Draft Dodging Biden Claims Vietnam War Convinced Him To End Wars 

Adam Parent / shutterstock.com
Adam Parent / shutterstock.com

During a recent interview with Latino powerhouse Univision regarding his “legacy,” President Joe Biden made a peculiar claim. “Well, I hope the legacy is that I kept my word, that – I said that the reason I was running was to help the life of ordinary people and reduce the prospect of war and… because of Vietnam.” 

Yet Biden is among draft-dodging leaders like former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.  

In 1972, while the fashion sense of Americans was questionable and the music defied any classification, a then-29-year-old Biden campaigned against President Richard Nixon’s involvement in Vietnam, arguing that the U.S. should have already exited the conflict. 

A conflict that Biden himself never experienced. He received five draft deferments before being disqualified due to a medical issue. Biden obtained five student deferments while studying at the University of Delaware and later at Syracuse University. He then asked for and was granted a medical exemption due to asthma he allegedly suffered from as a teenager. 

Asthma that, per his own book, never seems to have slowed him down as a professional athlete and a lifeguard. Nonetheless, he received a “1-Y” classification from the draft board, meaning he was only qualified to serve in the event of a national emergency. 

While he claims to have been against the war, he never went to any of the Vietnam protests. He claims his refusal to join these protests was because he was married and studying law, then elected to office to “vote against it.” He also bizarrely mentioned in 1987 that he didn’t protest because he “wore sports coats.” 

It’s a sore spot for Democrats, who must strike a balance between excusing Biden’s “dodge” while condemning Trump’s. Trump received four deferments while studying at Fordham and the University of Pennsylvania. He was ultimately disqualified from active duty because of bone spurs in his heels and given a “1-Y” classification, just like Biden. 

In 2016, Trump claimed that his bone spurs were only minor and that they no longer bothered him. 

Political “draft dodgers” are not new. Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, strategically avoided military service during the Vietnam War. Initially, between 1963 and 1968, Clinton received educational deferments, permitting him to pursue higher education at Georgetown University and subsequently secure a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford. 

However, a 1968 regulatory change rendered graduate and law school students ineligible for such deferments, and Clinton received a draft notice. In response, Clinton used his connections to enter the ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) at the University of Arkansas Law School in 1968. This allowed him to resume his studies at Oxford and complete his master’s degree. When President Nixon developed the draft lottery, Clinton’s number was so far down the list it enabled him to renege on his ROTC commitment. He received no penalty for his decision to avoid his duty. 

For Clinton, it was the perfect storm of draft dodging and one not mentioned by his supporters, both then and now. However, another president, George W. Bush, also dodged the draft using his connections. 

After graduating from Yale in 1968, President George W. Bush used his family connections to secure a Texas Air National Guard spot. He served as a pilot for six years. Bush’s decision to join the Guard was influenced by President Johnson’s decision not to send Guard units to Vietnam, preferring to use active-duty forces for combat. Getting into the Guard in 1968 was tough, especially for someone like Bush, who scored in the 25th percentile on the pilot test and had a record of arrests. Towards the end of his time in the Guard, Bush started missing meetings and lost his pilot certification. Surprisingly, unlike many others, he wasn’t called back to active duty. 

Biden’s claims to Univision that he ran on the platform of ending wars is counterintuitive since every action he has taken as President seems to have increased the possibility of the United States joining or causing another armed conflict against powerful foes. 

But more importantly, the interview has raised eyebrows among many who condemn Trump as a “draft dodger” without realizing that Biden did the same.  

During the interview, Biden had one job – to present his legacy to Univision. He could have claimed many things, like his allegedly thriving economy or his part in dragging the Affordable Care Act across the finish line as vice president. 

Instead, like a beauty contestant who claims she wants to end world hunger, he bizarrely chose “ending war” as his legacy and opened renewed scrutiny into his dodgy past. It’s a curious position, hardly his legacy, and bound to confound his re-election strategists.