George W. Bush WAS NOT A Draft Dodger, Unlike 45 % of All Draftees

Two questions I attempt to answer in this post:

1) Was George W. Bush a draft dodger?

2) How widespread was draft dodging during the Vietnam War era ?

No matter what one's opinion is of George W. Bush or the Vietnam War, facts are facts. As far as I can tell from these two sources George W. Bush did indeed serve the appropriate amount of time in the National Guard and was not a draft dodger.

Source #1: http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a39ea05224b3e.htm
"Bush may have received favorable treatment to get into the Guard, served irregularly after the spring of 1972 and got an expedited discharge, but he did accumulate the days of service required of him for his ultimate honorable discharge."

Source #2: http://www.geocities.com/bush_not_awol/
"So, while the Democrats have spread this malicious, fradulent accusation that he went AWOL (without a shred of evidence) with the help of the liberal media, George W. Bush released copies of microfilm payroll records summarizing the days for which Bush was paid in 1972 and 1973. Though blurry and hard to read, they reflect payments for 82 days of services in 1972 and 1973. Guardsmen were required to get a minimum of 50 points annually and they received 15 just for being members of the guard. Bush accumlated 56 points from May 1972 to 1973 and he accumalted another 56 points in June & July of 1973 meeting the minimum requirement of 50 points for the May 73 to May 74 period. Despite the clear evidence that he served, Democrats still keep the lies coming."

As for determining the extent of draft dodging throughout the United States, I stumbled upon the answer a few months ago when I was leisurely looking through the 1973 Statistical Abstract of the United States (this is just one of the odd types of things I have done before for fun; almost all of the official statistics throughout American history can be downloaded on the US Census website here). Of those drafted, only about 55% served, meaning 45% of those examined were disqualified for one reason or another. I'm sure there was at least some class bias with acceptance into the National Guard to avoid going to Vietnam, but more people got completely out of serving than I had imagined (not even serving in the National Guard, but being "disqualified" from military service altogether). Granted, not all of those disqualified were necessarily "draft dodging" since some were indeed physically or mentally unfit, but does anyone seriously believe that ALMOST HALF of those randomly drafted in the richest nation on Earth were unable to serve? My guess is that the military draft boards were smart enough to reject most of the people who wanted nothing to do with the military.


Disqualified / All Examined = Disqualification Rate
(numbers in thousands)
1960: 116.3 / 259.3 = 44.9%
1965: 540.6 /1,229.0 = 44.0%
1970: 467.8 / 1,016.7 = 46.0%
1972: 223.7 / 470.9 = 47.5%

I captured two screenshots of the data:

1) a blow-up of totals from 1960,1965,1970, and 1972
2) full-page that includes state-by-state breakdowns from 1972 as well as the totals listed above

Percentage of Disqualified Selective Service Draftees For 1960,1965,1970, and 1972
(click on image to enlarge)

Percentage of Disqualified Selective Service Draftees For 1972 By State
(click on image to enlarge)

Did George W. Bush's family and political pull help him get into the National Guard? Probably . Was this a sign of disloyalty to his country? Well, not really, considering almost half of those drafted didn't even do that much.

This post was last edited 12/12/2007 at 11:55 P.M.