With the tense climate in America, and Iran vowing “crushing revenge” against all responsible for the death of Qasem Solemani, many Americans are in fear of possibly being drafted. In addition to the heightened fear, nationwide, citizens have been receiving fake text messages telling them to “report to the nearest Army recruiting branch for immediate departure to Iran.” Many college students are also panicked about being drafted due to the fine print in FAFSA about registering for the draft. If any of you were concerned, there’s no need to panic. According to CBS News, Selective Service System and the government has said they “would need to pass official legislation to authorize the draft.”
Throughout social media, specifically Twitter, a lot of people were making insensitive jokes about avoiding the war, but what would really happen if young men dodged the draft?
It was during the Vietnam War that dodging the draft became documented as a felony crime. Many people were also punished for it. According to the book Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas, during the Vietnam War 570,000 men were classified as draft offenders, 210,000 were formally accused of violations but only 8,750 men were convicted and 3,250 were jailed.
Why is that? Well, there were clever ways to avoid the draft and prevent yourself from being punished. Some of the extreme but legal ways were immigrating to Canada, purposely failing their physicals, and even becoming missionaries. We don’t know the full extent to what people claimed to “not” have to join the Army, but there were some more legal ways to avoid having to go into the military such as claiming to be homosexual, and claiming to have a medical or psychological problem.
Some Chicago teens had their own reasons as to why they would either go to war or jail if the draft started up again. Christian Jamerson, 18, from Brooks College Prep, said serving time seemed more appealing than joining the military. “I would go to jail because it’s a chance that I would come out alive. There’s a chance of not making it out if I was to go to war.”
Fellow Brooks student, Bakari Reese, 18, is on the same page as Jamerson. “I would just go to jail,” he said. “I can’t fight for a country that wouldn’t fight for me as a Black man.”
Aaron Sipp, 18, and also from Brooks, feels the opposite of his classmates. “I’d go to war because I would be aiding my country to help end a war and prevent any more chaos from going on.”
Even though the rumors about a possible draft are false, it seems to still hold true that many younger citizens aren’t willing to go and risk their lives to fight for this country. Is the draft fair? Does it uphold what it means to be an American citizen or does it completely go against the principles the United States was built upon?
Let me know what you think.
By Amaris Edwards, Senior Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep