Theodore's World: (POS) Vietnam-era Draft Dodgers Reunite in B.C.

« Islam and Its' Love For Killing People | Main | In Country with Our Troops ~ Cleaning Out The Rats »

July 07, 2006

(POS) Vietnam-era Draft Dodgers Reunite in B.C.

CASTLEGAR, B.C. -- For U.S. draft resister Craig Wiester, fleeing his country to avoid the Vietnam War meant losing a country, a way of life -- and a father.

He grew up in a small town in Ohio and his father was a Second World War veteran.

"I think he would rather have had me come home in a body bag from the jungle than see me go to Canada."

Whatever father and son bond there may have been was strained for many years afterwards.

His father, when it became clear that Wiester was going to resist the draft, called the FBI and the local draft board and told them everything.

"He worked with the local draft board to move as quickly as possible against me."

The son didn't wait around for the consequences and decided to go to Montreal, where he lived for eight years.

Wiester was among what organizers expect will be several hundreds draft resisters and veterans who will take part in numerous workshops and panels over four days at Selkirk College and the nearby Brilliant Cultural Centre.

"For the resisters you see some who lost their families, lost their friendships," Klein said during a break. "Many people disowned them."

I decided this was important for me. This was a way of validating that experience."

Wiester hopes that his experience here can answer at least one question for him.

"The question is why are we dishonoured still in American society?"

Almost 50,000 Americans of draft age avoided the call in the late 1960s and early '70s by going to Canada, where for the most part they were welcomed.

Many returned after President Jimmy Carter granted an amnesty in 1977. It's believed that about half the original number chose to remain in Canada.

One highlight of the reunion is a weekend speech by former U.S. senator George McGovern, the Democratic presidential candidate in 1972 who lost to Richard Nixon.

McGovern, 83, is part of a long list of well-known peace activists who will speak or take part in various panels. Tom Hayden, a student leader in the 1960s, a civil rights activist and former California senator is also attending.

The draft resisters are being honoured at the reunion in this small city, near the Slocan Valley, Nelson and other communities, where hundreds settled about 600 kilometres east of Vancouver.

The four-day event is also intended to pay homage to Canadians who assisted the draft dodgers.

A note from the past:

"I am in great sympathy with those who are not willing to fight, kill, and maybe die for their country (i.e. the particular policy of a particular government) right or wrong. Two of my friends at Oxford are conscientious objectors. One of my roommates is a draft resister who is possibly under indictment and may never be able to go home again. He is one of the bravest, best men I know. His country needs more men like him more than they know. That he is considered a criminal is an obscenity." --- From Bill Clinton's letter to Col Eugene Holmes Dec 3 1969

Wild Thing's comment.......

Carter pardoned the Vietnam draft dodgers on January 21, 1977 (the day after he took office). Damn he just could hardly wait.

Draft dodger Bill Clinton really should go don't you think? I hate him by the way. An he could make the keynote speech, then add in traitor Kerry too.

Wiester said he wonders why they were dishonoured still in American society???? How about this you are a worthless POS that's not deserving of the least bit of respect. I hope they ALL rot in hell, right along side Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Hanoi Jane. Because you ducked your duty while thousands of others stepped up to the line. Because you've spent your life TAKING from this society but ran like a scalded dog the first time it asked you to GIVE anything in return. Because at heart you're a coward who wants to hide his weakness behind some billowy rhetoric!

This made me think of Wallace's quote in Braveheart: "Aye, fight and you may die, run, and you'll live, at least for awhile. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing, to take all the days from this day till then, to come back here and tell our enemies, they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!"

These cowards are now wallowing in their guilt, and I feel nothing for them but disgust. They have to go and do this event seem accepted again. IMO I wouldn't let them on my property, not one of them. Not alive anyway!

I know it would be probably be unrealistic to do this, but I wished that some investigative reporter could have found out what happened to the the guy who got drafted to take Clinton's slot. (that is, the next guy in line that actually answered the call maybe in the county that Clinton was in when he did his artful dodging.)

Here's his email address:

I sent him a little Wild Thing email. Hope it makes his day.

Hey draft dodgers go here ( my Tribute to Vietnam Veterans) and weep from your very souls that you will never be a man! Never have my respect, not ever!

Posted by Wild Thing at July 7, 2006 01:45 AM


Deuteronomy 20:8 -- And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart.

