FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

"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
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Puddle Jumping in New Britain
Matt Johnson
The Rich Are No Smarter Than You
Julian Vigo
College Scams and the Ills of Capitalist-Driven Education
Brian Wakamo
It’s March Madness, Unionize the NCAA!
Beth Porter
Paper Receipts Could be the Next Plastic Straws
Christopher Brauchli
Eric the Heartbroken
Louis Proyect
Rebuilding a Revolutionary Left in the USA
Sarah Piepenburg
Small Businesses Like Mine Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Robert Koehler
Putting Our Better Angels to Work
Peter A. Coclanis
The Gray Lady is Increasingly Tone-Deaf
David Yearsley
Bach-A-Doodle-Doo
Elliot Sperber
Aunt Anna’s Antenna
March 21, 2019
Daniel Warner
And Now Algeria
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail