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Vietnam War Draft Dodgers

February 28, 1988

Your article on draft dodgers made me fighting mad all over again. I was one of those 100 lawyers who used to meet with Bill Smith every three weeks in order to keep up to date on draft counseling. That was my way of doing something about a war I had grown to detest, and that was also the motivation for most of the young men I helped to avoid induction legally. I never heard anyone ever voice the thought that the draftees who went to Vietnam were "suckers."

In fact, it was my disgust with the weekly killings and maimings of our fighting men that finally turned me against the war. Our national leaders kept telling us that a favorable end was in sight, but they were lying to us all the time.

As for the suggestion of cowardice on the part of draft resisters, that is ridiculous. I was a Marine platoon leader in World War II, retired for combat wounds. I think I know courage when I see it. Many of my clients who opposed the draft, even to the point of refusing induction, showed great courage in the face of public hatred and condemnation.

Smith was always concerned about the lack of draft counseling for minorities, but it wasn't because we didn't try. Once I arranged for counseling in the evening at a Latino community center in San Fernando. Nobody came. That was unfortunate, but no reason to stop assisting those who did seek help.

Yes, I was an idealist and I would do it all over again. Believe me, those of us who did something about our opposition to the Vietnam War have never doubted that we did the right thing.

PHILIP F. JONES

Glendale

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