In the Bible, God said he didn’t want the cowards out with the men as they will cause dissention in the ranks and even cause others to become fearful. And, we don’t need cowards in the Land of the Free and Home Because of the Brave.

Posted by: BobF at July 7, 2006 10:05 AM

My Bona Fides: Marine, Infantry, Enlisted Man. VNam 1965-66. My worst physical injuries: exhaustion, dehydration, weight-loss, and a hideous dermatitis (long gone).

An older Marine 'lifer' (w/ TWO Silver Stars) in the late 1970's showed me a sweatshirt with the inscription, "VIETNAM WAR GAMES, 1959-75, SECOND PLACE!" I laughed my ass off. He said that was interesting -- most VNam vets had the same reaction. Non-vets were offended.

I suggested that those who survived VNam had to have developed a taste for Black Humor. "Sorry about that!" "F*ck You, if you can't take a joke!" (These were said when they dropped Napalm on you by mistake.)

This lifer's opinion of amnesty was, if Jane Fonda got away scot-free, everybody else should skate also.

(to be continued)

Posted by: OINK at July 7, 2006 10:45 AM

About six months into VNam (late '65) I started to wonder, "You know.. they're not taking this MF'er seriously." They're not really trying to win it.

Did you know that by the time Nixon took office, LBJ and McNamara being gone, less than HALF of the eventual deaths in VNam had happened? By 1968 it was obvious to a cow that the Administration had its thumb up its ass to the wrist. No strategy -- and covering up with false battlefield numbers.

I supported the Carter Amnesty -- as a way to get this awful thing behind us. This belief would not make me The Flavor of the Week at the USMC League. Ha!

I do not honor those that fled; it sickens me to see others do it. But I understand why they did it.

The proper attitude toward them is silence.

THEY should also follow this rule.

Posted by: OINK at July 7, 2006 11:16 AM

Bob thank you for the verse, I agree with what you said Bob......."we don’t need cowards in the Land of the Free and Home Because of the Brave."

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 7, 2006 11:32 AM

Oink thank you for serving our country.

It may not have been a popular war with the left, but those like me were so proud of our troops and grateful.

I am going to quote a friend of mine, also a Vietnam Vet. He said it much better then I ever could and I agree with him completely. It is a little long but it is just too good not to share.

Thank you for commenting Oink and again thank you for serving our country. It made a difference to me and those like me.

"The Vietnam war was not lost on the battlefield. No American force in ANY other conflict fought with more determination or sheer courage than the Vietnam Veteran. For the first time in our history America sent it's young men and women into a war run by inept politicians who had no grasp of military strategies and no moral will to win.
They were led by "top brass" who were concerned mainly with furthering their own careers, most neither understood the nature of the war nor had a clue about the impossible mission with which they'd tasked their soldiers.

And the war was reported by a self serving Media who penned stories filled with inaccuracies, deliberate omissions, biased presentations and blatant distorted interpretations. The Vietnam War became more about journalists (Dan Rather, Walter Cronkite) than about a war for the survival of liberal democracy in Southeast Asia. If only they loved their country's young and willing warriors as much as they loved their own children. The welfare of the troops and the TRUTH took a back seat to the press' sense of its own importance. Thanks to John Kerry the "Opportunist", Jane Fonda the "Communist" and Walter Cronkite and the other left wing journalists who were too swept up in their own danse macabre to even notice the murderous consequences of their own malfeasance -- or to hear the demands of simple decency.

We never lost a battle in Vietnam but we lost the war at home under color of the coward and liar.

It can be debated that we should never have fought that war. It can also be argued that the young Americans who fought so courageously, never losing a single major battle, helped in a huge way to WIN THE COLD WAR.

We did our duty to the fullest in war of attrition we were not ALLOWED to win. We never ran, never abandoned our wounded, never stopped loving America even when America abandoned us ... and still abandons our POW/MIA's."

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 7, 2006 11:50 AM

WT: Yeah. Those who served do deserve honor. Do you know that us VNam Vets greet each other, even today, with, "WELCOME HOME!!" You know why, don't you?

One more thing I overlooked for years.

Try this "thought experiment": Temporarily put aside issues of Right/Wrong, Communism/Freedom, and consider from a strictly MILITARY viewpoint -- what would the war have been like if North Vietnam had been our ally against the South???

