Kristol, on C-SPAN, 8/21/2002 responded to two callers who questioned his own military service this way:
1) "I was a little too young to be drafted in Vietnam."
2) "I was a little too young for Vietnam."
At the time I couldn't find a DOB for Kristol, but his age, listed in a couple of bios and a feature story, gave a birthdate of 1952 or '53. Neither was "too young to be drafted", let alone to volunteer, but there is a complicating factor which I happen to know first hand, having been born in '53 myself. On June 28, 1972, Richard Nixon announced that no more draftees would be sent to Vietnam (a decision which sent two of my friends there, as they had volunteered after receiving low lottery numbers). That was the draft class of those born in 1952. The draft lottery for 1973 was held in February, 1972, but Nixon and the Congress fought over an extension of the law, and Congress allowed it to expire in mid-'73. Very few men were drafted that year.
So Kristol, while clearly futzing the issue, and avoiding talking about the chachickenhawk charge behind the two callers' questions, might have been technically correct the first time, though not the second.
And you're probably no more amazed than I to find out that his birthdate was December 23, 1952. Kristol was eligible, and had his number been low enough he very well could have been "drafted in Vietnam". As it turned out, his number was in the 180s while the draft reached only into the 90s that year. (Incidentally, it might be useful to note here that nobody involved in the draft lottery is fuzzy on his own details, assuming his memory still operates.)
Jump to Thursday, April 27, 2006. Kristol is the guest on The Colbert Report, and Stephen's already knocked him silly (his opener, "Project for the New American Century, how's that going?" had Kristol sputtering like an oxygen-starved candle). The interview turned to where manpower is supposed to come from for our next several invasions:
STEPHEN: Were you drafted? You're of Vietnam age, right?
KRISTOL: I was a little too young.
STEPHEN: How old were you in 19...72?
KRISTOL: I was 19.
STEPHEN: That's old enough.
KRISTOL: I was in the lottery for one year, Nixon cancelled the draft, so I didn't volunteer.
Ah, a truthful dependent clause! At this rate Kristol will issue an entire truthful sentence by 2014.
Bill Kristol, News Hour, August 20, 2004, shilling for the Swift boaters:
Some of the charges have I think held up quite well and they're willing to debate these charges against anyone. I think you found this last night against people who know a lot about it; it's really unfair, Mark. You're really slandering someone like John O'Neill who is a perfectly decent man who strongly believes....