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Being a contentious objector is a very specific thing. He registered as one, went through the whole process — it’s a process, a very serious process — to avoid being drafted. You’ve got to write statements about your beliefs and go to hearings. I do not know the exact manner in which Bernie did it, but that’s how one becomes a contentious objector. Simply saying I think Vietnam is a stupid war? That wasn’t good enough. You needed (and still need) to be something like a Quaker to get classified as such.

So I’m curious how he could register as a contentious objector, without being a pacifist.

I mean, hell, he isn’t rare in political types from his generation who did things to avoid going to war. Bush, Cheney, Clinton. They all did it. Bernie at least did it without having elite connections, as far as I am aware.