This includes the notes in the 1997 publication and additional notes added since.  In the iUniverse printing, the endnotes start with number 20. Note numbers in this text start from 1, as they did in the original print run in 1997.

There is a table of draft regulations since 1948 at the end of this file.

Chapter 2

Ch 2 - general comment

In the 60's, I heard the comment, "all young men should be instructed in things military" all the time. The use of the military to install social policy was nothing new; they tried prohibition on the troops during World War I.

Peter Tauber's The Sunshine Soldiers (New York: Ballantine, 1971) provides another account of the draft.

1 There are five uniformed services capable of combat: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard. The Air Force became its own department shortly after World War II. The Marine Corps belongs to the Department of the Navy. The Coast Guard belongs to Treasury, but comes under control of the Navy during war. (The Public Health Service is uniformed but non-combatant. But both the Coast Guard and PHS come under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The CG does enforce the same policies with respect to homosexuality as do other services; I have known one gay man who graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Ct and served six years without incident by "not telling.")

1a Ch. 2 P. 36, pr 6. . The 2-digit draft classifications roughly could be interpreted as follows: first digit. a '1' mean, available for duty, at least if necessary, down to '4', never to be inducted. The letters also, as they increased, implied a decreasing likelihood of induction. When the lottery started, in late 1969, I recall a friend's calling me in celebration when his number was 309.

The graduate school deferments started a trend that would eventually be repeated in other areas of the economy. There were too many Ph.D.'s, too many people looking for jobs in college teaching, even by the late 1960's. But scientists were "essential."

When I talked to the Army recruiter in Kansas, I was reassured that medics do carry arms, "small pistols." I wrote a Air Force recruiter, whose interpretation of my math background was, "would you like to be a navigator?"

One area where the military needed brains was foreign languages. One could enlist in the Army for four years and be guaranteed language school (Vietnamese). The language has already lost its use of pictographs due to Western influence.

Intelligence personnel were deployed in forward camps, and were often only a few hundred feet away from firefights. They would interview the prisoners and wounded as they were brought back. Sometimes they accompanied units on dangerous "pacification" missions. They pulled guard duty. They certain saw some exposure to combat.

An ABC "World News Tonight" report on Feb. 4, 1997, points out that the high-tech, James-Bond-like gadgetry requires soldiers not only to become geekolators, but also to develop the physical sternum to carry much more in their backpacks.

1b  In 1981, the Supreme Court, in the case Rostker v. Goldberg, 433 U.S. 57, 72, upheld the constitutionality of male-only conscription. It’s rationale was based essentially on deference to the military, and the powers given to Congress (and Executive) in Article I Section 8 to maintain the military and defend the nation (indeed the lapel motto “this we defend” on many drill sergeants’ hats). The Supreme Court has generally allowed government the finding of “compelling state interest” in abridging otherwise fundamental rights when it comes to national security. The court, at least in Thomasson v. Perry (1995) also noted its questionable competence to question military judgment (even if this has an effect upon civilians, as the draft obviously did).  This becomes a critical concept later in discussing the military gay ban and comparing to other issues involving government prerogatives. 

Britain, it should be remembered, drafted women in 1940 into civilian jobs related to the war effort, and many civilian war factories were bombed by Nazi Germany in the Battle of Britain. Cathy Young, writing in the Boston Globe, 2/18/2003, “Women should be drafted,” says “In a culture that has rejected the [chivalry-based] belief that ‘natural law’ relegates women to subordination in marriage and exclusion from public life, public policy rooted in the that women’s lives are more precious than men’s is unconsciounable.” 

Abraham Rabinovich ran a story, “Israeli Women Won’t See Combat: They fall short on strength tests” in the October 20, 2001 Washington Times. The Israeli Army medical corps ran a study that determined that their women can safely carry 40% of their own body weight, compared to 55% for men. Since military-age women weigh on average 33 pounds less than men, this makes the quantitative disparity 44 pounds. Israel, of course, drafts women; but the study could bolster the idea of social conservatives that it is the responsibility of men to protect women and children and that a draft, if reinstituted, could still be male-only.

In May 2006 the House considered legislation for the 2006 Defense Authorization bill that would limit further the role of women in combat and ground combat support, further pressuring the need for more male recruits for combat arms.  

2 Old medical books used to refer to an entity they called "childbirth fever."

3 Selective Service System, Bulletin #10, Dec. 1990, p. 1.

3a  In May 2000, ABC News reported that 20% of all young men fail to register for Selective Service today, and probably this happens largely out of ignorance of the law.

4 Memorandum for Director of Selective Service System, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Nov. 16, 1994.

5 Ibid. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the male-only draft registration in 1981, with Rostkerv v. Goldberg.

6 During the Revolutionary War, there was enormous social pressure to "enlist." George Washington actually proposed a national militia of all adult males. (Tony Blankley, in his 2009 book “American Grit” notes that some colonies did draft men into their militia.) William James wanted to draft men to manual labor; Woodrow Wilson used sheriffs for mass round-ups of conscripts. Even for a gruesome, political war so frivolously driven by nation-states' "entangling alliances," there was enormous patriotism among American young men, as demonstrated in the film Legends of the Fall (1994). In most colonies (like om Williamsburg) able-bodied men from about age 16 up were required to bear arms and own muskets (a point made in Colonial Williamsburg in the tour of the old brick gunpowder magazine).

Early America has an account of the First National Conscription Act here.

Ken Burns, in his 1999 PBS film New York covered the significance of conscription (and the possibility of buying out of it) during the Civil War. This was the first time the draft was ever implemented by the United States, and it became associated with the most violent riots in our nation's history. (Indeed, northern Irish immigrants felt that they were being drafted unwillingly to fight for the freedom of those who would eventually compete with them for jobs, all because of the “principles” of Lincoln, who yet had once considered “voluntary” shipping of slaves to the West Indies for “voluntary” resettlement.) It also exacerbated the tension between races at the economic "bottom," and reinforced the notion (already mentioned) that the "white power establishment" lives a undeservedly privileged life indeed. But, as my book argues in subsequent chapters, improving technology and information flow has made fairness to others and generosity indeed to comport with one's own enlightened best interest.

Although civilian conscription has happened as far back in history as ancient Sparta (Greece), it probably was not common or (at least a subject of controversy) in most of European history.  At a Libertarian Party ballot access petitioning exercise at a county fair in 1998, a rather precocious home-schooled teenager pointed out to me that Germany (Prussia) became a significant power in the 1870’s under Bismarck as it used conscription and other inducements to military service to build up its Army and Navy. 

David R. Sands, The Washington Times, Dec 31, 2000 provides some history in the article "Universal Service is a Revolutionary Idea."  It started big-time with the French Revolution and Napoleon, and in Prussia in 1808 (but apparently became important to Germany in the late 19th Century).  Britain abolished conscription in 1962. The United States actually did not have a draft between 1947 and 1951.  Italy and Spain have recently announced that they are ending conscription, as has France.  Germany is slowly reducing conscription; the draft had been seen as a cultural defense against the growth of a runaway professional military that had abetted the development ot the Nazi state in the 1930s.  Israel still maintains conscription as a strategy for national socializafion.  Generally, conscription is becoming difficult to justify politically unless homeland defense is involved, and it is difficult to execute preventative foreign policy with a conscript, semi-skilled military.  It may, according to some planners, also be more difficult to deal with cultural differences (like homosexuality) in an all volunteer Army like in the U.S. than in militaries with some conscription.

Before his death, Virginia Rep. Herbert H. Bateman Rep) had suggested that some form of conscription my be re-instituted if recruiting shortfalls continue whereas House Armed Services Chairman Flod D. Spence (Rep. S.C.) indicated that a draft resumption would occur only as a last resort. The president may not re-institute the draft without Congressional approval.  Charles Moskos, military sociologist and professor at Northwestern, has supported consideration of the draft, and that "recruitment problems are really due to the decline of the citizen soldier." 

The Selective Service System, as of 1/1/2001 employs about 165 people (down from 5000 during Vietnam) and has 13.5 million males on its active roster. 

In 1948, President Truman used the threat of conscription to break a railroad strike!  That leverage would not exist today.

6a   For World War I, Congress passed a Selective Service Act in May 1917, requiring registration for military service by all men 21 to 30 (later 18 to 45). Sedition laws made (however unconstitutional by today’s First Amendment interpretations) it a crime to criticize the draft. For World War II, Congress passed another Selective Service and Training Act on September 16, 1940. It established a universal military service obligation for fit males, created the concept of occupational deferments, and provided that servicemembers get their civilian jobs back when released from military service. 

7 Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient (New York: Vintage, 1994), p. 69. Ondaajte's novel explores the conflict between loyalty to loved ones and fidelity to moral values. See also Gregor Zeimer, Education for Death: the Making of a Nazi (London: Oxford University, 1941).

7a.  Reuter’s News service has reported on a new book The Double Life of a Dictator by Lothar Machtan, Modern History Professor at Bremen University, that Hitler had practice a socially gayish lifestyle in the 1920s.  “Adolf Hitler was fond of men. He had a homosexual nature," Machtan told Die Welt daily in an interview due for publication on Saturday.  This seems at first quite trivial. But it is a detail that helps us to see his biography from another angle….Machtan,… said the subject had been taboo among historians, partly because examining Hitler's private life might be seen as a step towards humanising him and excusing his crimes.Machtan said there was also no irrefutable proof that Hitler was gay. "

GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) criticized an October 15, 2001 segment on the NBC Today show about this, as follows:

“In one teaser for the interview, co-host Matt Lauer said, "There have been 120,000 books, give or take a few, written about Adolf Hitler since his death.  The newest one claims that Hitler was actually gay, and that his homosexuality was at the root of his evil."  A complete transcript of Lauer's interview with Machtan can be viewed at


Machtan's speculation about Hitler's sexual orientation is, of course, just that.  By his own admission Machtan's research and, indeed, the premise for his assumptions are without proof or empirical verification. But the sensationalistic manner in which the traditionally fair Lauer introduced and conducted the interview with Machtan left the important questions unasked, replacing them with innuendo”


This book has been published (2001) in the United States by Basic Books (ISBN 0-465-04308-9) as The Hidden Hitler, translation by John Brownjohn and notes translated by Susanne Ehlert.


But there is also this item: The essay “Homosexuality and the Nazi Party,” by Scott Lively, co-author of The Pink Swastika:
Homosexuals and the Nazi Party
(Keizer, Oregon: Founders Publishing Company, 1995). The essay was distributed by Stonewall Republicans in an email in December 2001. According to Lively, The Pink Swastika is not available through Leadership U., but is available by calling Jeremiah Films at 1-800-828-2290. :Lively claims that many officials in the early Nazi party were homosexual and endorsed homosexuality as an expression of male perfectionism.Hitler became their “protégé.” Gradually anti-gay ideology became politically exepdient. For example, Lively writes :


“In February of 1933, Hitler banned pornography, homosexual bars and bath-houses, and groups
which promoted "gay rights" (Plant:50). Ostensibly, this decree was a blanket condemnation of all
homosexual activity in Germany, but in practice it served as just another means to find and
destroy anti-Nazi groups and individuals. "Hitler," admit Oosterhuis and Kennedy,
"employed the charge of homosexuality primarily as a means to eliminate political opponents,
both inside his party and out" (Oosterhuis and Kennedy: 248).


 The masculine homosexuals in the Nazi leadership selectively enforced this policy only against
their enemies and not against all homosexuals. Even Rector lends credence to this perspective,
citing the fact that the decree "was not enforced in all cases" (Rector:66). Another indication
is that the pro-Nazi Society for Human Rights (SHR) continued to participate in German society
for several years after the decree. In The Racial State, Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann
remind us that Roehm was a leading member of the SHR; and we know from Anthony Read and David
Fisher that the SHR was still active in Germany as late as 1940 (Read and Fisher:245). Furthermore,
Oosterhuis and Kennedy write that "although he was well known as a gay-activist, [Adolf] Brand was
not arrested by the Nazis" (Oosterhuis and Kennedy:7). Some of Brand's files were
confiscated by the Nazis in their attempt to gather all potentially self-incriminating evidence.

”In 1935, Paragraph 175 was amended with Paragraph 175a which criminalized any type of behavior that
could be construed as indicating a homosexual inclination or desire (Burleigh and Wipperman:
190). (Interestingly, the new criminal code addressing homosexuality deleted the word
"unnatural" from the definition-Reisman, 1994:3.)
This new law provided the Nazis with an especially
potent legal weapon against their enemies. It will never be known how many non-homosexuals were charged
under this law, but it is indisputable that the Nazis used false accusations of homosexuality to
justify the detainment and imprisonment of many of their opponents. "The law was so loosely
formulated," writes Steakley, "that it could be, and was, applied against heterosexuals that the
Nazis wanted to eliminate...the law was also  used repeatedly against Catholic clergymen"
(Steakley:111). Kogon writes that "The Gestapo readily had recourse to the charge of homosexuality
if it was unable to find any pretext for proceeding against Catholic priests or irksome critics" (Kogon:44).”


 Here is the bibliographic information from authors: Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams: Format: Paperback, 3rd ed., 280pp. ISBN: 0964760932, Publisher: Founders Publishing Corporation Pub. Date: January  1998 Edition Desc: REVISED, some sales volume.


I have a review of Machtan’s The Hidden Hitler at and a review of the film The Hidden Fuhrer: Debating the Enigma of Hitler’s Sexuality at   One could speculate that the “upward affiliation” of much male homosexuality could be viewed by many as a rejection by a man of loyalty to his own bloodline and of a desire to affiliate with a “superior” bloodline. This would of course generate enormous resentment. But the modern gay world often rejects the idea that biological lineage has any connection at all to individual self-worth; blood and lineage have almost no meaning in this context. 

8 James Patterson, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974 (London: Oxford University, 1996), p. 599 in a footnote from Charles Moskos, "From Citizens' Army," a paper published by the University of Chicago.

9 These were largely the "deferred" draft categories starting with "2"; they listed "civilian occupation" (generically), then patient care and divinity, as well as students.

10 "Effects of Marriage and Fatherhood on Draft Eligibility, After World War II to Today" Selective Service System fact sheet.  College students lost their deferments with the lottery at the end of 1969. Fathers lost their III-A classification for children conceived after April 23, 1970, according to Nixon’s XO 11527. 

10a Ch 2, P 39, pr 4: In fact, right after World War I, the Army actually turned away men who looked too "feminine" including those (Caucasians) that it thought possessed too little facial and body hair! (Rand, p. 4). No wonder frat houses practiced their tribunals!

10b The History Channel, on Aug 29, 2000 (the same day it broadcast Mike Wallace’s program on gays in the military) related in “Unsung Heroes of World War II” that when multiple brothers from the same family served, male siblings with families to support were sometimes kept out of combat (in an account about the naval Battle of Midway). A similar issue is dealt with in the Spielberg Dreamworks film Saving Private Ryan.

10c Doug Bandow, “What ain’t broker: the renewed call for conscription,” Ideas on Liberty, Febraury, 2000, pp 23-24, keeps the hidden threat alive!. 

10d  On February 1, 2001 ABC “Prime Time Live” presented a story about Lyndon Johnson’s Executive Order of August 26, 1965 (motivated by the quick escalation and need for “warm bodies” in Vietnam) ending the marriage deferment, with the resulting scramble by couples to Las Vegas to elope by midnight that very day after hearing the announcement.  One woman lost her job when she god married.  One month later, street protests opposing the war (eventually leading to Kent State in 1970) would start, protests that some would say undermined any chance for “victory” against the Viet Cong, North Vietnamese and Ho Chi Minh. Six months later, even those who eloped that day lost their deferments and became eligible for the draft.  Student deferments, however, remained, and most of those who attempted to opt out of the draft this way were unable to attend college. 

10e  Maybe this is a place to answer a queerlaw inquiry: I have never heard about a controversy over gays in either the Peace Corps or Vista (but the Public Health Service is technically a uniformed service covered by DADT).

10f  On April 24, 2006, Pauline Jelinek of the Associated Press wrote an article “Winds of Change for Draft Boards” in which she discussed the work required if the draft were ever resumed. Draft board positions are unpaid (“volunteer”) and filled with people from all walks of life, but law enforcement officers and military (retired or active) may not serve.  In early 2006, there are 16 million men from ages 18 to 25 registered, and about 2 million register a year. Less than 2% seek to be classified as conscientious objectors. Less than 50% file for some kind of postponement. This was published in The Washington Post, “The Federal Page,” p A15 on April 24, 2006. Why would someone want to participate in dragging others into involuntary servitude?

10g  On August 9, 2006 ABC “Good Morning America” presented a spot about today’s basic combat training at Fort Benning, GA. (In the late 60s, the nearby centers were Fort Jackson and Fort Gordon). Today recruits spend a lot more time learning physical combat skills than I had to, and the probability that an individual recruit will actually use his weapon in combat is much higher, given the nature of the war in Iraq (and other terror-related areas). The Army reports that, previous to the “War on Terror.” 75% of men did not fire back at the enemy the first time they are fired upon in combat. Killing another person is not a natural act, even in an individualistic society that values individual property rights and that allows some discretion in defending property and (often) family. (Second Amendment proponents would claim that it does not allow enough.) Today’s Basic Training places even more emphasis than ever on unit cohesion, and the temporary stripping away of individual differentiation and identity for collective purposes. It is ironic, then, that in my own writing, military policy (especially gays in the military) would live at the center of a body of writings about the tension between individualism and collectivisim.

ABC Nightline echoed this report on Aug. 30, 2006. The referred to “Boot Camp Express” or “Basic Express.” 80% of recruits will be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan within 90 days of finishing a 14-week Basic (which may include what we used to call AIT, Advanced Individual Training). Basic is more accelerated than any time since Vietnam. Rifle Range and marksmanship is taught in simulators. A private must display proficiency in 41 tasks to pass Basic. (We used to have the PCPT, G-3 testing, grenade throws, gas chamber, and rifle range. The first three weeks are total immersion into regimentation in order to teach socialization and unit cohesion.

