“Draft Dodger Rag” by Phil Ochs

“Draft Dodger Rag” is a satirical anti-war folk song by the influential American singer-songwriter Phil Ochs, released in 1965 on his second album, “I Ain’t Marching Anymore.” As one of the most memorable songs about war from the Vietnam War era, this clever and biting track uses humor and irony to protest the military draft and question the rationale behind the conflict. The song’s witty lyrics and upbeat, catchy melody have made it a beloved anthem for those who opposed the war and sought to challenge the status quo.

“Draft Dodger Rag” relates to war through its humorous portrayal of a young man attempting to avoid being drafted into the military by listing a series of increasingly absurd and exaggerated reasons for his unsuitability for service. These tongue-in-cheek excuses, which range from medical conditions to moral objections, serve to highlight the desperation of those who sought to avoid being caught up in a war they did not believe in. By taking a lighthearted and satirical approach, Ochs effectively conveys the absurdity of the draft system and the lengths that some individuals were willing to go to in order to avoid participating in the conflict.

Musically, the song features a lively, upbeat melody and a simple, folk-inspired arrangement that contrasts sharply with its serious subject matter. This juxtaposition serves to underscore the song’s satirical tone and make its message all the more impactful. Ochs’ clear and expressive vocal delivery, combined with his clever wordplay and biting wit, make “Draft Dodger Rag” a standout track in his catalog and a classic example of the protest song genre.

In summary, “Draft Dodger Rag” is a satirical and memorable song about war that uses humor and irony to protest the military draft and question the rationale behind the Vietnam War. With its witty lyrics, catchy melody, and biting wit, the song remains an enduring anthem for those who opposed the war and sought to challenge the status quo.