of America’s parents and/or their children would likely refuse to comply, thus setting off a resistance movement larger and more violent then any we’ve seen in the past.

The situation we’re in today all started with the Vietnam War draft, for the social explosion it caused was all based on a great lie.

The great lie of the Vietnam War draft

A little history of the draft in America, by the numbers.

In the Civil War the draft pulled in only 40,000 inductees, of a total of 2.5 million who served in the Union armies. That’s 1.6%. Another 120,000 bought their way out of the draft by paying others to take their place, another 4.8%. (This ability to buy yourself or your son out of military service was available only to those who could afford it, namely the upper classes…So take note of this.) True, many from the upper classes did serve anyway, but as officers.

Bottom line, the Union Army was made up almost entirely of volunteers, 2.3 million of them, 94%. And over 400,000 of them never came home.

That’s why we call our group the 15:13 No Greater Love Foundation.

You see, although officially the Civil War was fought to keep the Union intact, most of those 2.3 million volunteers enlisted to end slavery, because, all their lives they had been preached to on Sunday morning about how great a sin and great stain slavery was on the United States. Young men then were about as unaware of the larger purposes of America as young people are today.

Their sacrifice is still the Gold Standard for justifying America’s wars, a high moral purpose at both ends of the military spectrum.

This incorporates one of the many “First Principles” we will use in our curricula for vets who will teach young people, for it distinguishes America from the rest of the world. It’s a real attention-getter, for once you start out a classroom lecture with that, you’ve told them something they don’t know, and as a vet, have the street cred to say it with authority. I know this works because I gave several American Government classes to welfare moms in a small college in Cincinnati.

I began every opening lecture with this small fact: Throughout history no nation has ever given up its sons in battle to go rescue other people, people they did not know, of another color even, and not even known to be Christian, except the United States.

After that, the sledding was all downhill. Teaching American History and Government to 21-22 year olds was easy once you made it clear to the students that they were part of something unique and exceptional.

Over the course of coming weeks and months, I’ll outline other things that America has done, and has believed, that is unique and exceptional.

But for now, we want to establish why the draft issue of the 1960s was false, but how it nevertheless began what is now a 50-year campaign to diminish America both as a nation and as an idea.

Still, what I stated above was true in 1862, and after over 150 years still no other country has latched onto it. We are still the only nation to lay down its sons’ lives for its neighbors, and as poorly thought-out some of our wars since that time have been, among the men and women who executed that those missions, the American military, that sentiment still runs deep.

This is why the modern American veteran is more qualified to teach this subject to the young than anyone living on this planet.

Following the Civil War draft, in World War I the new Draft Act dropped the ability of the rich to buy their sons out of military service, but still generally exempted upper class families simply by relying on local draft boards to draw inductees from the bottom-up; first the poor, then the working class. Not a popular war, since America had no real interest in wars between Europe’s kings,  (Woodrow Wilson had other reasons), of the 4.8 million men who served, 1917-1919, almost half, 48%, or 2.8 million were drafted.

Then in World II America had been attacked, and by people who had every intention of destroying us as a republic. Democracy itself was on the line, at a time when it was still in its infancy, and only two countries practiced it with any degree of regularity. In World War II our entire country had skin the game, including our rich. Even college professors. Once again local draft boards were not likely to draft the children of prominent citizens. College students were largely exempt, but even more than the Civil War, many, many volunteered anyway. My father dropped out of college in Jan ’42 to join. More notably, many of the torpedo pilots who went down at Midway (June ’42) were Yale men, and many university department entranceways at my university were adorned with photos of former professors and department heads who had died in the war. Even our law school. Not sure if those photos still hang anymore.

Still, of 18 million Americans who served in World War II, 61% were drafted.

Then came Korea, 1951-54, which was almost an all-draft endeavor, but done so under the banner of the United Nations, so no one challenged the righteousness of fighting the New Enemy, Communism. 33,000 Americans died.

Then came Vietnam, and on its face, it seemed ordinary enough, not much different from the Korean War just a decade earlier, and against the same sort of Communist threat we’d fought in Korea.

But what did change was the demography of the American people and our in-coming military. The Baby Boomers would be called to fight the Vietnam War.

I was in the middle of all that, both on campus in the early years of the war, watching very little TV, or even reading newspapers, just picking up bits and pieces from street talk, and ROTC. I got very few of the war’s history as news, but almost all the zeitgeist.

