The handbills and rhetoric were vintage 1970; a draft teach-in at George Mason University, complete with a Vietnam draft resister, a former POW who turned against the war and a feminist antidraft organizer.
As put together by the university's Faculity Against War, the program also included an assistant director of Selective Service, "for the sake of balance." But faculty members said they deliberately weighted the teach-in against the draft, and it had all the earmarks of an antiwar rally of a decade ago.
It drew a response that was vintage 1980.
There were more students in the library, cafeteria, beer hall and pool room than the 200 or so who showed up for the teach-in.
The former POW didn't come because he had to work.
A Marine recruiter on campus had his best day in months.
And there were as many students in favor of the draft as there were against it.
"It's time to be pro-American and stand up for our country," said sutdent body president Chip Muha, 22, a veteran of two years in the Air Force. "The military is in such bad shape now that registration and the draft is the only answer. If I were drafted, I'd go again -- and I hated the service."
Said Laura Welsh, 21, a senior, "I think the draft should be required for men and women. I don't think it's asking too much of anyone to serve two years for our country."
Speaking against the draft were Jack Colhoun, a Vietnam-era draft resister who spent eight years "in exile" in Canada, and Jane Midgley, a feminist and draft protest organizer.
"The draft would be an incredible intrusion into your life," said Midgley. "I would hope we don't forget the Vietnam War-era so fast."
Colhoun, director of a national anti-draft organization based in Washington, argued, "This country is moving toward a more interventionist stage in foreign policy and the draft is an integral part of it. During the Vietnam era, the fact that the draft was already in place had a major role in getting us into that war."
As Colhoun and Midgley spoke, Marine Capt. G. M. Brown and an aide were looking for a few good men (and women) at a busy recruiting table in one corner of the room.
"You picked a bad day to come here," someone remarked.
"No, sir," grinned Brown. "The Marines like confrontation."
In fact, Brown said later, the Marine Corps had a banner day at George Mason: three enlistments. One is generally considered a good day's work.
For the majority of George Mason students, however, it was business as usual.
In the cafeteria, one floor below the teach-in in the student union, a young woman was celebrating her birthday. Someone had baked a cake and a group of friends was sitting around a table, singing "Happy Birthday."
On the quadrangle just outside, members of the George Mason Medieval Guild, dressed in mock armor, were holding their weekly combat drill. Armed with padded swords, battle axes and maces, they whacked and flailed at each other, occasionally knocking off a helmet or shattering a shield.
"If I were drafted, I would go. I'd like to fight a little bit," said John Condray, 18, a freshman from Woodlawn who is vice warlord of the group.
Wearing the shirt of mail and clutching a spear, Fred Scholpp, 19, a student at Northern Virginia Community College, declared, "A good war would do us all some good."
In the game room just off the lobby where the teach-in was going on, John McAuliffe, 18, a freshman from Springfield, was chalking up his cue stick.
"I'm not concerned about the draft in any particular way," he said. "We'll find the outcome sooner or later."
Representing the Selective Service at the teach-in was Brayton Harris, assistant director for public affairs.
"All we're after at this point is your name, your date of birth, your sex and your permanent address," said Harris. "This country needs to have a viable selective service system to meet the needs of a national emergency."
As Harris and the others spoke, students wandered in and out.A few brought their lunches from the cafeteria or cups of beer from the beer hall.
While most of the questions and statements from the students at the teach-in seemed to indicate they favored a draft, some students argued that the meeting had been packed with militant conservatives.
"I completely disagree with the need to register for the draft," said one student. "President Carter has created a war hysteria."
Another students said he was the only one of six men in his family who was not in the military and that he was under considerable pressure to support a draft.
"But they can't brainwash me. I'm against it," he said.
Brian Adams, 19, a sophmore from Vienna, said the wisest course was to "get organized and fight this thing."
But it was clear that to many of the students, the warnings to heed the lessons of Vietnam were empty slogans.
"It's time to look ahead to Russia and the powers of the world," said one student. "It's time to stop looking back at Vietnam."