Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Trump the Draft Dodger

He looks pretty damn healthy to me

Back in 1968, at the age of 22, Donald J. Trump seemed the picture of health. He stood 6 feet 2 inches with an athletic build; had played football, tennis and squash; and was taking up golf. His medical history was unblemished, aside from a routine appendectomy when he was 10.

But after he graduated from college in the spring of 1968, making him eligible to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, he received a diagnosis that would change his path: bone spurs in his heels. The diagnosis resulted in a coveted 1-Y medical deferment that fall, exempting him from service in Vietnam when the United States was undertaking huge troop deployments to Southeast Asia, inducting about 300,000 men into the military that year. The deferment was one of five Mr. Trump received during Vietnam. The others were for education.

His experience during the era is drawing new scrutiny after the Muslim American parents of a soldier who was killed in Iraq publicly questioned whether Mr. Trump had ever sacrificed for his country. In an emotional speech at the Democratic National Convention last week, the soldier’s father, Khizr Khan, directly addressed Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, saying, “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”

Mr. Trump’s public statements about his draft experience sometimes conflict with his Selective Service records, and he is often hazy in recalling details.
In an interview with The New York Times last month, Mr. Trump said the bone spurs had been “temporary” — a “minor” malady that had not had a meaningful impact on him. He said he had visited a doctor who provided him a letter for the local draft board, which granted him the medical exemption. He could not remember the doctor’s name.

He also took pot shots at another highly decorated American hero. With his signature flair for controversy, Donald Trump challenged the Vietnam War service credentials of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
"He’s a war hero because he was captured," Trump said July 18, 2015, during an interview in Ames, Iowa. "I like people who weren’t captured."
McCain ended up in a Hanoi POW camp after his Navy dive bomber was shot down in 1967. He broke both arms and a leg as he ejected. He endured enormous pain and torture and spent over five years in captivity.

While McCain was surviving as a prisoner, Trump was a college student at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. His remarks about McCain drew attention to how he spent his time during Vietnam, but that part of his resume was in the line of fire even before he disparaged his Republican colleague.

Ronald Kuby, a criminal and civil rights lawyer and talk show host, appeared on WABC-AM in New York City on July 15, 2015, three days before Trump made his controversial comments. Kuby highlighted the multiple student deferments Trump received, and how he finally got a medical exemption that staved off the draft.
Trump "was a Vietnam draft dodger," Kuby said.

When asked what he meant, Kuby explained, "I use the term broadly to mean anyone who took advantage of deferments to avoid being drafted."
In theory, that could apply to a huge number of people. In the course of the Vietnam War, about 15.4 million men received deferments, were exempted or disqualified. In contrast to those millions, the government charged 210,000 people with draft violations, ranging from burning their draft cards to refusing to serve to fleeing the country. If you were white and middle class, there were many legal ways out."
Trump's wealthy daddy had high powered lawyers advising him.

Effectively, Kuby was saying he thinks Trump was trying to avoid the draft. The only way to prove Kuby wrong would be to know Trump’s motivations at the time. That is not checkable and Kuby’s claim is more a moral judgment than a statement of fact.
Given that we can’t determine Trump’s intent. All we can do is look at the record.
Thanks to a 2011 Freedom of Information Act request by the website TheSmokingGun.com, Trump’s Selective Service record is available to anyone.

Trump select service.gif

The 2-S classifications are Trump’s student deferments. The first two covered his time at Fordham University in the Bronx, and the second two allowed him to stay in school when he transferred to study business at the University of Pennsylvania.
At the time, any college student who asked could get a student deferment. When he graduated in 1968, Trump’s classification shifted to 1-A, or "available for service."
Had that stood, Trump would have been drafted.

But Trump had a physical exam in September 1968. He had taken one less than two years earlier that did not disqualify him for service, as we can tell from his 1-A classification in July 1968. However, his second physical was followed in October with a new classification, 1-Y. That designation put him near the bottom of any call-up list. It meant he would only be drafted if there were a national emergency.

Until recently, the only detail on record about that shift was it was medically related. After his comments about McCain, Trump said it had to do with bone spurs in his heels. Trump reportedly was active in college sports, playing baseball, tennis and squash. And he seemed to have no problems with his feet at all.

Trump failed to mention his medical deferment when he told ABC News on July 19, 2015, that he was never drafted because the draft lottery went into effect and his birthday came with a high number.
"If I would have gotten a low number, I would have been drafted. I would have proudly served," he said. "But I got a number, I think it was 356. That’s right at the very end. And they didn't get -- I don’t believe -- past even 300, so I was -- I was not chosen because of the fact that I had a very high lottery number."
Trump’s memory served him well on one point. His number was indeed 356. The deferments he seems to have forgotten altogether.

Kuby backed up his use of the draft dodger term with a musical reference. Phil Ochs was a Vietnam era protest singer who wrote The Draft Dodger Rag in 1965. The lyrics imagine a young man at the Selective Service office.

"Sarge, I'm only eighteen, I got a ruptured spleen
And I always carry a purse.
I got eyes like a bat, and my feet are flat, and my asthma's getting worse.
Yes, think of my career, my sweetheart dear, and my poor old invalid aunt
Besides, I ain't no fool, I'm a-goin' to school,
And I'm working in a DEE-fense plant

And to show the supplicant’s true intent, the song ends this way:

So I wish you well, Sarge, give 'em Hell!
Kill me a thousand or so.
And if you ever get a war without blood and gore,
I'll be the first to go.

People who live in glass houses ..........!!!

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