Draft Dodger Rag
Phil Ochs
Written by Phil Ochs


Oh, I'm just a typical American boy from a typical American town
I believe in God and Senator Dodd and a-keepin' old Castro down
And when it came my time to serve I knew "better dead than red"
But when I got to my old draft board, buddy, this is what I said:

CHORUS
Sarge, I'm only eighteen, I got a ruptured spleen
And I always carry a purse
I got eyes like a bat, and my feet are flat, and my asthma's getting worse
Yes, think of my career, my sweetheart dear, and my poor old invalid aunt
Besides, I ain't no fool, I'm a-goin' to school
And I'm working in a DEE-fense plant

I've got a dislocated disc and a wracked up back
I'm allergic to flowers and bugs
And when the bombshell hits, I get epileptic fits
And I'm addicted to a thousand drugs
I got the weakness woes, I can't touch my toes
I can hardly reach my knees
And if the enemy came close to me
I'd probably start to sneeze

I'm only eighteen, I got a ruptured spleen
And I always carry a purse
I got eyes like a bat, and my feet are flat, and my asthma's getting worse
Yes, think of my career, my sweetheart dear, and my poor old invalid aunt
Besides, I ain't no fool, I'm a-goin' to school
And I'm working in a DEE-fense plant

Ooh, I hate Chou En Lai, and I hope he dies,
Onething you gotta see
That someone's gotta go over there
And that someone isn't me
So I wish you well, Sarge, give 'em Hell!
Kill me a thousand or so
And if you ever get a war without blood and gore
I'll be the first to go

Yes, I'm only eighteen, I got a ruptured spleen
And I always carry a purse
I got eyes like a bat, and my feet are flat, and my asthma's getting worse
Yes, think of my career, my sweetheart dear, and my poor old invalid aunt
Besides, I ain't no fool, I'm a-goin' to school
And I'm working in a DEE-fense plant


Lyrics submitted by weezerific:cutlery

Draft Dodger Rag Lyrics as written by Phil Ochs

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Draft Dodger Rag song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment

    Yeah I think Jerrybear is looking at the song way too deeply. It's Phil Ochs talking about himself dodging the draft.

    Ghost Trainon April 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Love the title.

    Relinquo1on May 06, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song is about the likes of Danny Quayle and George Dubbya Bush. The sort of rich cowards who are all for war just so long as they don't have to do any of the killing or dying. Who don't think twice about sending other people to kill and be killed so that they may have their money, oil, and power.

    Jerrybearon December 15, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Don't forget Bill Clinton...and what he missed out on...he's as guilty on this as anybody...Somalia, Kosovo, continued bombings in Iraq before Dubya invaded again...he never fought in Vietnam, so why aren't you including him with Quayle and Bush...

    OpinionHeadon July 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Did Clinton start a war that a lot of the country feel is unneccesary?

    HappyEmo1on February 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i always thought the song was about himself... and how he'll never go 2 war.... and the verses were sarcastic

    vivachanon March 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I heard it was Phil's take on the fact that Americans had all the military backing and the nation they were fighting at the time had nothing and some American's were still trying to dodge the draft. Think of the poor people fighting the Americans! No equipment, no training and still they fight.

    Ezzon August 13, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Jerrybear hit the nail right on the head, actually. When Phil Ochs was asked about this song, he said:

    "In Vietnam, a 19-year-old Vietcong soldier screams that Americans should leave his country as he is shot by a government firing squad. His American counterpart meanwhile is staying up nights thinking up ways to deceptively destroy his health, mind, or virility to escape two years in a relatively comfortable army. Free enterprise strikes again."

    LtAxlerod932on January 18, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I agree with you LtAxlerod932. The song is about how even though an American boy may be American in thinking 'keeping Castro down' and 'better dead than red', he still doesn't want to go to Vietnam and die for some old rich politician who is only looking to make his pockets overflow with greed.

    masterstin1832on April 19, 2010   Link

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