I came into the Army as an Army JAG trial lawyer in 1972, and was in Japan when Saigon fell. I was all over the region, Thailand, Philippines, Korea, my 3-star boss having been Creighton Abrams’ chief-of-staff before Abrams went to Washington as Army Chief. One of my best friends, recently passed, was Chief of Army Intelligence in Vietnam when Saigon fell. I was his principal legal counsel. I even got to defend one of the deserters who’d turned himself in after President Ford had pardoned all the draft dodgers who’d run off to Canada. (I tell a many stories about those days here at

It was after five years in uniform, that I tried to square what I saw in the military versus what I saw on America’s college campuses, 1964-1971. It was while still in uniform that I first made the observation about my generation, the Baby Boomers, that when the best and brightest came to the Vietnam War crossroads, the best took one fork, while the (self-appointed) brightest took the other.

But the numbers don’t lie.

Only 300,000 dodged the draft or deserted in uniform. Only 30,000 ran off to Canada, and for the most part only because they’d lost their college deferment after they’d flunked out, early casualties of having to actually study and attend class. Partying was more fun.

Two thirds, 65%, of the soldiers who served during the Vietnam War era were volunteers, less than 35% were drafted.

Of the 2.7 million uniformed Americans who served in Vietnam, only 1 in 5 (20%) heard a shot fired in anger. And the casualty rate was the lowest in US military history, around 2% against the total.

But the zeitgeist of the War back in the states was very different. Since we don’t discuss politics here at VeteransTales, I won’t go into a rant, and simply state it was all based on a lie, and that that lie was as cultural as it was political, or better stated, perhaps, a very vocal portion of American culture had married their personal ideas about privilege, and potty-training, to their politics, which were, and still are, largely Marxist.

The magnitude of those lessons from Vietnam are only now being realized, for America has become divided, possibly irretrievably, by class distinctions we’d recognized for generations but which were so-well disguised by a faux self-righteous moral indignation we never saw them as just a massive teat fit by and sense of entitlement never before seen on such a scale.

We thought they were just over-indulged kids.

So just who the hell were those people marching on Washington and taking over campuses all over America in the late 60s and early 70s?

At least half of them were girls who weren’t even subject to any military call-up, and virtually all the males were either deferred college students or the sons of exempt upper class families, government officials and college professors.

So where did the anti-war protests come from…who claimed to be speaking for the poor white and black kids who had to go fight that awful war because of their poverty or skin color…and who had to try to kill those really nice peace-loving rice-paddy communists in Southeast Asia?

Why this matters today is that those couple of million sonnenkinder (children of the sun, a term I’ve given my own definition to) from ’68-’72, were children who had never had to make their beds, or rarely hear the word “no”, and never, never feel the sting of a parent’s hand on their behind, They were raised to believe that they are largely infallible in thought and deed, and who displayed an extraordinary degree of self-love and superiority. They turned shrill screeching to a high art form. They never had a bloody nose, or ever had to taste a bar of Ivory Soap. They have never bowed their heads at the dinner table and thanked God for anything, or for that matter, even acknowledge that He exists. They also never had to look at a job or a profession as a means of survival.

We could spend pages profiling those people, but all you need to know is that they have multiplied tenfold in the two generations.

They are a political and cultural force to recognized for what they truly are, a threat to the very essence of what America is and has been, for if they ever get in control, they will surely erase everything that has gone on before, from Founders forward, from history.

They have no God but themselves, no loyalty to any other than their own kind, no love but to their vanities and appetites. They are nourished by rage.

Worse, they control almost all the public education system, K-through Law School, and can shut down almost any public school or university, or for that matter, public business, with fewer than a hundred screeching, cursing kids, with or without bandanas.

The Bottom Line

We need to find a way to reach out to families and their children outside the state apparatus. Top down solutions from Washington, the various state houses, and local governments and school boards, may or may not come about, for after all, they are all politicians.

But if a bottom-up movement from the communities themselves, begins to gather steam, those politics may change.

The most important cog will be the ability of veterans to be able to communicate directly with the youths of our communities. For there is much they don’t know about their country they need to be told.

We hope to be able to facilitate that here, hopefully with the collaboration with other veterans groups.

Stay tuned.








Tagged , ,

1 thought on “A Memo on the Vietnam Draft, a Prelude for 21st Century Vets

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *