Draft evasion

Draft evasion is any successful attempt to elude a government-imposed obligation to serve in the military forces of one's nation. Sometimes draft evasion involves refusing to comply with the military draft laws of one's nation.[1] Illegal draft evasion is said to have characterized every military conflict of the 20th and 21st centuries, in which at least one party of such conflict has enforced conscription.[2] Such evasion is generally considered to be a criminal offense,[1] and laws against it go back thousands of years.[3]

U.S. anti-Vietnam War protesters at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. A placard to the right reads "Use your head – not your draft card".

There are many draft evasion practices. Those that manage to adhere to or circumvent the law, and those that do not involve taking a public stand, are sometimes referred to as draft avoidance. Those that involve overt lawbreaking or taking a public stand are sometimes referred to as draft resistance. Draft evaders are sometimes pejoratively referred to as draft dodgers,[4] although in certain contexts that term has also been used non-judgmentally[5][6] or as an honorific.[7]

Draft evasion has been a significant phenomenon in nations as different as Colombia, Eritrea, France, Russia, South Korea, Syria, and the United States. Accounts by scholars and journalists, along with memoiristic writings by draft evaders, indicate that the motives and beliefs of the evaders cannot be usefully stereotyped.