IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release

January 15, 2003

No. 03-02

(301) 585-4000
Contact:
Mokie Porter


 VVA Outraged By Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's Draft Remarks

Link to Secretary Rumsfeld's article in The Washington Post

Audio PSA Response from a Vietnam Veteran medic

Audio PSA Response From A Vietnam Veteran Nurse 

Audio PSA Response From The Mother Of A Vietnam Veteran


(Washington, D.C.) – "We are deeply disappointed by the Secretary of Defense's disparaging remarks last week regarding Vietnam War draftees. These remarks defame the honorable and distinguished service of over 1.7 million draftees during the Vietnam Era," Vietnam Veterans of America national President Thomas H. Corey said today. "The Secretary's comments are without foundation at best and insulting at worst."

Corey was responding to remarks made Wednesday, January 8, by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that draftees added "no value, no advantage, really, to the United States Armed Services over any sustained period of time."

"Secretary Rumsfeld should know that the Vietnam War could not have continued for 10 years without a military draft of honorable Americans who accepted their military obligation as citizens of this great country," Corey said. "The United States won every military confrontation with the enemy in Vietnam, and that was accomplished with the devoted and often heroic service of many tens of thousands of draftees. Further, a system of military conscription has been used in most of America's wars, including World War II, World War I, and the Civil War."

Rumsfeld made his remarks in response to a call last week by Congressman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) to reinstate the draft.

"More than 17,000 of the more than 58,000 men and women whose names are on The Wall were draftees," Corey continued. "It is wrong for anyone to demean their memories and insult their families as the Secretary did last week. Similarly, it is wrong to demean the hundreds of thousands of us who were wounded and disabled as a result of our honorable service. Our service did have value. Most of us went on to make significant contributions to America in civilian life that are valued by our families, our friends, our communities, and by most Americans."

"At a bare minimum, the Secretary owes an apology to the families of those draftees whose names are inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, and those who served with them," Corey said.

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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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