11 Allan Berube, Coming Out under Fire (New York: Plume, 1990), p. 18.

11a  Actually, the first draft number for WWII was drawn by lottery on October 29, 1940, more than one year before Pearl Harbor.  This technically marked the first “peacetime” draft in US history. Source, the Doring Kindersley Chronicle of the 20th Century, p. 515.

11b   In 2001, there will be a Japanese film, Taboo, which in part depicts homosexual affairs among samurai warriors, especially with younger warriors. Film critic Roger Ebert stated that this was commonplace in the old Japanese warrior class. Similar stories, of course, are told about Alexander the Great and the militaries of various ancient Greek city-states (especially Sparta).    

12 Situational homosexuality, referring to homosexual acts performed by otherwise heterosexual men when women are unavailable.

12a Ch 2, P 41, fn 19: In fact, Japanese camp internees were subject to the draft after January 1944! The camps were ordered closed by the Supreme Court at the end of 1944.

13 Ibid, p. 143.

14 Ibid., p 157.

15 Marvin Liebman, Coming Out Conservative (San Francisco: Chronicle, 1992), p. 42.

16 Very few people knew then that one English gay man, Alan Turing, had almost as a team of one enabled the Allies to break the Nazi codes during World War II, only to be arrested and shamed for gay sex in 1952.  The preoccupation with the idea of homosexuality as a security risk (that homosexuals would “protect their own” like an alien tribe) became this absurd—and dangerous.

17 Randy Shilts, Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the United States Military , 2nd Ed (New York: St. Martin's and Fawcett Columbine; 1993, 1994), pp. 101-123.

18 Enrique Rueda, The Homosexual Network: Private Lives and Public Policy (Greenwich, Devin Adair, 1982).

19 Truman, HBO Films, 1995. The second generation Japanese-Americans (Nisei) were kept out of the military until 1942, and then out of combat until the Army's need for manpower overcame prejudice. The internment of civilian Japanese-Americans during World War II was certainly one of our most shameful episodes since Reconstruction, dwarfing even our treatment of African-Americans. Many of them were already American citizen, even native born. There was particular emphasis on removing them from coastal areas.

19a Less well publicized is the fact that during World War II German and Italian aliens (over one million) were also interned in many camps (or often monitored at home and prohibited from possessing many items) around the country, although perhaps better treated. This was covered in the History Channel film Nazi America: A Secret History on January 10, 2004.

20 Rand Corp., National Defense Research Institute, Sexual Orientation and U.S. Military Personnel Policy: Options and Assessment (Los Angeles: Rand, 1993), p. 6.

21 Ibid, p. 7.

22 Shilts, op. cit., p. 70.

23 Shilts, op. cit., pp. 19-21,

24 Shilts, op. cit., pp. 281-283.

25 E. Lawrence Gibson, Get Off My Ship: Ensign Berg vs. The U.S. Navy (New York: Avon, 1978).

26 Rand Corporation, op. cit., p. 85.

27 Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns, Baseball (New York: Knopf, 1994).

28 The second team moved to Texas in 1972. I have always been angered by organized baseball's hypocrisy; it still doesn't want to field a team in the heart of a city whose residents are 70 percent African-American.

In 1958, the Senators lost their last 13 games, including a sequence of 5 out of 6 games in Baltimore and Boston by the score of 2-0. In 1959, the Senators lost 18 in a row, including all 14 games on a “western” road trip. Remember the barbershop Washington Post headline “A’s hop on Pascual, too, 6-1.”

The “new Senators” were in DC from 1961 (my senior spring in high school) to 1971, and played in Griffith Stadium one year, and then RFK. In June 1961, the Senators blew a 12-5 lead in Boston with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. They would lose 70 of the last 101 games in 1961, overlapping the time that I started William and Mary. 

In 1971, the Senators would forfeit their final game at RFK to the Yankees, when they were ahead 7-5 with two outs in the ninth, as fans ran out onto the field. That evening I almost took a heterosexual date to the game, in the days (when I worked as a programmer at the Washington Navy Yard, not far from the NIS building, so involved in DADT investigations today), when I was attempting to do that.  

However, baseball returned to DC in 2005 (the Montreal Expos, destroyed by the 1994 baseball strike, became the new Washington Nationals), and the team had an 81-81 record in 2005 (71-91 in 2006). The Velvet Nations Club, the largest in the City with gay disco parties (it replaced Tracks in the 1990s) closed on July 15 2006 because of real estate development around the stadium. As more expensive condos are built in Washington DC proper, more low income people are forced into Prince Georges County, MD, with a huge increase in violent crime there.

A libertarian issue with baseball is free agency and the Reserve Clause, and the Curt Flood case from 1978,

29 Patterson, op. cit., p. 632. One of the surveillance operations was called "CHAOS," another was "COINTELPO" (Counter-Intelligence Program). The liberals are just as guilty of this.

30 Patterson, op. cit., pp. 628-633.

31 Charles Murray and Richard Hernstien, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (New York: Free Press, 1994).

F32 On Feb. 21, 1997, ABC "Nightline" played the first of the "Johnson tapes," to show Johnson's attitude about Vietnam in 1964, before escalation. This topic is taken up in Robert McNamara, In Retrospect (New York: Random House, 1995), chapters 4-7. Johnson sounds genuinely concerned at the idea of committing young men's lives and even then feared bringing in the Chinese, but the notions of political hegemony seemed to rationalize every escalation and blinded him (and others) to the unfairness of the way the draft would be handled. Obviously, if "rich" young white boys were going to be sacrificed, the politicians would have had to re-examine their real motives. Johnson did see calling up the reserves (as was done in the Persian Gulf War of 1991), as opposed to gradual increase in draft calls, as too abrupt and provocative

In 2001, more Johnson tapes from 1965 would show that even in early 1965 Johnson had doubts as to whether a guerilla war in Vietnam could be won.

32a Ch 2, P 46, fn 32: LBJ, however, was schizophrenic enough about his power almost not to run even in 1964! The ABC "Nightline" tapes of July 18, 1997 show his concern to provide collective leadership, whether a "white southerner" could provide credible leadership for "the negroes." Johnson may have been right to believe we just couldn't let Vietnam go; would our Nato commitments have been credible (so soon after the Cuban Missile Crisis) had we just said no? There is also a view that says Johnson deliberately escalated matters in the Gulf of Tonkin during August 1964, in order to impress voters that he was as tough on Communism as Barry Goldwater. Johnson hoodwinked Congress into giving him almost dictatorial powers to conduct war; we still haven't declared war since 1941. Did Johnson's own political strategy trap him in a quicksand of dominoes? In Robert McNamara's In Retrospect (New York: Random House, 1995), chapters 4-7. Johnson sounds genuinely concerned at the idea of committing young men's lives and even then feared bringing in the Chinese, but the notions of political hegemony seemed to rationalize every escalation and blinded him (and others) to the unfairness of the way the draft would be handled. Obviously, if "rich" young white boys were going to be sacrificed, the politicians would have had to re-examine their real motives.

Richard Nixon, in an interview on Larry King Live in July 1990, indicates his belief that the American action in Vietnam bought valuable time during the 1960s in preventing the rest of Southeast Asia and maybe other areas from falling to communism, even if American eventually “lost” this road conflict.  Communists may have won a unified Vietnam in 1975, but communists eventually lost control of the entire country as it fell. 

32b  A History Channel series on how many drugs became illegal maintains that the ante was upped against cocaine during the Nixon years because Nixon felt that it would undermine the troops in Vietnam and endanger the ability to get out with honor. Recall that New York State passed its for-its-time draconian drug law in 1973.

33 Shilts, op. cit., p. 40. Shilts goes on to tell the story of Danny Flaherty's Army and Vietnam service after his expulsion from college when turned in by a fellow student for consensual homosexual acts (which then were not even illegal in Illinois!) According to Shilts, Flaherty simply just didn't "tell" at his physical, out of patriotism and a fear of embarrassing his family. My motives, by comparison, were more to prove my manliness to myself.

33a  A certain African-American went to Britain in 1958 to avoid being drafted, after his (southern) draft board, having turned down his graduate student deferment, referred to him by his first name and without a salutatory "Mr."  He still may not enter the United States legally without fear or arrest. So for some of us who grew up during the Cold War era, the draft still seems very real indeed.   

34 The United States Chess Federation, in Newburgh, N.Y., sponsors most major tournaments in this country and maintains a computerized rating system ranging from "senior master" down through letters A-E, which rather sound like classroom grades to me!

34a Ch 2, P 48 Michael Ondaatje, in The English Patient, offers the observation that bridge, in comparison to chess, builds character and cannot be mastered by kids.

"Psychoanalyst" Rueben Fine, in The Psychology of the Chess Player (New York: Dover, 1956) claims, on p. 22, that he had heard of only one case of "overt homosexuality" among chess masters.

35 "Rumors" that various commercial foods and drinks are spiked often float in black ghettos today.

35a  Apparently the military did resume “asking” (“character and social adjustment”) after the draft was lifted in 1973.

