Bellicose Boortz exposed as draft dodger 

Selective Service files show big talker didn't have medical deferment

If you're the biggest liar in Atlanta -- and, of course, the title belongs to the Coxopoly's Neal Boortz -- who do you get to substitute for you during a vacation? Why, none other than fellow mega-prevaricator and Boston hate radio jock Jay Severin.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Severin fibbed about receiving the Pulitzer Prize. Boston Globe columnist Scott Lehigh reported Severin as saying, "I received a Pulitzer Prize for my columns for excellence in online journalism from the Columbia School of Journalism." Of course, Severin never won a Pulitzer, which makes him a perfect sub for his pal Neal.

Boortz's bio says he "finished at A&M in 1967." That's Texas A&M. He "finished" by flunking out. He has let others -- for example, a speakers' bureau that books engagements for Boortz -- interpret "finished" as "graduated."

That's minor compared to Boortz's military history. His status as a non-warrior is relevant because he's among the most bellicose advocates of George Bush's Iraqi misadventure. Boortz just loves wars, as long as he's in no personal danger. To justify this one, he's repeatedly fabricated facts, claiming many times, for example, that weapons of mass destruction were found.

Boortz wants you to think he'd have done his part during the Vietnam War, but the military "wouldn't have me." He's claimed that he couldn't get into the military because of 1) vision problems, or 2) asthma.

The truth came out after Frank Kaner, a Vietnam vet from Atlanta, and I sought information from the Selective Service on Boortz's draft classifications. Boortz received a 1-D deferment in 1964. That deferment was given to those enrolled in programs such as ROTC. Trouble is, during most of the time Boortz had the deferment, he wasn't in a military program and therefore was ineligible. In February 1968, he received a new deferment, 3-A, given to those with children or other dependents.

According to the records we turned up, Boortz never had a 4-F medical deferment for vision, asthma or anything else. Last week, Dan Amon, a spokesman for the Selective Service, reconfirmed that Boortz rated only the 1-D and 3-A classifications.

I've tried to corner Boortz for an accountability session, but he hides behind his assistant, Belinda Skelton.

The mid-1960s, when Boortz should have worn a uniform, were among the bloodiest in Vietnam. It's not a stretch to suggest that some kid died in Boortz's place.

Kaner in the last year has become the Anti-Boortz, vigorously researching the radio personality's history back to childhood. Kaner spent 18 months in Vietnam, and is a medically retired Marine Corps corporal. Part of his disability is post-traumatic stress syndrome. Kaner ignited when he heard Boortz deride the post-traumatic stress condition as "phony."

"Phony, hell," he told me. "I haven't been worth crap since I was 18. The stuff I saw, what we did over there, it comes back to me all of the time."

Group Senior Editor John Sugg can be reached at john.sugg@creativeloafing.com. A longer version of this report can be found at www.johnsugg.com.

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