Most Vets guess that we would have won in less than three months. RULE: You cannot win by fighting a defensive war in someone elses' country. Especially if they are corrupt to the core and moribund.

Posted by: OINK at July 7, 2006 12:08 PM

Thanks WT for posting that reply to Oink, it is timely. Thank you Oink for serving.

That same press and media brass is trying to pull off what they did back then in today's war on terror. Thanks to bloggers Dan Rather has met his timely demise, Kerry was exposed for what he is and the rest of the wormy bastards are sqirming under the spotlight, the grey bitch is losing readers everyday as well as credibility. No longer does the entire media parrot the New York Times without being questioned.

My personal feelings about the deserters and draft dodgers who left to let someone else serve in their place is that they have made their beds, now they can sleep in them. As Canadian citizens they can be counted on to defend their new country in the same manner they chose to here when they defected. There is a term for their kind that was coined in WWII France and they were named for the French town of Vichy. The Vichy regime under Henri Philippe Pétain was a collaborative government of traitors who sided with the enemy against their own government. These defectors are no better than their Vichy forebears and are living where they belong. Enjoy your fellow Vichy countrymen Canada and by all means pay homage to them.

Posted by: Jack at July 7, 2006 12:47 PM

"Do you know that us VNam Vets greet each other, even today, with, "WELCOME HOME!!" You know why, don't you?"

Oink, I sure do.
Thanks for sharing Oink.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 7, 2006 01:05 PM

Jack, I agree, they can just stay in Canada for all I care. Rot up there too.
Thank you.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 7, 2006 01:06 PM

I thought I might mellow with age, but NO, I have not. I still detest the draft dodgers and deserters.If they had served and turned against the war, OK (not like Kerry who turned on his fellow troops, for personal political gain). I also think badly of Nixon/Kissenger who suddennly came up with a peace plan just days before an election, but I think worse of LBJ/Macnamara who got us into a no-win strategy.

I agree with OINK that the South was corrupt, but the North was socialist/communist. Ho had an agrarian house cleaning that killed tens, maybe hundreds of thousands, ala Mao and Stalin. We needed to be fighting in the North.

Again, no sympathy, understanding or forgiveness for the draft dodgers from me.

Posted by: TomR at July 7, 2006 03:16 PM

The "thought experiment" was make-believe. I'd never fight for the loathesome North, altho I respected their soldiers' skill & bravery.

I feared seeing the McNamara movie, "Fog of War" -- not as bad as I feared, some parts good. LBJ tried to sneak a quick little war under the media radar -- no thought of rallying support beforehand. I agree completely: 1. before going to war, consider the enemy's strength, motives, and viewpoint. 2. Do the same for yourself; HOW are you going to WIN?

They saw us as "The French", we saw them as "The Communist Arm of Red China". Neither true.

I hear you.

Posted by: OINK at July 7, 2006 05:25 PM

Oink and I are on the same page. I arrived in Cu Chi in September '66, relatively early in the war. I extended my tour to the end of November '67 for an early release, so I spent about fourteen months there and thereabouts, the last sixty days being, psychologically, the worst, but I left there before Tet...which was lucky.

The short story for me is that I never hated or scorned those who fled to Canada. I just didn't care about them. The war itself consumed all the rational energy I had then and have now, and I have no room for the runners and deserters. If I can ever simplify and understand the whole thing, then maybe I'll get around to the runners.

The criminals, in my mind, are men like MacNamara, who concluded as early as '67 that the war was unwinnable (he was wrong), and then fed us all into the maw of the battle without the convictions necessary to win.

We weren't betrayed by the cowards, the fearful or the selfish. We knew what to expect from them. We were betrayed by our civilian leaders.

Posted by: Rhod at July 7, 2006 05:34 PM

I want to thank you as well, each one of you is a Vietnam Vet and your comments mean a lot to me and how you feel about things.

Thank you all.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 7, 2006 07:01 PM

Thanx Rhod. Funny story -- Aug. 1965, we were air mattress surfing on the S. China Sea (rotating 3 day respite after 9 days in the field) when, Lo! -- the Army was making a landing across the bay on a peninsula.

