Bill Clinton's Real Draft Record

Bill Clinton got draft deferments for service in both the Naval Reserves and Army ROTC, yet never reported for either. He also received two induction notices, but never reported for either.

From: David Burton
Newsgroups: triangle.politics,
Subject: Clinton's REAL draft record (was Re: Rabid Rightwing Republican Terrorism)
Date: Sat, 13 May 95 01:24:52 EDT
Message-ID: <68X15c3w165w@salzo.Cary.NC.US>

Steven J. Crisp writes:

> No, the real point is that Clinton lied.

True, he lied. But...

> remember the latter Vietnam era, you would realize that most individuals
> tried very hard to get out of service. Clinton did nothing that most
> others did not do themselves. I have no complaint with that...

No, Steven. It was much worse than that.

To the best of my knowledge, there were no other cases similar to Slick Willie's record, in its entirety. He pulled so many sleazy and illegal stunts! I've never heard of another case with such an amazingly long list.

However, there were cases with circumstances similar to some of his misdeeds, where people were prosecuted and convicted. For example, in the 1972 case of United States v. Bruckman, a young man obtained a bogus 1-D deferment from what he had apparently believed was an Illinois National Guard unit. I think what happened was that he kept mum, and did not contact his draft board, when he discovered that the National Guard unit was fake. He was convicted, and his conviction was upheld on appeal, for the crime of failing "to give notice to his Local Board of a change in his military status (i.e., that he was not a member of the Illinois National Guard)."

I've never heard of a case comparable to Clinton's, where someone committed such a long list of illegal and unethical tricks and schemes while dodging the draft. There were undoubtedly cases in which someone with "pull" managed to get into an already-full ROTC or Naval Reserve program. However, Clinton managed that stunt twice, and, yet, incredibly, he didn't even actually enter either program! He just used the prospect of his pending admission into the programs to fraudulently prevent his induction by deceiving the members of his draft board.

Most young men disliked the prospect of being drafted, but most broke no laws. Not true of Clinton. He got illegal deferments, and committed other felonies, in avoiding the draft.

First, he took all the college deferments to which he was entitled under the law, as did many others. That was fine, and I've never heard him criticized for that.

However, he used up his college deferments, and so normally would have (because of his age) been first in line to be drafted, in 1968. But he pulled political strings, and got a slot made for him in the Naval Reserves, even though all the positions for Hot Springs were already full. (That may not have been a crime, but it was highly unethical.)

But Bill Clinton didn't show up. Instead, he went to graduate school in England. The Naval Reserves deal was just a ruse to keep from being drafted. (Note: deferments were not allowed for graduate school at that time.)

Note that Clinton was required by law to promptly ("within 10 days after it occurs") inform his draft board of any change of occupational or military status [32 C.F.R. 1641.7(a)(1969)], or any change of address, or "any fact that might result in the registrant being placed in a different classification, marital, military, or dependency status, or in his physical condition" [32 C.F.R. 1625.1(b)(1969)]. He did not do so. (That's one crime, at least.)

He managed to delay being drafted for nearly a year, but in April, 1969 he was sent his induction notice. He did not report. (That's two crimes.)

Eventually, he contacted his draft board, and told them that he'd gotten his induction notice, but he claimed that for some unknown reason it had arrived after the required reporting date. They apparently believed him. The sent him another induction notice with a later reporting date. He did not report for that one, either. (That's another count.)

Instead, he worked frantically to find a way to avoid service, and simultaneously also avoid criminal prosecution. Due to his former employment by Senator Fulbright (D-Ark.), and his Oxford connections, Clinton had considerable political clout, even then. It was after the 2nd reporting date had come and gone, in the summer of 1969, but he eventually managed to arrange for lenient (and illegal) special treatment: the deal was that he would be forgiven for his illegal refusal to report for induction, and a special slot would be created for him in the already-full Army ROTC program at the University of Arkansas, where he would enroll in the fall of 1969.

Now, it was illegal to grant a 1-D deferment (which is what Clinton got) to anyone who had already been sent an induction notice. Clinton had already been sent two of them, and the reporting dates for both of them had already passed.

It was also illegal to grant a deferment in advance of enrollment in the ROTC program for which the deferment was to be granted. But this, too, was done for Clinton. He couldn't enroll in the program yet, because the semester didn't start until that fall (in fact, he never enrolled in the program), but Clinton's 1-D was issued anyhow, in anticipation of his enrollment. (That's complicity by Clinton in a 4th crime: issuing a 1-D deferment for a status which he never had, ROTC membership.)

The man who did the very illegal favor of granting Clinton that 1-D was Col. Eugene Holmes. To Holmes, Clinton promised to enroll in the ROTC in the fall, and he put it in writing. It was too early to actually enroll, but Clinton signed a letter of intent promising to do so, and so Holmes was persuaded to cut Clinton a couple of months of (illegal) slack to carry him through the rest of the summer, and so on August 7, 1969, Holmes sent the 1-D deferment for Clinton to the Hot Springs draft board.

But Clinton did not enroll. Instead, he moved back to England. Again, he did not inform his draft board of his change in status, his ineligibility for the deferment, nor his change of address. Under the law, he had to inform his draft board, in writing, by September 23, 1969. He did not do so. (That's a 5th criminal count, plus the ethical breach of not honoring his promise.)

In October, 1969, President Nixon announced the creation of the lottery system, and suspended the draft until the first lottery, which was scheduled for December 1st, 1969. In late October, the Hot Springs draft board apparently discovered that Clinton was not in the ROTC program, and on October 31, they again reclassified him, as 1-A. (Clinton apparently was unaware of this at the time.) But the draft had been suspended, so the draft board could not draft him.

On December 1st, the first draft lottery was held. Clinton's birthday drew number 311, a "safe" number. Knowing that he could no longer be drafted, on December 3rd Clinton wrote to Col. Holmes and announced that he had not enrolled in the U. Ark. or its ROTC program, and that he did not intend to do so.

In that letter, Clinton also mentioned that he had not informed his draft board that he was not enrolled in the ROTC (thereby admitting to a felony). Clinton's letter indicates that his conscience was bothering him (a problem he seems to have eventually overcome):

  "...after we made our agreement and you had sent my 1-D deferment to my draft board, the anguish and loss of self-regard and self-respect really set in. I hardly slept for weeks and kept going by eating compulsively and reading until exhaustion brought sleep. Finally, on September 12, I stayed up all night writing a letter to the chairman of my draft board, saying basically what is in the preceding paragraph, thanking him for trying to help in a case where he really couldn't and stating that I couldn't do the ROTC after all and would he please draft me as soon as possible.

  I never mailed the letter... because I didn't see, in the end, how my going in the army and maybe going to Vietnam would achieve anything except a feeling that I had punished myself and gotten what I deserved."

> But the putz lied rather than taking a stand on something in which he
> believed and tried to make up this wacko story when running for president.

Yeah, the Clinton campaign's official line (for months) was that Bill Clinton couldn't remember whether he'd ever actually gotten an induction notice. Yeah, sure! That is one letter that it was impossible for any young man to forget. (And Clinton got two of them.) Some of Clinton's lies aren't even plausible.

-Dave Burton