35a, Ch. 2 P. 50, pr. 2. On February 15, 2000, PBS "Frontline" ran a documentary about the brutal murder of Billy Jack Gather in Alabama (anticipating the murder of Matthew Shepard). Much of the show presented "homophobia" as a defensive behavior of less-educated young men who have little else in life to look forward to but procreative sexuality (and "religion"). But many of these men have been found (by research with penile plethysomography) to be resisting their own homosexual impulses (Freudian theory). Other societies have accepted "bisexuality" but emphasized the active or passive "role" as indicative of "masculinity" (although Chandler Burr, Chapter 3, would dispute the idea of male bisexuality). See Note 10c for Chapter 1, too.       

36 Michael Lind, "What Bill Wrought," The New Republic, Dec. 4, 1994, p. 19.

36a Ch 2, P 53, pr 2: Dean Rusk was expressing the idea that one (communist) country must not be allowed to conquer a (nominally non-communist but not necessarily democratic) country. This reiterates the "nation state" view of modern history. From the point of view of the individual rights of Vietnamese people, the idea makes little sense; both North and South regimes were about equally authoritarian. So in a sense this was a "civil war" but our view of history and "world domination" sucked us in. The Tet Offensive, which finally turned our government's idea around that we couldn't win the war with "normal measures," still cost "the enemy" enormous casualties. So we comforted ourselves in believing that Orientals didn't value individual lives.

37 The Army also has a special class of personnel called Warrant Officers for aviation.

38 Bill Boushka, Minimax Rational Function Approximation (Lawrence, Kansas University, 1968), available only from the author or the University. Here is a link with some details.

38a  I’ll add that the road through graduate school was tough at first, learning to work new problems on closed book in-class exams under pressure.  I once got a “D” (in graduate school!) on a partial differential equations test (hated those wave equation problems), scary stuff as I vulnerably headed down the road toward the draft myself.  

39 "RA" stood for "Regular Army." Since 1969, the military has used social security number as service number.

39a (Ch 2, Pg. 61, pr. 4). Since 1981, the military has offered and required bacterial meningitis (meningococcus) vaccination of a recruits. But this is relatively little known among the civilian population at large. On September 17, 1999, ABC "20-20" ran a special report on meningitis on college campuses. There have been deaths, and horrific complications (some strains of the bacteria release toxins which cause massive blood clotting leading to World War I-style "gas gangrene" of arms and legs; a few college-age persons have had all four limbs amputated). If you are a (non-ROTC) college student and live in a dorm, and especially if you smoke or drink, you should ask for the vaccine.

40 The treatment of prisoners, such as pilots downed in combat in Iraq, has always been a grave concern and a reason to keep women (and possibly "known" gays) out of combat. The Convention calls for prisoners to give only name, rank, and serial number.

41 See the Red Cross CPR Module, "Respiratory and Circulatory Emergencies."

42 Company; battalion; brigade.

F43 Ted Koppel and ABC "Nightline," Oct. 24, 1996. Khruschev (”We will bury you,” in 1960, I believe)  gave in only because our intelligence had detected the Cuban bases, set up as blackmail for Berlin, just in time. McNamara points out how the Turkey bases were given up to let Khruschev save face, yet were depicted to Americans as obsolete and expendable, so the domino theory, so critical to Vietnam, wouldn't lose credibility. From my own readings and discussions in the Pentagon, I am convinced that, had we not discovered the missiles in Cuba for a few more days (after October 15), Khruschev would not have backed down and could have faced nuclear war. Good thing our spy pilots did their jobs, and a good thing we had men who wanted to fly spy planes. Did the "threat" of the draft have anything to do with that? Probably not.

43a  On April 9, 2000 CBS aired a “live” TV movie, Fail Safe, a reenactment of a 1964 film, still in good-old black-and-white, with George Clooney as the pilot who bombs Moscow, and Richard Dreyfuss as the President.  There is great dialogue about man’s responsibility for his own machines (which he must depend upon to keep “mutually assured destruction” from leading to outright nuclear war), and morality is seen in terms of governments rather than individuals.  At the end, the United States undergoes self-punishment or self-flagellation, retaliating against itself by destroying New York City to prevent Moscow from retaliating.  “Volunteer” Air Force pilot Clooney takes a suicide shot after dropping The Bomb.  He wanted to do it.  Unlike Dr. Strangelove (1963), this was not funny.      

44 See David Mixner's Stranger Among Friends (New York: Bantam, 1996), pp 106-111 for a harrowing (or, according to one friend of mine, "embarrassing") account of how Nixon's antics against the war protesters ensnared gays.

44a Ch 2, P 69, pr. 5: Marine Corps boot camp today includes a confidence course called "The Crucible," in which the recruit spends 54 hours on bivouac with very little sleep or food. The Marine is supposed to migrate from "self-discipline" to "selflessness."

44b Ch 2, P 71, pr 2: In fact, the ABC "Good Morning America" broadcast of Jan. 22, 1998 showed Cuban residents who relate that there were far more Soviet troops and missiles in Cuba in October 1962 than Kennedy had thought. We discovered the missiles in a nick of time; another few days and we might be living in a different world!

44c  PBS Nova ran a program in late 2004 about the VENONA code-breaking operation of the late 40s and early 50s, often done by hand, TTY teletype and EAM equipment, to break a KGB Soviet spy operation stealing atomic bomb secrets from Las Alamos in the 40s before Hiroshima. Apparently two young college men who had worked there had helped the Soviets out of ideology. This incident, little known, may have added to the paranoia of McCarthyism and the reluctance to give high-level security clearances to idiosyncratic non-conformist people for years to come.

45 As in the H.G. Wells story, The Time Machine.

45a.  P. 73, para 3.  But in a new book by Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon (New York: Viking, 2000), in an excerpt reprinted in the September 2000 Vanity Fair, an author reports strong evidence that Richard Nixon actually covertly interfered with the proposed Hanoi peace talks—which I had first learned about in the ammo tent in Basic training—during the 1968 elections when Nixon ran against Humphrey.  Nixon wanted to leave the impression that he was not above using tactical nuclear weapons against the North, an idea that was sometimes mentioned in the barracks and which many thought could actually end the war.  Papers available to me during my own stay at the Pentagon suggested that this policy had been on strategists mind (on both sides) since the time of Korea, so not everything was just some plot to have a war for the sake of war. (And there was real concern that nuclear war with the Soviet Union could come out of Korea, as early as 1953.) But as long as young poor and black men could make cannon fodder, it was easier to run in place than to take severance. Of course, some commentators would call Nixon’s pre-election behavior treason.    

45b   We can hardly assume that the Cold War is over for good.  Joseph A. Bosco, “China’s actions look a lot like Cold War revisited” reports, “During the 1996 missile crisis in the Taiwan Strait, the Chinese defense minister warned of a nuclear attack on U.S. cities if Washington came to Taiwan’s defense.”  The possibility of grave consequences over North Korea, and the aid given to antagonists in the Islam world by left wing communist holdovers, as well as terrorist threats, are well known.  (The pillaging of religious shrines in Afghanistan by an extremist government is truly appalling.) 

45c  On March 25, 2000 David Ensor and CNN reported on the operations of the National Security Agency, which works closely with the military and law enforcement.  Until about 1990, gays usually could not get security clearances to work there. Today, employees have repeated polygraphs and are asked about relationships with foreigners but not about homosexuality as long as homosexuality has been declared openly (a situation that would be a problem if a homosexual employee had a partner in the military). But what is striking is the quasi-military nature of the work there. Employees are told to keep low profiles and not to draw attention to themselves in public. The NSA employs more Ph.D. mathematicians (as compared to information technology professionals) in encryption work than any other employer, possibly more than all universities employs as professors.  Linguists are employed as “listeners” and often develop hearing loss after years of such work. 

45d  In November 2004, the Pentagon told military bases world wide that they may not sponsor Boy Scout troops as long as the Scouts insist that members believe in God. (Mike Robinson, Associated Press, Nov. 16, 2004).  For more on the Boy Scouts and their gay ban see    

46 Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum , English translation, most recent is provided by (New York: Knopf, 1993).

46a  But the most aggressive Communist of all was probably Pol Pot in Cambodia, who took Chairman Mao Tse Tung’s cultural revolution to a new extreme, not only forcing everyone into the countryside to work for no wages but even forbidding the pronoun “I”.  The escape from the Khmer Rouge would become the basis for Bruce Robinson’s 1984 film about Sydney Schanberg’s escape, The Killing Fields. Some historians believe however that Nixon’s intervention in Cambodia actually exacerbated the situation and made Pol Pot’s rise more likely.

46b  Back to the Bay” became a funny slogan within the barracks, just like “O Go Way Butterfly” and Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” Songs on the radio in the barracks at that time included “Simple Simon.”

47 Harry Summers, "Sensible Opinion," op-ed, The Washington Times, Feb. 13, 1997, p. A19.

47a  Actually, there was just one occasion at Fort Eustis where I got “called for staring,” at lunch (clothed fully in fatigues), by a handsome SP4 who challenged me with, “Do you like me?”  Nothing came of it.

48 Stephanie Gutmann, "Sex and the Soldier," The New Republic, Feb. 24, 1997, p. 18.

48a Ch 2, P 76, pr. 3: But as recently as 1965, most gay bars in New York City had found themselves quickly shut down as the mayor tried to "clean up" the city for the remainder World's Fair. (There were “rumors” of at least one gruesome sexual assault at the Fair in 1964, but a reader tells me that he cannot find any written record of such a specific attack in publications or presumably public records. People who lived in the City then tell me that “it was so bad we had to go to Boston to go to clubs.”)

48b Ch. 2, P. 76, pr. 3: Stephen O. Murray (author of American Gay) reviews (in The New York Times, p. B13, July 5, 1999) Out For Good (Dudley Clendinen and Adam Nagourney, Simon & Schuster) and points out that, contrary to most accounts, an NYPD raid on the Snake Pit later in 1969 was more of a "before-after" catalyst for political organizing than were the widely celebrated Stonewall Riots. Murray feels that Los Angeles and San Francisco were much more important to organizing the gay liberation movement than was New York; New York did not get an "ENDA" law until 1986!

Ch 2, P 77 Page 459 of the November 1969 Datamation presents an employment ad from EDS that appeals to the "professional man" (not man or woman). In the 1970's, one colleague told me about EDS' s practice of conducting home interviews, one of them with the applicant's wife still in a bathrobe! In April 1989, I actually visited an EDS open house at its Virginia data center and was rather impressed by all the spit-and-polish, leatherneck-looking security guards standing at attention all over the building. EDS, in memorandums ex-employees have shown me, justified its strict, almost military, dress code by the notion that customers do not understand data processing and that employee dress (particularly at customer sites) will give them more confidence in the company. But you can read Ross Perot's own side of all of this in his book My Life and The Principles for Success (Dallas: Summit, 1996). Now, that does sound like a self-indulgent manifesto! But Perot has earned his notoriety.

Recently, however, EDS has actually placed employment ads in The Advocate (Apr. 27, 1999, p. 23), a national magazine that targets a gay and lesbian audience. Times do change.

Ch 2, additional conclusion:. The Society of Friends has often promoted the idea that the use of federal taxes for military purposes is a form of "conscription." See Linda Coffin, Handbook on Military Taxes and Conscience, Friends, 1988. Legal arguments have been proposed that "conscientious objection" could be made to paying taxes equivalent to military spending. As with the draft CO issue (as it was experienced at the local draft board level), this seems run the risk of giving religious beliefs privilege at the expense of other cultures. Various schemes of tax resistance are proposed, many of them illegal (but not, say, living in a fixer-up house, and pocketing tax-free profits). Some individuals have impoverished themselves, intentionally earning as little as possible or living "off the books" (or, say, by living off of the state-paid expenses for providing foster child care!!) to avoid paying "military" taxes. The "conscription tax" theory does have some credibility since, up through the Civil War, military service could sometimes be avoided by purchasing "bounties." There are some private alternative "escrow" funds which (though technically illegal) have been set up to replace taxes with private, socially reputable escrow funds - a libertarian construct. The government says about 22% of general revenues go towards military spending. Even the federal telephone tax was set up originally for war financing (during the Korean conflict). Should I pay taxes to an institution that deliberately insults me by insinuating I'm "morally" unfit to serve? I wouldn't dare protest!

In addition, some engineers, especially those older than draft age, would refuse to accept military-related jobs on the ethical notion that they shouldn't pay their mortgages by depending upon an effort they saw as immoral.

In 1998, the Selective Service system starts allowing eighteen year-old males register on the Internet.

Draft regulations regarding paternity and marital status after World War II





April 22, 1948



Married men in bona fide relationships with wives have III-A deferments

September 17, 1948



Men in 1-A or 1-A-O selected in reverse birth date order

July 11, 1953



Except for men with paternity before 8/25/1953, paternity deferments eliminated

February 15, 1956



Married men without children inducted in same order as single men

March 14, 1963



All fathers with a bona-fide paternity relationship (“Kennedy fathers”) deferred as III-A

September 10, 1963



Married men without children {”Kennedy husbands”) not drafted until single men pool exhausted

August 26, 1965



Men married after this date lose preferential “deferment”

December 1, 1969



First draft lottery held, ending student deferments

April 23, 1970



Elimination of paternity deferment for fathers of children conceived after this date

May 23, 1973

38 Federal Register 13485


Active draft ends;

Marital status no longer affects draft availability. This would be true if draft were resumed




Selective service registration resumes

Males at age 18-1/2 must still register with Selective Service (by Internet or mail). “If Congress and the President were to reinstate a military draft, Selective Service procedures currently in place would not treat married registrants, or those with dependent children, any differently from men who are single. Regardless of marital or parental status, a man who turns 20 years old during a year when a draft is in operation, and whose birthday draws a low lottery number, will probably receive a draft notice. Being married or being a parent will not, by itself, be grounds for a III-A “hardship to dependents” deferment nor will it place a man in a lower priority of call.”  Source, Selective Service System 703-235-2053.

The web site for Selective Service is

Special Posting 9/14/2001:   (also posted on  discussion forums)

The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (I believe that I caught the name Carl Levin, D-Mich) this evening suggested on CNN that the draft should be reinstituted, in answer to a question posed by a commentator. According to a poll, 66% of Americans favored resumption of the draft if necessary for the war on terrorism.
-- Two points again:  The military needs to fight the war will be very specific, from very high tech skills to Green Berets, Navy Seals, and the like.  They must be specialized professionals.  Personally, I hope that the DADT problem can be kept out of the discussion.  When I was on active duty 1968-1970 nobody was worried about the presence of gays.
--  However, it is clear from the 1993 law that anyone who "admits homosexuality" (or a "propensity to engage in homosexual acts") would be "excused."  It doesn't take much thought to imagine the complications for gays in the civilian area that could arise.  Turning this around, however, we know from the past that the military suddenly loses interest in finding homosexuals when it really needs men and women.  This is well documented in books by Randy Shilts, Joe Steffan, and others (including me).  
--  Two people aske me about what would happen with a draft when I went to the Saloon last night here in Minneapolis. And men were not looking at pornography on the computer terminals; they were reading about bin Ladden.

--  Recall, the 1993 law expresses a sense of Congress that formal “asking” at entry is not necessary (653-d-1) but the Secretary of Defense has the prerogative to resume it “if necessary…”   -- see, Appendix 10.  
--  One other point about CNN tonight--mention of the possibility of other unspecified threats and suspects still at large. These might include biological or chemical weapons (as previously suggested by an ABC Nightline simulation series on anthrax in 1999 or even electronic pulse weapons as discussed in Sept. 2001
Popular Science). The mobilization could be anticipated because of the expectation by the government of more attacks or conceivably the capability of instituting domestic martial law.

On September 23, 2001, Vance Opperman published an op-ed in the Star Tribune suggesting that middle-aged people be drafted for part-time homeland defense and guard duties.

On September 30, 2001 Thomas Shanker published an op-ed “Who Will Fight This War?” in The New York Times, in which he states that the draft cannot now be resumed without Congressional approval, because the Military Selective Service Act has expired (although the obligation of 18-26 year old males to register is still in place). The Pentagon is mainting some distance from ideas of restoring the draft. Charles Moskos, however (of Northwestern University) has been suggesting national service positions for homeland defense, even airport security.  If so, could the necessary background checks be done for such positions?

In Nove,ber 2001, the Washington Monthly published an essay, “Now Do You Believe We Need a Draft? We’re in a new kind of war, Time for a new kind of draft,” by Charles Moskos and Paul Glastris. The authors propose a mandatory 18-month draft (apparently only required of men, although that seems “negotiable”) with considerable choice as to type of service (homeland law enforcement, maybe even educational tutoring, as well as military) with varying carrots depending on the type of service. There was no mention of the military gay ban or of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the article. I emailed Moskos on this, and he wrote back, “Gays must come out for conscription. Then the ban would be lifted.

The December 2001 American Enterprise contains, on page 16, a counterpoint on the draft between Charles Moskos and Lawrence Korb. Here, Moskos advocates that the military draft remain male-only, that the term be short, that the pay ratio between established military professionals and recruits increase, and that draftees could be used in labor intensive homeland defense missions such as airport security, including screening (perhaps newly mandated screening of all checked luggage).. Moskos believes that the economically privileged should be chosen to be the 50% of draft-age men who would actually be needed. Korb, a Reagan-era administrator who, because of very principled adherence to his conservatism turned out to be surprisingly supportive of at least partially lifting the military gay ban, indicates that the all-volunteer system works and should not be changed. Again neither writer mentions the military gay ban in this piece, or the social and political implications of restoring a male-only draft with a legally-driven “don’t ask don’t tell” in place. 

In “Reviving the Citizen Soldier” in the Spring 2002 (p. 76) issue of The Public Interest, Moskos argues for the opportunity of short-term military enlistments, and argues that combat casualties are more acceptable when the “risk” is shared by the more privileged classes. Towards the end, he writes, “There are only two ways to raise the acceptance of combat casualties. Bring back a draft that starts conscription at the top of the social ladder or establish recruitment appeals that will garner some share of privileged youth.”  An earlier version of that article had appeared in the Summer 2001 issue of Parameters. 

