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February 18, 2004

NATIONAL GUARD FINALE?....I haven't had any National Guard posts for a few days, but that's mainly because there hasn't been any fresh news to report. The "full release" of documents last Friday seems to have shut everyone up.

(But admit it: it's kind of nice that the wingnut commenter population around here has dropped off, isn't it? It's the Guard stuff that brings them around, you know.)

At any rate, this is probably a good time to summarize what we know. The following is relatively non-controversial:

  1. George Bush joined the Guard in 1968 for a six-year term. It's not clear if he actually needed much help getting into a fighter unit (which required a much greater time commitment than most Guard postings), but there's no question that he did, in fact, benefit from some high-level string pulling. Texas über-politico Ben Barnes admitted as much under oath in 1999.

  2. For four years he served faithfully and compiled a good record.

  3. In 1971-72 he apparently started losing interest in the Guard. He attended drills much less often than before and flew for the last time on April 16, 1972.

  4. In May 1972 he moved to Alabama to work on a senatorial campaign. For the next six months he did not show up at any drills at all and missed his annual physical. Even by the loose standards of the 70s-era Guard, this was pretty unusual.

  5. On October 28, while still in Alabama, he began getting paid for drills again. However, it's not clear where he showed up or what he was doing. A large number of witnesses say they can't remember ever seeing him at Dannelly Air Base in Montgomery, including some who were on the lookout for him, and the only witness with a clear memory of seeing Bush has turned out to be non-credible.

  6. During Bush's final two years he performed the minimal duties needed to fulfill his commitment. He was transferred to the Reserves six months before his commitment was up and discharged from the Reserves a year after that.

So far, all this shows is that Bush cut a few corners and was less than zealous about finishing his 6-year commitment. Given Bush's age, the tenor of the times, and the winding down of the Vietnam War, this is hardly noteworthy.

What is noteworthy, however, is the suspicion that there's more to the story. My email inbox is full to bursting with queries about whether I've heard of some theory or another to explain Bush's six-month absence in 1972 (answer: yes), and if these theories were confined to the tinfoil hat crowd we could just move on. But they aren't, and there are some pretty good reasons for that:

In other words, there are a lot of unanswered questions that make it perfectly reasonable to suspect that there's more to this story than meets the eye. Unfortunately, questions are all they are.

So what's next? At the moment, nothing, unless someone digs up some new evidence. It's possible that the Bushies aren't really releasing his entire file, but someone would need to come up with evidence for that. It's possible that documents were purged from his file, but we would need further evidence beyond Burkett's word to keep that story alive. It's possible that something happened in mid-1972 to explain the odd discrepancies in the documents, but there's no hard evidence of that either.

So the story is stuck in an endless speculation loop unless some enterprising reporter comes up with actual new evidence. Until then, we wait. And if no new evidence appears, the story dies.

Posted by Kevin Drum at February 18, 2004 06:40 PM | TrackBack


Comments

"all this shows is that Bush cut a few corners and was less than zealous about finishing his 6-year commitment"

Which is where it was in 2000.
All this AWOL business has amounted to a few vague suspicions by Bush's partisan foes. Again, where we were at the end of 2000, only now everybody knows the AWOL charge is baseless.

Time to move on eh?

Posted by: Reg at February 18, 2004 06:45 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I blogged on this with a few questions not many people have offered answers for yet.

The Daily Screech.

Yes, it's shameless blogwhoring, but I think I've got a few questions that need answering.

* Why was Bush's HD from the TANG redacted in 2000?
* Why is James Bath's name redacted in 2000, but revealed in 2004, listed just under Bush's suspension from flying order for the exact same reason? Why did they not take their physicals? Has anyone asked Mr. Bath?
* What does (PTI 961) mean?
* What is the ANGR 36-05 regulation Bush is discharged under?
* Why does Bush not have a SPN code on his DD-214? Is the version they revealed the DELETED version, or the UNDELETED version? You have to ask for the UNDELETED version if you want all the comments your CO made on your discharge, your SPN code, etc. We don't see that, and it would be Copy #4 if this was requested via normal channels.

