Tulsi Gabbard is Absolutely Wrong About Refusing the Draft

Tulsi Gabbard is Absolutely Wrong About Refusing the Draft June 15, 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says she doesn’t much like people who dodged the Vietnam draft, saying it’s “unfortunate” that anyone would do this, but she would not address Donald Trump’s multiple deferments for bone spurs despite being an athlete in high school. I think it depends on why one is motivated to refuse to be drafted.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) said Thursday that it’s “unfortunate” that some people “found a way to get out of serving their country” in Vietnam, although she declined to weigh in specifically on President Trump’s draft deferments.

Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, was speaking during a wide-ranging Washington Post Live interview.

“Look, those who found a way to get out of serving their country, I think is unfortunate,” she said, adding: “I personally don’t think highly of those who chose to dodge service.”

If you support the war but just don’t want to put your lily white butt on the line, not only do I not think highly of you, I think you’re a vile human being (both for supporting that incredibly pointless and unjust war and for refusing to fight in it despite that support). I’m looking at you Donald Rumsfeld, Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney and many, many others. But if you refuse to go to war because you believe that war is unjust and unjustified, not only do I think highly of you (again, on both counts), but I think you had a moral obligation to refuse to kill or die. Watch this compilation of statements Muhammad Ali gave on his decision to refuse the Vietnam draft and tell me one thing he said that was wrong:

If the war is unjust and unjustified, you have a moral obligation to become a conscientious objector. Ali went to prison for several years, lost his heavyweight title and years of his prime to take that courageous stand. There has long been a spurious quote, usually attributed to Thomas Paine but actually said by Edward Abbey that bears repeating: “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” A government that engages in genocidal actions — two to three million people died in the Vietnam War — does not deserve our support. And we have a moral obligation to resist those actions at all time.

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