“Draft Dodger Rag” is a satirical anti-war song by Phil Ochs, a U.S. protest singer from the 1960s known for being a harsh critic of the American military industrial complex. Released in 1965, “Draft Dodger Rag” quickly became an anthem of the anti-Vietnam War movement. Ochs wrote “Draft Dodger Rag” as American involvement in the Vietnam War was beginning to grow. The song is sung from the perspective of a gung-ho young man who has been drafted. When he reports for duty, however, the young man recites a list of reasons why he can’t serve, including poor vision, flat feet, a ruptured spleen, allergies and asthma, back pain, addiction to multiple drugs, his college enrollment, his disabled aunt, and the fact that he carries a purse. As the song ends, the young man tells the sergeant that he’ll be the first to volunteer for “a war without blood or gore”
Tom Waits has covered increasingly political subject matter since the advent of the Iraq war. In “The Day After Tomorrow,” Waits adopts the persona of a soldier writing home that he is disillusioned with war and thankful to be leaving. The song does not mention the Iraq war specifically, and, as Tom Moon writes, “it could be the voice of a Civil War soldier singing a lonesome late-night dirge.” Waits himself does describe the song as something of an “elliptical” protest song about the Iraqi invasion, however.