portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

government

The draft people are after me!

I never registered for the draft, and now I got an extremely threatening letter from the feds that said they turned my name over to the justice department. Could I get some reassurance from a lawyer or someone that they aren't going to throw me in jail?
Here is the letter:

Dear Mr. [my name]:

Federal law requires all males to register with the Selective Service System upon reaching their 18th birthday. As of this date, Selective Service has not received a reply to our previous correspondence advising you of this legal requirement. You have not registered, nor offered evidence that you are exempt from the registration requirement.

Refusal to register is a Federal crime punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and up to 5 years imprisonment, or both. Because we did not hear from you, we had no choice but to send your name to the Department of Justice with a request that you be prosecuted for refusing to register.

However, our objective is to register you, not to have you prosecuted. It is not to late to register! Simply complete Section A of the enclosed Registration Status Form. If you believe you are not required to register, complete Section B of the form and provide supporting evidence.

Remember, if you refuse to register, you may become permanently ineligible for certain Federal benefits, such as job training, student financial aid and government employment. You may also be ineligible for obtaining US citizenship. Registration protects your eligibility.


Okay, the rumor I heard is that I could not register, they would not prosecute me, and then when I turned 25 I could register so that if I needed federal benefits later in life, I would still count as having registered. Is this true?
Any advice would be great.
Military & Draft Counseling 22.Sep.2004 16:43

Thad tbetz@lclark.edu

Disclaimer: this is not legal advice.

All males between the ages of 18-26 are required to register with the Selective Service. Failure to do so is a federal offense and CAN be prosecuted. However, a prosecution has not occurred since the 80s becasue prosecutions actually lead to lower registration rates. Your strategy of waiting until you are 25 is not uncommon and would seem to reap the rewards while mostly avoiding potential call-up (this is becasue the military drafts the younger ones first). Another point to consider, though, is that, in the event of a draft it is unlikely that your failure to register with Selective Service will actually excuse your military service; they obviously have your name and address already. Some other things to consider are whether you wish to take a symbolic stand against militarism and information gathering v. practical stand against being called up. If you would like to talk about this in person with a counselor contact the Lewis and Clark Military Counseling Project at 800-394-9544 or 503-233-3656 or visit  http://www.lclark.edu/org/nlg/girights.html. the War Resisters League has a hotline that can also be of assistance and can be contacted at 503-203-5195. Please contact one of us to discuss all of your options.


Dont let them scare you 22.Sep.2004 16:51

hell no!

Ask George Bush what he did. And remember never join the army and one day you could be commander-in-chief!

Fuck'm 22.Sep.2004 19:26

do go

Youwill stand tall all of your life. If in the future freedom is restored in the USA you will be pardoned if not you will not have helped the enemy. Not that you need to be pardoned for anything. Even if they convince you you will not have to fight you will be making it easier for someone else to kill people.

Do remember 22.Sep.2004 21:16

Dorothy

If they want to pick you up for intimidation, if they want to keep you off a bus or plane, they now have "reasonable" grounds.

Your friends should remember the enormous club hanging over your head : you can be offered "leniency" in return for "cooperation".

They've got you & it is wrong 22.Sep.2004 22:33

gk

It is wrong to tie registration with citizenship, college loans, federal jobs and what not. But they have! They've got you & I hate it! It needs to be changed. I'll go to a military office & register as Donald Duck. Yes, I will! And they've have to take my application. It's nonsense cuz I have 3 kids over 28 yrs. old! But I'm going to register. I hate that dumb recruiting offices.

WTF?? 23.Sep.2004 06:59

Clyde

That made good sense. You have chldren 28 years old and won't register for the draft? Who's asking you too?

As far as I can see you want to reap the benefits of living here but don't want to give anything back, right? You are a scab on society. No wonder the Democrats want higher taxes. To buy YOUR vote. You are a scab on the ass of society.

options 23.Sep.2004 09:31

gk

Let's have a Selective Peace Service option. One would be forced to sign one-or-the-other. Kill others or sign-up to help the living.

