The military draft, that is. I know numerous Regular Readers are old enough to remember Viet Nam even if you missed your chance to visit. This morning I was reading an article that incidentally mentioned Mohammed Ali being stripped of his title for refusing induction, and it reminded me of a question I often asked during that period but never heard a good answer: Why did eligible people who objected to the draft ever register for it in the first place?
I mean, one of the more iconic protests of the time involved people publicly burning their draft cards, right? Brave enough in its way but it does imply that at some point in the recent past they visited a draft board office and registered for induction. Doesn’t that act comprise a statement that you are indeed willing to submit to induction and fighting in the war? It’s not like there was some other place besides VN where lots of draftees got sent.
There might be some perfectly logical reason for it but I don’t recall ever hearing it. Why did people willing to refuse induction ever submit to registration in the first place?