Biden’s lack of military service assumes new relevance amid Ukraine conflict

President Joe Biden has made it clear on numerous occasions that he does not plan to send U.S. forces to fight in Ukraine, but with some on the left – such as Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) – implying that the time to send American troops may be approaching, it may be wise to revisit the commander in chief’s own historical reluctance to engage in combat during the Vietnam era.

As the U.S. Sun reported last November, Biden panicked and skirted the draft on five separate occasions while American forces fought in southeast Asia, ultimately receiving one more deferment than former President Donald Trump, who has long been accused of dodging the draft with what some suggest was a false claim of bone spurs on his heels.

According to the outlet, Biden obtained five student deferments during his time as a undergraduate at the University of Delaware and also as a law student at Syracuse University.

Subsequent to those, Biden also was given a “1-Y” classification – in essence a medical exemption – because of asthma he was said to have suffered as a teenager, and as such, he could only be drafted in the event of a national emergency.

Though it is equally true that Trump received a number of student draft deferments while studying at the University of Pennsylvania and was also issued a medical exemption due to the aforementioned bone spurs, Biden has faced nowhere near the level of scrutiny or disdain over his lack of service.

Back in 2018, daughters of the New York podiatrist who diagnosed Trump with the bone spurs that kept him out of the military even came forward to allege that their father did so only to curry favor with his landlord, the eventual president’s father, Fred Trump, saying that they were never certain that a physical examination was even conducted.

Despite being one of the few recent American presidents never to have served in the armed forces, Biden likes to play up his connection to the military, largely through the experiences of his late son, Beau Biden, who served a year-long deployment in Iraq as part of the Delaware Army National Guard.

The president took significant criticism last summer for invoking his son’s name when discussing American troops killed during his botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, points which were well-taken given that Beau Biden did not die in combat, but rather from a form of brain cancer.

It is difficult to know whether Biden is flashing back to his own fears of personal engagement in war when resisting demands to send Americans into Ukraine, or if he has simply made a pragmatic political calculation that such an escalation simply will not fly here at home.