Tancredo, The Draft, And Psychology

A three-year-old Rocky Mountain News article sheds some light on questions regarding Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo and his draft status during the Vietnam War. It also talks about the Congressman’s psychological profile, and his brief squabble with state Treasurer Mike Coffman.

According to the report, Coffman, a former marine and soldier, walked away from a pro-Iraq war rally because he had problems with Tancredo’s draft history.From the article* (see bellow):

State Treasurer Mike Coffman confirmed Wednesday he walked away from a pro-war rally with Congressman Tom Tancredo because of questions about Tancredo’s failure to serve in Vietnam.

Coffman, a former Marine who saw action in the first Persian Gulf conflict more than a decade ago, left the Colorado Capitol stage in what he described as a personal protest…

“I just didn’t feel (Tancredo) had the moral authority to send other young people off to war when he was not willing to go himself.”

Then it came out that Tancredo was put to the bottom of the draft list because of previous episodes with depression and anxiety.

Last year, it was reported that in 1970, after Tancredo’s student deferments ran out, he appealed his 1-A draft status, which would have put him at the top of the list for draft eligibility during the Vietnam War.

Tancredo said he didn’t remember it that way. But he said he was given a 1-Y status, which put him at the bottom of the list, when he reported that he had been treated for mental illness as a teenager.

Tancredo said he was diagnosed with depression when he was 16 or 17 and received medication for five years for panic attacks and bouts of anxiety and depression.

Because of Tancredo’s draft record, Coffman said he specifically asked organizers of the rally whether Tancredo would be speaking.

In a radio interview from last July, Tancredo was quoted saying “I did not serve. I could not serve, but I certainly wish that I had that opportunity.”

* Coffman Left Rally To Protest Tancredo; Lawmaker Supports Iraq War But Didn’t Fight In Vietnam, Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO) March 27, 2003

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About the Author

Erin Rosa

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature.

Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state.

Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters.

She can be reached at erosa@coloradoindependent.com.

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