It would be logical to propose that a form of conscription could be used for compelling labor-intensive social needs, like nursing-home duty or eldercare, for (young) adults (including females) who do not already have such family responsibilities (as in One True Thing). Well, this sounds “counter-libertarian,” doesn’t it.  Anyway, I had an email exchange with Moskos, who wrote back: “Gays must come out for conscription. Then the ban would be lifted.”

On December 31, 2001, PBS Jim Lehrer Newshour presented a discussion of national service, including possible expansion of Americorps. Panel members were Leslie Lenkowski  Center for National & Community Service  Corporation for National Service,  Robin Gerber from the University of Maryland, and Birch Bayh.  Gerber expressed the strong opinion that some form of national service should be mandatory between ages 18 and 24, and that service was essential to democracy. In “Hot Careers in a Cool Market: Ask Not What Business Can Do for You; Ask What You Can Do for Business,” Jim Thompson and Mike Woodward write that employees with computer data encryption skills (like those demoed in the movie Swordfish) tend to be young and of draft age, and that companies now worry that key people “could one day be called up by the military,” apparently even if not already in the Guard, the Reserves or from ROTC programs – an admission that an expectation that the draft might be resumed during the war on terrorism is now being taken seriously by some employers. (Twin Cities Computer User, Jan. 2002, p/ 13).

Tim Cavanaugh made light of Moskos’s proposal (and mentioned “don’t ask don’t tell”) in a whimsical missive “Service economy: First-draft suggestions for a real draft proposal” in the Feb. 2002 Reason, p. 21.

My own take is that a second simultaneous second major war front (such as a decision to invade Iraq should Saddam Hussein be implicated in the anthrax attacks, or maybe problems in an area like North Korea) could well bring the draft back. The growing eldercare custodial care crisis could make the idea of mandatory service at some point more politically palatable. Not very libertarian.

In her book Germs, published just before 9-11-2001, Judith Miller et al. discuss the use of various civilian and National Guard specialists in response to biological terror. Other commentators have talked about merging military, Guard, and civilian responses to cyberterror. It seems that “military service” may come to include medical and computer response skills, will involve personnel working for the military in quasi-civilian mode and in civilian clothes (even on ships) and will make the idea of “service” for young adults a more seamless concept. So the “don’t ask don’t tell” problem will become even more controversial as many of the dutires performed by the military in emergencies will be very high tech and “civilian” in nature and require little cohabitation or old-fashioned cohesion.

In his State of the Union address on January 28, 2002, President George W. Bush suggested that Americans ought to donate 4000 hours (2 working years) within their lifetimes to national or community service. It is not clear if this refers equally to older Americans now, or to Americans who have already served in the military. But a couple of relevant sites are and  Will this lead to a cultural change where this kind of service is “expected”?  Will national or community service slow down the careers of young super stars (whether in sports, entertainment such as boy bands or movies, or even business), or could the “super stars” serve by participating in volunteer media efforts to greatly expand the education and cultural awareness of many peoples?

So, there is “volunteering” (closely related to a person’s personal or business interests), and there is volunteering! It used to be thought that a young person “paid his dues” before becoming an adult. (Of course, the male-only nature of the draft in the past and the wide abuse of deferments undermined this notion somewhat.) Today, you will “pay your dues” throughout a lifetime.

Apparently there is no outright prohibition against homosexuals “enlisting” in “non-military”  volunteer agencies like the Peace Corps (for example, as an alternative to the military as national service, with or without a future draft). For example, visit the site regarding the Peace Corps. In the Peace Corps volunteers generally live with families overseas (after training) rather than in barracks. A website dealing with this issue is Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. A more important issue for the Peace Corps, when recruiting older volunteers (5% are over age 50) is the extent of and commitment to previous volunteer service (a very clear expectation on the application forms) that should be required. Some seniors, after a lifetime of corporate “rat race” may see such service as a new chance to “pay dues.”

On December 18, 2002 Larry King asked Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, “Return to the draft?” and Rumsfeld answered, “Absolutely not.” Rumsfeld went on to mention that he had supported the all-volunteer military when he was a congressman in the 60s and claimed that conscription had primarily been used as a vehicle for the military to save 60% of its personnel costs.

Nevertheless, Charles Rangel (D-NY) introduced a bill to reintroduce the draft in early 2003. This is called the Universal Service Act of 2003. He claimed that his main purpose was to raise awareness of the risks of war (in Iraq); most politicians voting on military action do not have children or spouses in the Armed Forces. He is also concerned about the disproportionate “burden” of military service borne by the poor, although USA Today (Dave Moniz and Tom Squitieri, “Front-line troops disproportionately white, not black,” Jan 21, 2003) analyzed the racial composition of the modern Armed Forces, with Afircan-Americans often getting more specialized military jobs. It is worthy of note that the Pentagon admits that a conventional ground war with North Korea could take 750,000 troops and lead to 250,000 casualties for our troops alone, and it is questionable whether this could be done with a volunteer Army is we still are deeply involved in Iraq (or Iran). Rangel and Senator Fritz Hollings introduced a Universal National Service Act in early 2003, that would have required military or civilian service of both men and women 18 to 26, with deferments only up to age 20 for high school. (See Colbert King, “Drafting a Better Anti-Terror War,” The Washington Post, Sept. 13, 2003.) In recently as early November 2003 conservative Democrat Zell Miller of Ga. suggested restoring the draft on Buchanan and Press on MSNBC.

The Universal Service Act would not defer students (“Students part of draft proposal: Draft would affect all and women 18-26,” Christina Galoozis, IDS News, Here is another account from Clark College:

On Nov. 19, 2006 Rangel again said he would introduce a bill to reinstate the draft in 2007, after the Democrats won the midterm elections. Story by John Heilprin, AP. The Washington Times story by Eric Pfeiffer is here. 

On January 21, 1977 (the day after inauguration), President Jimmy Carter pardoned Vietnam era “draft dodgers.” However, Carter came close to bringing it back with the Afghanistan crisis in 1979-1980, and was somewhat resistant to even letting gay civilians have high-level security clearances, let alone serve openly in the military. (In 1980 Carter and Congress revived actual registration, which had been suspended since 1975, two years after Nixon abolished the draft.)

The last half-hour of the 2002 Gangs of New York weighed in on the Civil War draft, and made much of the fact that rich young men could buy their way out with $300 contributions. War was an outside thing, not supposed to affect real life, or gangs.

According to a speech given by President Bush at a re-enlistment ceremony on July 1, 2003, the draft ended officially July 1, 1973. The president ratified his own belief in an all volunteer Armed Forces.

In November 2003 the Army announced that it would prosecute a Green Beret NCO for cowardice in Iraq, after freezing on the battlefield because of a “panic attack” which he reported to his chain of command. Cowardice is defined in the UCMJ as “misbehavior motivated by fear.”  Such a prosecution had not happened in the military since the Vietnam war.

In October 2003, “Defend America” posted a routine call for replacements for Selective Service board members, but then took the call down.

The Capital Gang on CNN debated the idea of reinstituting the draft on Nov. 29, 2003. Despite official denials, there seems to be more and more “noise” on this issue which seems to gain traction as reserves and guard units are called up, tours lengthen, American troops are stretched thin, and as so many lower-income people look at the military as a ticket to middle class life, although the point was made in the debate that the quality of volunteer soldiers is much higher than it was with draftees. About 2/3 of volunteers finish their first enlistments, compared to about 90% of draftees during the Vietnam era. Again, most commentators are benignly neglecting “don’t ask, don’t tell”. 

A related issue is the recent trend for the Army to involuntarily extend enlistments, especially for reserves and guard troops called up because of Iraq, under “stop-loss” orders. See Lee Hockstader, “Army Stops Many Soldiers from Quitting: Orders Extend Enlistments to Curtail Troop Shortages,” The Washington Post, Dec. 29, 2003. Of course, such results can strengthen arguments for having Congress reauthorize the draft (the Pentagon notwithstanding) and also bring back the fact that in past wars, stop-loss orders have stopped gay discharges, although under “don’t ask don’t tell” during the War on Terror it seems that homosexual statements have not been pre-empted by stop-loss irders.

The Selective Service System began television advertising late in 2003. For example, before a run of Smallville Beginnings on TheWB on Jan. 4, 2004, Selective Service ran a cute cartoonish ad reminding young men of their legal obligation to register. Perhaps a subtle message is mounting. (Ironically, the Army and Marine Corps have been sponsors of that show, determined to show the anguish of an unusually gifted teen forced to hide his identity with a kind of “don’t ask don’t tell” mentality.)

An increasing portion of civilian technical jobs these days are predicated on high-level and specialized military security clearances, partly because they cannot be as easily outsourced, so even in a quasi-voluntary service environment, eligibility for military service can affect one’s opportunities lifelong. Employment agencies in the Washington area tend to regard an active clearance as an “asset.”

