Speech at Idaho State University

March 26, 1968


Pocatello, ID

We must realize that the system from which we have sent a disproportionate number of Negroes, Mexican Americans, and Indians to fight in Vietnam is a faulty one. That is why I support the abolition of the system as we know it. I as president would propose the establishment of a professional army. Now I know—I realize—I think I can understand your disappointment with my stand; however, while the war in South Vietnam is still taking place I am in favor of a lottery system. And student deferments should be abolished. The fact remains that the major burden of this war is being carried out by the poor—the youths who can’t afford college. As I mentioned, 10 percent of Americans are Negroes, yet 20 percent of Americans killed in Vietnam have been Negroes. In essence your chances of being killed there are twice as high if you are a Negro. What about the boy who simply wants to run a filling station, as opposed to one who wants to go to college? Why should he have to drop his plans and go? Is he not contributing to the betterment of our country with this determination and diligence? I say he is. We must change our system.