Rhod -- McNamara and LBJ were, sadly, full of good intentions and willful blindness. I'm angry they lacked the balls to either act or get out. You note that every war since then has been Anti-Vietnam -- i.e. go in balls-out with overwhelming force. NOT escalation.

Posted by: OINK at July 7, 2006 08:23 PM

P.S. To all you other Vietnam Vets:


(OINK stole this from a hilarious lapel button, that started,
"Vietnam Vet -- We Were ... etc. etc. The "I" was highlited.)

Posted by: OINK at July 7, 2006 09:00 PM

Oink............LMAO...... I would buy a ton of those and send them to all my Nam Vet friends. hahaha

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 7, 2006 09:29 PM

WT, you hit the nail right on the head baby. The bastards do not deserve to be called men. To put it in the words of General Patton
"Why hell, you ain't nothin but a God damned coward."

I think that this guy crying about losing his dad boo hoo is just more girly man talk. If he had been a real man and did his duty then he could walk with his head held high.

As for Kerry, he is a traitor and that is just all there is to that. He consorted with the enemy and he should have been taken out an hanged. His records have a dishonorable discharge in them and that is why he will not release them. He was one of the bastards pardoned by Fred Rogers' brother, the peanut farmer.

Clinton's letter says it all. The draft dodger is the bravest man he knows and the country needs more like him. Right, and all those so called men crying about being hated in this country. I can make them feel better. Tell them to get in a warm shower cock one leg forward and wash the sand out of their vaginas.

Hell WT, you have more testicular fortitude than those cowards. You went there and did not even get to carry a weapon. You stand up to the bastards and you tell them like it is. When I grow up I want to be just like you.....

America will only be the land of the free as long as it remains the home of the brave. Now tell those cowards to fall out and fall in on Canada where they belong.

Posted by: Big Dog at July 7, 2006 11:19 PM

Thank you Big Dog ((hug))

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 7, 2006 11:58 PM

'And [this day] shall ne'er go by from this day until the ending of the world but we in it shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother. Be he ne'er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition, and gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks, that fought with us [snip]!'

~ William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act IV, Scene III

~ King Henry V, addressing the troops

Posted by: beth at July 8, 2006 01:22 AM

Your Vietnam tribute is beautiful. I'm going to send it to some non-blogging friends of mine. It made me cry.

The 'resisters' will 'count their manhoods cheap'. The real men fought.

Posted by: beth at July 8, 2006 01:24 AM

I never served in theater; I was given a change of orders two weeks after arriving, never seeing the outside of the replacement depot, and I feel in some strange way that I "cheated" my fellows because of that, even though I had no control over it whatsoever.

Having said that, I volunteered for service at the time these others were running from their responsibility to their country, and I will never have any forgiveness to give them. I thank anyone that served, and have nothing but contempt for those who ran.

If they had had the courage of their convictions, they would have refused ro serve and taken their (deserved) prison time.

Now for any of them to cry that they are not being welcomed back just serves to reinforce my opinion that they are nothing more than cowardly spoiled brats.

Posted by: Delftsman3 at July 8, 2006 01:57 AM

Beth thank you so much, that is so perfect from King Henry V, addressing the troops. Perfect!!

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 8, 2006 02:03 AM

Delftsman, thank you for sharing about this. And thank you for serving our country. You didn't cheat on your fellows at all. It takes every one pulling together in every way and you did that absolutely and with a stedfast heart and soul. I am proud to know you.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 8, 2006 02:07 AM

I've noticed that more than average number of men in my old DELTA COMPANY -- Chu Lai, VNam (we have a blog) married Asian women, including Vietnamese. Wonder if that's part of healing?

Anyhoo, I am melanin-challenged, and both of my boys married Asians & my dau. is serious about a Japanese lad. They're like eating potato chips ..

I doubt they did this to please me, but I am delighted to diversify the gene pool. Altho Culture matters, Race is bullshit.

PREFACE: This was when my grandson Gabriel was less than 2 y/o and couldn't understand. Both his parents were highly amused, including the Korean dau/law.

Gabe was playing with a marvelous battery-powered TommyGun that went "BRAP-BRAP-BUDDA-BUDDA". Naturally, Grandpa needed a good blasting...

I told him, "Gabe, would you mind not doing that? Grandpa gets 'edgy' when Asians point weapons at him."

Posted by: OINK at July 8, 2006 08:43 AM