Eric Rosenberg, of the Hearst News Service, provides a commentary “On the path to draft, leaders ‘can’t imagine’ needing it” in the Houston Chronicle, March 14, 2004, at  The story maintains that Pentagon leaders are quietly preparing a “targeted draft” that they could press for after the November 2004 elections, especially for language skills or medical skills. “Talking to the manpower folks at the Department of Defense and others, what came up was that nobody foresees a need for a large conventional draft such as we had in Vietnam," said Richard Flahavan, a spokesman for the Selective Service System. "But they thought that if we have any kind of a draft, it will probably be a special-skills draft."” This story was widely mentioned by Advocates for Self Government, Liberator Online.

On April 21, 2004 Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb) suggested that national service might be proposed in Congress. “We should start realistically exploring what our options are… Yes, we, in fact … as the president says and I agree—are in a generational war here against terrorism. It’s going to require resources… The second question is: Who is doing all the fighting? This is also a societal issue. Should we burden the middle class, who represents most of our soldiers, and the lower middle class?” But Tom DeLay still says that a national service proposal would not pass now. All of this comes up in the likelihood of increased budget requests because of the instability (to put it mildly) in post-Saddam Iraq, and the extended and repeated tours for reserve and guard units.

Aaron Brown also interviewed Sen. Hagel on 4/21 on CNN “Newsnight” about the ideas for a draft or mandatory national service. Mr. Brown suggested that if a draft were restored there should be no exceptions, no deferments (and I presume no gay ban). Mr. Brown also pointed out that ordinary Americans had not been expected to “sacrifice” for the war on terror, rather told to “go about their lives” and Sen. Hagel suggested that a freight train was rolling in. A period of service would give someone more moral credibility, although it seems like many young adults today compete without any notion that this might be expected. Remember, Ross Perot used to talk about “shared sacrifice” in the 1992 presidential campaign. As I indicated back in 1997, well before 9-11 and the War on Terror, the idea of “social obligations” can affect our thinking on ideas like gays in the military and family values. A 4/21/2004 Wolf Blitzer poll on CNN showed that 78% opposed restoring the draft, but I wonder what would happen if the question were posed as national service.

Presidential candidate John Kerry indicated that he did not favor a draft now, but admitted that it was conceivable that national circumstances could someday justify one, when there would be no exceptions or deferments. Another important argument made by CATO (against the idea that the volunteer military is unfair) is that higher income people really are paying a larger share of a volunteer military with taxes, and generally have more ability to influence the political decisions as to how their tax money will be spent.

In early June 2004 the Pentagon indicated that enlistments of persons deployed overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan would be extended, and that under this stop-loss plan soldiers would not be released upon the expiration of their enlistment contracts. Apparently this provision also applies to individual Ready Reserves members called up. Presidential candidate John Kerry called this a “back door” draft, breach of contract, bordering on involuntary servitude. The Washington Post criticized this in an editorial “Mr. Bush’s Mismatch,” on June 12, 2004.

In late June 2004 the Pentagon indicated that it was calling up members of the Individual Ready Reserve, persons who finished tours of duty but who have time remaining on enlistment contracts. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., of the House Armed Services Committee, said, ``If there was any doubt that this administration was conducting a pseudo-draft, this call-up should dispel that doubt.” Senator John Warner said ``We cannot bring back a draft now and make some young men and women go into uniform and not bring in a whole lot of others to do different tasks,'' on NBC's ``Meet the Press” on July 4, 2004. Carl Hulse of The New York Times provided a story, “Military Draft? Official Denials Leave Skeptics” in the July 3, 2004 The New York Times. “You have drafts when you can't get the requisite numbers," said the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Duncan Hunter, Republican of California. "There is not now indication that you can't get the requisite numbers. But we watch those numbers every month." Again, what happens to “don’t ask don’t tell?” Given the pressures from the growing economic divides in this country, some kind of systematic discussion of semi-compulsory national service seems inevitable, probably shortly after the 2004 presidential election.

On July 1, 2004 Noel Koch, speechwriter for Richard Nixon, provided an op-ed “Why We Need the Draft Back” in The Washington Post, and E. J. Dionne Jr. provided “A Draft for Some” in the July 5, 2004 issue.

The Horatio Alger Association, in a report “The State of the Nation’s Youth” reports that 55% of high school students now believe that the draft will resume during their lifetimes (up from 45% last year). The AP story is at

On September 12, 2004 Secretary of State Colin Powell, in an interview with Fox News, said “if the United States ever went back to mandatory enlistment, everybody should be "equally liable" for war service.” He also denied that he foresaw a formal draft being reinstated, but the comment seemed to hint that it was possible. There have been criticisms of President Bush’s war record (as his allegedly having shirked service required by his air guard enlistment) but some of these criticisms may be based on forged documents (Times New Roman characters appearing in some of them, perhaps) that CBS had aired on “60 Minutes”. The Reuter news story on Powell is by Lori Santos, “Powell Says War Service Should Pertain to Everyone” at

"The policies determining who would be drafted and who would be deferred, who would serve and who would escape, who would die and who would live, were an anti-democratic disgrace," Powell, a leading black in the Republican administration, said in his 1995 autobiography, My American Journey.

"I am angry that so many sons of the powerful and well-placed managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units.” Of course, these days these slots are subject to the “backdoor draft.”

Charles Hurt provides a story in the September 23, 2004 The Washington Times, “Kerry Claims Bush Might Reinstate Draft: GOP Dismisses as Urban Legend.” But Hurt adds this: “After saying he would not reinstate the draft, Mr. Kerry quickly modified his stance to leave open the possibility if ‘the United States of America faced the kind of global attack or conflagration where everybody in America understood through an open democratic process that we needed to defend this nation.” Presumably this refers to multiple WMD, especially nuclear, terrorist attacks.

On Friday September 24, 2004, Washington DC television station WJLA (ABC) presented a story that House Democrats had entered a mandatory military service bill (two years from both men and women) in January 2004. This bill is apparent H. R. 163 (and there is also S. 80 in the Senate). This is more motivated by collective concerns about social justice and shared sacrifice than military need. Hearings might start in January 2005. Again, we don’t know how the Pentagon could nanny so many conscripts, but a critical issue will be what happens to gays with “don’t ask don’t tell.”  This story is likely to grow in the coming days. See also the op-ed by Jack Kelly, “Draft bloggers and fakers” in The Washington Times, Sept. 25, 2004.

Nicholas F. Benton reports in The Falls Church News-Press, Sept. 20, 2004, “Moran Warns of Quiet Plans to Reinstate Draft,” in a report of a town hall meeting at George Mason High School in Falls Church, Va.  I have attended some of Rep. Moran’s town meetings but missed this one. A high school student asked about the possibility of a draft, and Rep. Moran (D-Va 8th Dist) “cited comments vy GOP Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska that such a draft could be the only logical consequence of the administration’s current unilateralist approach to Iraq, especially if the insurgency their continues to strengthen.” Moran spoke for “universal service” that would offer non-military options. We are not aware that the issue of gays and “don’t ask don’t tell” was discussed here, although earlier on Dec. 2, 2003 Moran had held a town meeting at Washington-Lee High School (Arlington) in which Alistair Gamble also spoke about his discharge from an Army language school under “don’t ask don’t tell.”

However on October 5, 2004 the House of Representatives, after a vote call by House Republicans, rejected a Democrat-sponsored bill to restpre the draft, 402-2, with only Democrats John P. Murtha (Pa) and Pete Stark (Ca) voting for the measure; Charles Rangel actually voted against it.

However, again, on the evening of Oct. 6, 2004 Aaron Brown of CNN presented a brief report on the idea of universal service, and interviewed a professor from Tufts University who claimed that 2/3 of the American public and especially the university community would be behind the idea. Again, this interest seems more out of a concern for social justice and the idea that a paradigm of national service or “paying your dues” would tend to countermand the tendency for people to view the freedom of well-off people as harmful to the poor or vulnerable.

On October 16, The Washington Times sported the banner headline: “Kerry brings up draft to put down Bush” along with the story “GOP camp calls tactic desperate bid to win votes.” Mark Thompson provides Time (Oct. 18, 2004) the story, “Does the U.S. Need a Draft? Both Bush and Kerry say no. But with America tied down in Iraq, military officials say they may need more troops to win the war—and the next one.” The article gives some disturbing statistics, such as that 43% of the troops in Iraq belong to the Reserves or National Guard. Active duty military now numbers 2.6 million. Thompson quotes General John Keane (ret. 2003 from Army staff):

“The volunteer force was the most significant military event of the 20th Century. But it’s not preordained that it will always be there, or that it is always going to be successful.”

My own take now is that the draft issue would get real serious in Congress if there is another (third) overseas war, especially in Korea (as in the 2002 MGM James Bond film Die Another Day), or perhaps even Nigeria—or if there is another catastrophic (especially repeated, with WMD’s) terrorist attack on the United States homeland. Although, remember (as with the Vietnam era), if you need a military-industrial complex to defend the country against real ideological enemies (and now radical Islam is such), there is a natural incentive to keep the complex busy and give it business.

Wayne Beson provides The Washington Blade (Oct. 15, 2004) with the op-ed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Draft: If the U.S. reinstates the draft to support the Iraq warm expect a lot of straight conscripts to play gay.” The link is  This was somewhat true during Vietnam (as Randy Shilts documented in the early pages of Conduct Unbecoming) but it can backfire as it would inspire conservative arguments (however circular) that gays are spoiled “supersized fries” who freeload on the system.

