Worrying about Being Drafted Doesn’t Make You a Disloyal American

Amy Rutenberg

Fear of imminent war and a draft have escalated in the wake of U.S. forces killing Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in early January.

Misinformation spread across social media platforms. The Selective Service System’s website crashed on Jan. 3.

Some people even received fraudulent texts, supposedly from the Army Recruiting Command, telling them that they had been selected for the draft.

But there is no draft in the United States at the moment and there hasn’t been one since 1973, when the Vietnam War ended. A 1979 law renewed the requirement that men register with the Selective Service on their 18th birthdays, but the agency cannot conscript anyone without approval from both houses of Congress and the president.

Nevertheless, the fear felt by young men and those who love them was real, and it’s a fear with a history.

Draft avoidance is not new

American men have long looked for ways to avoid the draft. In the wake of Soleimani’s death, some young men took to Twitter, threatening to cancel their federal student loan applications because the law requires them to be registered with the Selective Service in order to qualify for financial aid. But this is only the latest iteration of attempted draft avoidance behavior.

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