Hey Clyde... 23.Sep.2004 10:10

toblerone

I think gk was talking about going to the Selective Service to register in order to tie up the system and cause a ruckus. I somehow doubt that he's been living his whole life here without either a) working, or b) receiving the public benefits we all receive from being U.S. citizens (assuming that he's a long-term U.S. citizen and resident, which he didn't indicate otherwise in his post).

I'm pretty frustrated with this misconception that immigrants come to the U.S. soley to receive federal or state benefits. Not to mention the rumors that federal programs exist giving free homes, cars, and no-work incomes to immigrants. Immigrants come here for a myriad number of reasons, primarily economic (because even the poorest Americans generally do get food and shelter nearly all of the time) but also in terms of living in a free state (that is, they're fleeing from a totalitarian one). Just to be clear, I'm not saying we live in a free country, and immigrants probably get to know this quicker than anyone else. But it is freer than others. Not that this makes us particularly great : being a free country is like being a father that doesn't beat your children (i.e. being free is probably the bare necessity of decency, being great takes a lot more than this).

Hey GK 23.Sep.2004 10:14

Rummy

Hey GK, why donīt you register IN PLACE OF the guy who got the letter? Bring your 3 kids to the office and sign Donald Duck with your Dildo-fountain pen and preferably while wearing a pink boa. Who knows, maybe itīll work...

But talk to Draft Counseling folks, they know what theyīre doing.

poesie 23.Sep.2004 10:14

spf

"I ain't gonna suugest you shouldn't register for the draft, that wouldn't be legal. But why not take a cue from my good buddy Sam and register 50 times. Ain't no law again' it. No law against a man, or a woman, 14 or 40 registering for the draft 100 times, 500 times, 1000 times. Just let them know what's on your mind."

-halobenders "bombshelter pt 2"

get your CO files in order people 23.Sep.2004 12:38

kirsten anderberg kirstena@resist.ca

America is at war, in a very colonialistic occupation, no matter what fancy words we use. It is a very unpopular war. It is not a "liberation." I worry that America will be in a perpetual war on the world, and I do not believe it can do that endlessly without the draft being reinstated. Just as Americans MUST pillage oil-rich countries to sustain their one-driver/one-car needs, they also are going to require expendable bodies, eventually, for all this warring.

I am the mother of a 20 year old male. And even though there is not an active draft right now, my son was required by federal law to register for the Selective Service System (SSS), aka "the draft" as soon as he hit 18. He was also required to register for the draft to receive financial aid in college. He decided that since it is a felony crime not to register, it was easiest to register, and then research alternatives. Some resist registration, and I applaud those efforts. But for the rest of us, we need to know what the options are.

The biggest questions are, "How does the draft work?," and "How do you establish Conscientious Objector (CO) status to get out of military service?"
How Does The Draft Work?
Before a draft can be enacted, Congress and the President have to authorize the draft calls. Under current laws, the draft will start with men who turn 20 years old in the year the draft was enacted. They will be placed in a "lottery" system. If your name is called up in the lottery, you have 10 days to report to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), unless you file a claim for a deferment or exemption.

Once called up for service, you file your Conscientious Objector claim with the military. Once your claim is filed, your induction date will be postponed while the draft board investigates the claim. If your claim is rejected, you receive a new induction date. (Seems like EVERYONE should at least use this to buy time!) The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors can help you find legal aid and resources so you can get through the long appeals process. You can claim all classifications that apply to you. Currently, the exemptions from the draft are: * a minister or divinity student * sole surviving son of a family whose mother, father or siblings have died as a result of military action * sole financial or other support to family members who are dependent, elderly, disabled and/or ill * physically or mentally incapable of being in the military * homosexual or bisexual * a Conscientious Objector

The legal definition of "Conscientious Objector" is: "a person who objects to participation in all forms of war, and whose belief is based on a religious, moral or ethical belief system." You do not need to be "religious," or even believe in god, to qualify as a CO. You have to oppose organized killing and war, due to religious, moral or ethical conviction. Under the current legal definitions, you cannot selectively oppose certain wars, but must oppose ALL wars.

CO's will be exempt from military service but may be required to perform civilian tasks. A Noncombatant CO is a CO who does not object to noncombatant military duties, such as medic. These CO's are trained without weapons and assigned to non-combatant duty.
How Do You Establish Conscientious Objector Status?
STEP ONE - STATEMENT OF BELIEFS The first step is to write "Conscientious Objector" on the bottom of the card you send in to register with the SSS. If you missed the chance for that or registered online, don't worry. There are things you can do NOW. The reason that you need to make a CO file NOW is that once a draft is enacted, you could have 9 days to get a file together on your behalf! Do it now, and the older and longer you have a file on this, the more success you will have at an exemption.

Form 22 of the current Selective Service Documentation form for CO's ask several questions that you need to think about and answer on file now. It asks you to "describe your beliefs which are the reasons for your claiming conscientious objection to combatant military training and service or to all military training and service." You want to make a statement on paper NOW that includes these concepts. Write your own statement about why you object to war. Start by saying that you are conscientiously opposed to war, then describe what beliefs lead you to that stance. Be clear about whether you are a CO or a noncombatant CO. If you want a full exemption, be clear about why noncombatant service would violate your conscience.

Form 22 also says, "Describe how and when you acquired these beliefs." Write down a list of events, people, experiences, and influences that have lead you to these beliefs. Include classes, travel, religious experiences, teachings, volunteer work, activism, anything that has helped influence you to be a CO. It is important to establish your beliefs as a higher, conventional value, since unconventional and mere political beliefs do not make the cut. An arbitrary personal belief will not stand. It has to be based on "a religious, moral or ethical belief system." Or in other words, you need to tailor your argument to fit a traditional anti-war "system." A "system" is more than one person. A "system" is "established." Take the time to construct a solid, logical statement based on facts and traditions, rather than making an illusive free-spirit argument.

Form 22 also says, "Explain what most clearly shows that your beliefs are deeply held. You may wish to include a description of how your beliefs affect the way you live." If you do not have alot of experience to cite here as proof of your convictions, you can use your future plans to illustrate your convictions. Talk about previous classes or future career plans that relate to your CO status. Describe letters to editors, essays from school, anything that shows your commitment as a CO. Talk about how your life is lived in accordance with your CO beliefs. Use this opportunity to show the sincerity of your claims.

STEP TWO - LETTERS OF SUPPORT Once you have composed your CO statement, send it to people who know you, and ask them to write a letter of support. These people will read your statement and attest to the sincerity of your statement, based on their experiences with you. Especially good are letters from clergy, teachers, and professional relations. The best letters are from people who disagree with CO status, but believe your statement regarding your own beliefs. You should solicit 3-4 letters, then pick the best 2-3 and keep them on record. You may also want to compose a list of people to testify on your behalf at the draft hearing and keep that on file too.

STEP THREE - RECORDING YOUR FILES Once you have written the statement of beliefs and gathered the letters of support and witnesses, you need to make three separate CO files. Keep the original copies of the statement and the letters of support in a file at your own home. Send copies of the letters and statement to the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors so that an unrelated third party has your file. And then give a third copy of the materials to a community leader, a member of clergy or any person who can vouch for your sincerity later.

STEP FOUR - KEEP INFORMED Check out these resources: Center for Conscientious Objectors - www.objector.org; National Council of Churches - www.ncccusa.org; www.nisbco.org; Unitarian Universalist Association -  http://www.uua.org;  http://www.draft resistance.org


The Hated Gerbil Wheel 23.Sep.2004 17:44

Been there, done that

If you haven't registered for one reason or another, it's important that you do establish your position and get a letter from the selective service that states that, based upon their records and the information you provided, you were not required to register. You can fill out the forms to request this online at the Selective Service site ( http://www.sss.gov)

If you never registered, do not have a disclaimer letter or a CO letter, or have something bogus with "Donald Duck" on it, you can be turned away from government funded trade programs, loans, and employment which requires proof of your Selective Service Status.

It sucks, but there it is. It doesn't matter if you're now too old to draft. If you're still seeking work, loans, or training you need to take care of it. That even goes for any transsexual men out there who legally changed their sex from female to male.

My Advice: register & be done with it 23.Sep.2004 19:10

beentheredonethat

Dude, just go register.

If you don't, you're causing yourself all kinds of headaches and mounting the most ineffective, silly protest ever. Let's be blunt: Do you really think the government would skip over you for the draft if you don't fill out a piece of paper at the post office? Don't be ridiculous. If there's a draft, they'll find you if they want you.

Meanwhile, if you don't register, you can forget student aid and many other things. No, they're not going to prosecute you...I bet 99% of those who don't register are dumb idiots who don't know they're supposed to, not "protestors". The government doesn't REALLY care - they don't need the Sel Svc - but since it's on the books, they still go through the motions.

The Selective Service was a political sop to those who didn't want to get rid of the draft in the 70s. The government maintains it, but in a real call-up they would use the bazillions of sources of data. Think of it this way: major corporations can find 18-25-year-olds and target-market them...so can the government.

Ooooooh...you didn't register with Selective Service. I'm so in awe of you. But I bet you paid your taxes because if you don't you'll go to jail, even though X% of your taxes go for things you don't approve of. I guess you just want to protest where it's easy.

Get over yourself and fill out your card and get on with your life.


just do it 23.Sep.2004 21:56

smile n wait

Unless you wanna make your stand this early in the gAme
-----register.
---------smile at em like they are the cops
---------------go home n forget about em
"IF" they ever come-a-calling tell em to F* off

I never registered and got away with it. You'll be fine 24.Sep.2004 16:01

John Paul Cupp anti_imperialist_solidarity@yahoo.com

Dear Comrade,

It's going to be okay. I can't promise you a bed of roses because I am neither god nor a lawyer. I can tell you, that your stance is very principled, and correct. If they United States were not an aggressive imperialist country, I would agree with it, for defense, but we are not in Cuba or Venezuala, facing attack.

The reality is that while always relying on your brains, trust your heart and your principles. US Troops are worthless mercenary dogs, the more that get shot the better, because objectively what they are doing is worse that a child molester, even if they are brain washed into thinking they are "Defending freedom.

Life requires us to to maintain principles and integrity. Frankly, I never registered and am in the limelight 10 times more than you will ever be, and nothing happened. I think you will be just fine.

1. Don't give your name out publically, because it increase the odds of them "wanting to get you".

2. Don't register for the principle of the thing.

3. Check out sources with info on how to go to school without registering, because if I were in college, I would not be in the poverty I am in. It is possible to do this with a lot of work

4. I am not sure what I am worth, but send me an e-mail, if you want.

YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF YOURSELF!HOLD YOUR HEAD UP!

#2 24.Sep.2004 19:48

John Paul Cupp

A lot of people posted comments on your allegead self-righteousness, which only shows were they realy stand. Use your own brain. Life experiance has given you the compass you need, even if mistakes occur. Stay strong, don't fall into defeatism, and RESIST THE BASTARDS!

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ 25.Sep.2004 08:42

Kitanis

This fighting the registration for selective service amazes me.. The law has been in effect for over 20 years.. have you seen a draft yet?

I know we have had crazy congressman talking about the draft now.. after they gutted the military to get the misnammed "peace dividend" that did not really exist. That little thing was like Ronald Reagan economics.. it never existed! Unless there is a full blown war with a full blown military.. the draft will not be implemented.

If you look at it. Its Congress.. NOT the sitting president who started your trouble for Selective Service Choice.. You will not believe me I know because people are short minded in the "war" debate, Congress was the driving force for the law.. and Congress has never rescended the law itself.

Personally.. I would just fill out the form.. and if you do not want to join the military.. then stay the heck away from the recruiting stations.. Its that simple.

be creative 03.Oct.2004 15:42

wt

don't reg get some fake docsuments and show it to the university. IF anyone complains tell them SS registration computer is screwed up (It is!). Get yourself an illegal alien friend and see how good their funny documentation is.