The Bush Administration apparently obtained a cease-and-desist letter against a journalist for reporting that Bush intended to resume the draft.

On Feb. 21, 2005 Ann Scott Tyson provides The Washington Post the story, “Army Having Difficulty Meeting Recruiting Goals: Fewer Enlistees Are in Pipeline; Many Being Rushed into Service.”  The Army began the fiscal year on Oct. 1 2004 with only 18.4% of last year’s target of 80,000 active-duty recruits already available for service, well below the goal of 25%. Is this story a precursor for more scuttlebutt about a renewed draft?

For my own editorial on the draft (July 2004) visit

Reporters at the Democratic National Convention claim that 3 out of 4 college graduates had military service history as of 1966.

On March 21, 2005 the Army announced that it was raising the maximum enlistment age for the part-time Reserves and National Guard to 39 (from 34).

On June 2, 2005 The Washington Post carried a story by Christian Davenport, “After 30 Years, Draft Fears Rise: Some Youths and Parents Worry Despite Government’s Assurance; As Conflict in Iraq Continues, Jitters about Draft Rise,” with a discussion of the operations of selective service boards (metaphor is volunteer fire departments). 41 states and DC require presentation of selective service registration by draft-eligible males when obtaining driver’s licenses and state jobs. The male-only registration comports with old conservative notions of gender-based social obligations as well as with the controversial exclusion of females from some combat roles. Since 1987, as Congress required, Selective Service has also registered male and female health care workers ages 20 to 45  in over 60 medical specialties. The agency has also talked about registering people in other critical “asset person” skills. The Clinton administration, while advocating lifting the ban on gays in the military, resisted doing away with the draft because of the health care worker issue.

Despite the difficulties that the service have in meeting enlistment targets in a voluntary system when there is a deadly war, the potential rewards (college and medical or law school scholarships), combined with the increasing student loan debt load, effectively increases the pressure on less affluent students to enlist and risk their lives (and makes the discrimination subsumed by “don’t ask don’t tell” real).

Damien Cave, “Growing Problem for Military Recruiters: Parents,” The New York Times, June 3, 2005 discusses the fact that the “No Child Left Behind” law (go to ) requires public high schools receiving federal funds to give military recruiters full access to student records (unless the parents specifically opt out), and that exposes parents to telemarketing calls from recruiters. As for the resistant attitude of parents, “They don’t realize that they have a role in making the all-volunteer force successful,” said Colonel David Slotwinski (former chief of staff for Army recruiting), who retired in 2004. “If you don’t, you’re faced with the alternative, and the alternative is what they’re opposed to the most, mandatory service.” The NCLB law provision bears close affinity to the problems caused by the Solomon Amendment, which requires universities getting DOD funds to allow military recruiters full access to college students on campus despite an institutions non-discrimination policies for sexual orientation. NCLB, “don’t ask don’t tell,” and conscription all merge together with this military recruiter access controversy.

June 12, 2005 NBC featured a “Meet the Press” in which Sen. Joseph Biden (D DE) admitted that, if the Army and Marine Corps continues a 40% shortfall in recruiting for many more months, a resumption of the draft or of some strong carrot-stick approach to recruiting might have to be considered.

Eric Schmitt, “Army Likely to Fall Short in Recruiting, General Says,” The New York Times, July 24, 2005, p. A17, summarizes the recruiting situation. The maximum age to enlist is now 42 (raised from 35), and reenlistments have sometimes helped the Army get closer. The caption for the story says “some in the military say they are frustrated that little wartime sacrifice is asked of the nation at large.” The main spokesman is Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck.

The Army has created controversy by rotating its slogans. “Be All You Can Be” got replaced by “An Army of One” which is too individualistic ideologically for unit cohesion. So now we have the vapid “Army Strong” – all picked by professional Madison Avenue ad agencies. The Air Force has “Do Something Amazing”; the Navy, “accelerate your life”; The Marines: “The Few, The Proud.”

Goals for Americans has an ad “A Solution or a Draft”? in which it proposes a “Yugoslavia” solution for Iraq, dividing it into Baghdad, a Sunni State,  Shiite State, and a Kurdish State. The organization has an editorial advocating mandatory national service here. Hodding Carter and Ronald Goldfarb had a similar piece in USA Today on Oct 27, 2006, discussed on my blog here.

On Oct 30, 2006 John Kerry made an insensitive remark that teens who don’t do well in school wind up in Iraq. This echoes the way it was with student deferments during the Vietnam era.

On Monday, Nov. 6, 2006 Suzanne Fields provided an op-ed “Not-so-smart college boys: The military teaches what universities don’t” in The Washington Times. She mentions that Harvard’s ROTC cadets train at MIT because Harvard banished ROTC (in 1969 over Vietnam, and again in 1993 over the Solomon Amendment and “don’t ask don’t tell”). She mentions the book “AWOL The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes from Military Service – and How It Hurts Our Country” by Kathryn Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer, website here.  Schaeffer advocates mandatory universal national service. Book review is here.

On Friday, Dec. 15, 2006 Ann Scott Tyson has a report “General Says Army Will Need to Grow: Iraq and Afghanistan Straining the Force, Chief of Staff Warns,:  The force needs expanding by 7000 soldiers a year, and involuntary callups of guard and reserve need to increase. This sounds like General William Westmoreland’s call for more troops constantly during the Vietnam war. 

On Dec 22, 2006 the Selective Service System announced that it would run a dress rehearsal of its “machinery,” the first since 1988, but that a resumption of the draft is not “imminent.” Nevertheless, the low pressure system is building up. AP story is here:

Around Jan 12, 2006, after President Bush announced escalation in Iraq “one last time” (reminding one or Westmoreland) media reports indicated that some guard members or reservists might have total deployments adding up to more than 24 months. The stories were a bit complicated and sometimes contradictory. Remember that during the Vietnam era, draftees were guaranteed at most one year exactly in Vietnam; in World War II, deployments were until the end of the war. Dr. Condoleezza Rice has been asked if she has children (she does not, and is single) or knows what it is like to have them (and there have been comments that relatively few Congressmen and Senators have lost children in Iraq). 

In his State of the Union speech on Jan. 23, 2007, President Bush proposed forming a “civilian defense reservist” force. But in a sense this already exists, and it had been written about in the 1980s in conjunction with the Cold War, about how civilian society could function after a nuclear exchange with the Soviets.

USA Today reported on Jan. 29, 2007, p. 3A Nationline, that Ohio is considering drafting poll workers for elections, to reduce the average age below 72, and to keep the shift to 8 hours. I worked a 17 hour shift in Virginia on Nov 7 2006. I did some systems analysis at the end to solve an out-of-balance problem, like the days of old as an IT person. See my blog entry at this, and look for Nov. 8.

Philip Gold has a new book critical of the concept of selective service; called “The Coming Draft,” commentary here.

Blogger entry on September 2006 issue of Congressional Digest Pro & Con, debate on national service and the possibility of resuming the draft.


On March 11, 2007 Andy Rooney on CBS 60 Minutes called for resuming conscription when a war is necessary (in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else). Here is my blogger account.


In April 2009 the Pentagon announced that tours in Iraq would extend to 15 months from 12, including repeats. In the Vietnam era they had been 12 months.


In 2009, the Selective Service System plans a “dress rehearsal” of its machinery in case of a return to the draft. At least one reader wrote to CNN on April 14, 2007 and advocated a 50% income tax credit lifetime of all military veterans who start service after a certain date.


General Douglas E. Lute admits (on National Public Radio “All Things Considered”) that draft could be considered (Aug. 2007), blogger entry here.


Michael Kelley, at the Academic Information Portal for Education and Research, has an interesting perspective of African-American casualties in the Vietnam war here. At one point Blacks were 23% of the dead but the number dropped to 12.5% of the dead. Blacks made up only 13.5% of draftee deaths.


During World War II, and incident known as the Port Chicago Disaster had made up 15% of the African American deaths, here.


It’s interesting to note, that as of the beginning of 2008, females still cannot serve on Navy submarines or as Navy Seals, link here. I actually got into a conversation about this on the Metro returning from a New Years Eve party.


In April 2008, it has been reported that Army stop-loss has increased 43% since the beginning of 2007, despite intention of Secretary of Defense Gates as announced in this memo Jan. 2007 (here), followed by a Secretary of the Army memo mid 2007. 


Note on Northern Illinois University incident, Feb. 14, 2008.  The culpable person, Stephen Kazmierczak, was apparently separated from the Army during Basic Training in Feb. 2002. He had enlisted in Sept. 2001 (it is not yet known whether before or after 9/11).  The Army has not yet released the reasons, but they are likely to come out in future law enforcement investigations. This site will post more information if known, or if may appear on my blogs if it becomes appropriate. The ABC News Story is by Emily Friedman, “Who Was the Illinois School Shooter? Kazmierczak, killer of 5 persons, studied mental health issues, worked at prison,” link here.   

Return to text of DADT Chapter 2    Go to first DADT book contents

Return to doaskdotell home page        email me at