Yes, I absolutely agree with his decision. While it can appear as cowardly to some, I think it is imperative in a healthy democracy that adults have the right to make decisions on government participation, and whether to fight for their country or not falls under this umbrella and must be a decision taken by every individual. Democracy respects the choices of individuals. It is an inherent difference between totalitarian and democratic states.
Carter’s pardon stated that only civilians who were convicted of [violating] the Military Selective Service Act by draft-evasion acts or omissions committed between August 4, 1964 and March 28, 1973 were eligible. The pardon was unconditional and wiped criminal records clean, but it only applied to civilians, not the estimated 500,000 to 1 million active-duty personnel who went AWOL (absent without leave) or deserted during the war. Many supporters of Carter’s decision thought they too should be forgiven by the government in an effort to heal national wounds.
Yes, Jimmy Carter was right to pardon the evaders of the Vietnam War draft. Like the 2003 war in Iraq, the Vietnam War was based on lies and fearmongering, and was only started to enrich the war profiteers and the politicians that worked for them. Since this was a nonsense war, the evaders were right in doing what they did.
There are many people that saw their loved ones killed in Vietnam. They decided not to avoid the draft, and they paid with their lives. It was not right to give the people who evaded a free pass. That cheapens the lives of those who fought and died for the United States.