Monday, June 06, 2005

The FBI and the Draft

Something I came across while reading about Mark Felt caught my attention. He joined the FBI in 1942, when he was about 28. World War II was raging, and huge numbers of courageous American men were lining up to join the military. Those who didn't want to volunteer were eligible to be drafted up to age 45.

Being an FBI special agent is a demanding and occasionally dangerous career, although many will tell you they've never drawn their weapons in the line of duty, and relatively few are killed or seriously injured. Such service is essential to national security, as it was during World War II, and it quite properly made Felt ineligible to be drafted.

While service in the FBI is admirable, it isn't nearly as demanding or as dangerous as flying fighters, even in peacetime. And it certainly isn't as dangerous as going off to war. If Felt weren't a media favorite, one has to wonder if some enterprising young Dan Rather wouldn't already be typing up fake memos to discredit his FBI service.

Lest I be misunderstood, I want to stress that I have utmost respect for FBI special agents. The Dan Rathers of the media--that's another matter.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, the FBI at the time was the US's premier spy agency, since the OSS was being created on the fly.

If you wanted to go after Nazi spies in the US, you were needed in the FBI.

And that's exactly what Felt did in WWII. By the end of the war, Felt had become the nation's top spy hunter.

So that's a bit different than dodging the draft.

12:28 PM, June 07, 2005  
Blogger Marinade Dave said...

Yes, and just as every town and city still needed its police and fire departments, that didn't make them draft dodgers either. Besides, what makes you think Felt would have been a fighter pilot? Even cooks were serving their country.

1:15 PM, June 07, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Maybe I was too subtle. I hope it was clear that I have the highest possible regard for FBI special agents, police officers, firefighters, military personnel, and all others who serve and protect us in dangerous jobs and at pay rates most people would find unacceptable.

The point was that if Felt weren't a darling of the press, they probably would have attacked his decision to join the FBI in 1942 as a form of draft-dodging.

6:18 PM, June 08, 2005  

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