FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

"Get Out of Here!"

In 1971, the Vietnam war spilled over into Laos and Cambodia. President Nixon had reduced American troop strength there to 196,000, the lowest level since 1966, but the war was clearly an unmitigated disaster and the Harris Poll reported that 60 per cent of Americans now opposed the war. Americans were walking on the moon, an American named Ray Tomlinson sent the first email over what was then called “ARPAnet” and an American named Charles Manson was convicted of a particularly heinous series of murders in California. The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers, exposing the pretext for American involvement in Vietnam’s civil war as a complete fraud.

I turned 18, making me eligible for the military draft.

I had no intention of going to college. I’d barely graduated from high school. I hated school, so the student deferment was out. I was 5’11” tall, weighed 125 pounds, and was skidding blindly over the high side into a moderately severe amphetamine psychosis owing to my reckless youthful overindulgence in crystal meth and various hallucinogens and deliriants over the preceding three years.

“Conscientious Objector” status was really tricky to obtain and entailed establishing a religious conviction and affiliation opposed to war in general. I had no such convictions, I simply thought the Vietnam war was an unconstitutional scam and wanted no part of it.

They used a lottery system to determine who got drafted in those days. Each day of the year had a randomly assigned number. The assumption was that a number under 200 would get you drafted, and a number under 100 was a sure-fire ticket to Nam. My number was 38.

I couldn’t even conceive of living in exile in Canada, although I’d done some volunteer work with a group called the Philadelphia Resistance assisting others in doing just that. I was fairly frantic about the whole issue by the time I had to register with the local Selective Service office in my home town of Camden, NJ.

I smoked a lot of weed to steady my nerves for the registration process. As I was filling out the form, rethinking the whole Canada concept, it came to me like a diamond through my forehead. There was a small margin, maybe a quarter-inch, around the edge of the form. After I’d completed the thing, I wrote in the margin, in tiny letters: “I have taken LSD over 200 times I will shoot the first officer that gets in front of me when I have a loaded gun FREE CHARLES MANSON!!!”

I handed it to the little old lady staffing the desk. She looked at it, blanched, turned beet-red, and gave me a look that could cut glass.

“Get out of here,” she snarled.

And that is how Charles Manson kept this American out of Vietnam.

ALAN CABAL is somewhere in California. He might be reached at al_cabal@yahoo.com

 

More articles by:

ALAN CABAL lives in Mountain View, California. He can be reached  at al_cabal@yahoo.com

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail