You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried:
"On Oct. 6, 1965, the Selective Service lifted its ban against drafting married men who had no children. Nine months and two days later, Mr. Cheney's first daughter, Elizabeth, was born."This quote comes from a Saturday NYTimes article -- "Cheney's Five Draft Deferments During the Vietnam Era Emerge as a Campaign Issue" -- discussing the lengths VP Dick Cheney went to in order to avoid serving during the Viet Nam war.
It is apparent from the piece that Richard Cheney did everything humanly possible -- short of fleeing to Canada -- to avoid military conscription: He applied for and recieved 5 student deferments, a number described as "incredible" by professor David Curry of the University of Missouri in St. Louis. Curry has written extensively about the draft, including a 1985 book, "Sunshine Patriots: Punishment and the Vietnam Offender." The Times quotes Mr. Curry as observing: "That's a lot of times for the draft board to say O.K."
• Three weeks and a day after the Gulf of Tonkin resolution passed (giving President Johnson unlimited military force in Vietnam), Cheney married Lynn Cheney.
• Within a day or so of the end of deferment for "Married w/o children," Mr. and Mrs. Cheney conceived their first child.
Here's the rest of Cheney's well timed actions:
In February 1962, when Mr. Cheney was classified as 1-A available for service he was doing poorly at Yale. But the military was taking only older men at that point, and like others who were in college at the time, Mr. Cheney seemed to have little concern about being drafted.
In June, he left Yale. After returning home to Casper, a small city in east-central Wyoming, he worked as a lineman for a power company.
At that point, the Vietnam War was still just a glimmer on the horizon. In 1962, only 82,060 men were inducted into the service, the fewest since 1949. Mr. Cheney was eligible for the draft but, as he said during his confirmation hearings in 1989, he was not called up because the Selective Service System was taking only older men.
But by 1963, ferment in Vietnam was rising. Mr. Cheney enrolled in Casper Community College in January 1963 he turned 22 that month and sought his first student deferment on March 20, according to records from the Selective Service System. After transferring to the University of Wyoming at Laramie, he sought his second student deferment on July 23, 1963.
On Aug. 7, 1964, Congress approved the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which allowed President Lyndon B. Johnson to use unlimited military force in Vietnam. The war escalated rapidly from there.
Just 22 days later, Mr. Cheney married his high school sweetheart, Lynne. He sought his third student deferment on Oct. 14, 1964.
In May 1965, Mr. Cheney graduated from college and his draft status changed to 1-A. But he was married, which offered him some protection.
In July, President Johnson announced that he was doubling the number of men drafted. The number of inductions soared, to 382,010 in 1966 from 230,991 in 1965 and 112,386 in 1964.
Mr. Cheney obtained his fourth deferment when he started graduate school at the University of Wyoming on Nov. 1, 1965.
On Oct. 6, 1965, the Selective Service lifted its ban against drafting married men who had no children. Nine months and two days later, Mr. Cheney's first daughter, Elizabeth, was born. On Jan. 19, 1966, when his wife was about 10 weeks pregnant, Mr. Cheney applied for 3-A status, the "hardship" exemption, which excluded men with children or dependent parents. It was granted.
In January 1967, Mr. Cheney turned 26 and was no longer eligible for the draft.
Quite frankly, I would have done the same thing as Cheney (if I wasn't 9 at the time). The difference between the Veep and me is that I wouldn't have the temerity to criticize someone who not only served in Viet Nam, but was wounded three times and won several honors for courage and bravery.
That would simply be hypocritical.
Cheney apparently has no such restraints. Of the American involvement in Vietnam, Dick Cheney was asked: "Was it a noble cause?
His answer: "Yes, indeed, I think it was."
Just not for him . . .
Cheney's Five Draft Deferments During the Vietnam Era Emerge as a Campaign Issue
Katharine Q. Seelye
NYTimes, May 1, 2004