I think there's more in there, but that will do for now.

Posted by: Monkey at February 18, 2004 06:49 PM | PERMALINK

Reg: no, we now know that in fact Bush really did miss drills for six consecutive months. And beyond that there are still plenty of pretty good questions. Too bad no one is willing to answer them.

Posted by: Kevin Drum at February 18, 2004 06:50 PM | PERMALINK

Also Bush pretty clearly disobeyed a direct order to take a flight physical signed by the head of the national guard. I think the speculation over what might be in the files raised the scandal bar impossibly high.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann at February 18, 2004 06:55 PM | PERMALINK

I take it nothing came from those searching the local Alabama newspapers the weekend prior to the election (when Bush was supposedly drilling)?

Posted by: Jim E. at February 18, 2004 06:56 PM | PERMALINK

Keven doesn't want to give this up.

John Cole sums it up well on his blog.

http://www.balloon-juice.com/archives/003704.html

Posted by: RW at February 18, 2004 06:57 PM | PERMALINK

Monkey-you should throw in the compliance required in the "para 2-10 AFM 35-13" reference on the suspension from flying. No one has yet been able to clarify exactly what that is. It's been suggested that this may have been a request that needed to be filed in order to restore to flight status. However this has not been confirmed.

Posted by: JG at February 18, 2004 07:00 PM | PERMALINK

opps1! Wrong link

http://www.balloon-juice.com/archives/003699.html

Posted by: RW at February 18, 2004 07:03 PM | PERMALINK

A wonderful synopsis.

Pure, nearly perfect prose.

Above all exactly what a synopsis should be: curt and fair, and pointing the way to the most pertinent questions.

And I agree the story is ash-canned until either new evidence arrives, or... we all live long enough for the truth to float to the surface.

Which makes me wonder if there is not some equation relating:

x (time in years an adminstration is out of office)

to

y (an administrations most closely held secrets bubbling to the surface)

I suppose, one of you enterprising young Calpunditers might be able to build a historical thesis about that idea.

Please remember me in your footnotes.

Posted by: -pea- at February 18, 2004 07:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bush has to sign the same waiver that every modern president previous to him. Otherwise he is hiding something.

Posted by: jri at February 18, 2004 07:09 PM | PERMALINK

This is simple. Bush was really concerned about activist judges. So concerned, he was distracted from his Guard duty.

Posted by: et_sf at February 18, 2004 07:09 PM | PERMALINK

Other obvious points:
- W left the TANG and went to Alabama even though his tranfer had been denied
- His comments in his 2000 bio that he continued flying for years afterwards were an outright lie
- He still hasn't explained not only why he failed to take the required physical, but also failed to make it up despite the severity of the issue
- His comments about why he didn't take the physical (no qualifed physicians) is an outright lie
- How he "completed" his service is still unexplained since the TANG says he had not been seen there but he has shown no evidence of completing his duty in Alabama

And that's just off the top of my head.

Posted by: rickenharp at February 18, 2004 07:11 PM | PERMALINK

Note that in today's press briefing, Helen Thomas (may God bless her) brought up the community service issue again:

MR. McCLELLAN: I'll come to you in a minute.

Go ahead, Helen.

Q I want to revisit a question I asked you last week and you didn't have the answer -- you may have it now. Did the President ever do community service while he was in the National Guard?

MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, you had said that this was relating to a rumor that you heard, and I think there's a difference between rumor-mongering and journalism. And so I'm just not going to dignify those kind of rumors from this podium. I think the records have been released and you have -- all the information is available to you publicly.

Q So you don't really know?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I said this was relating to some trashy rumors that are circulating out there, and I'm just not going to dignify them from this podium.

Q It's a very simple question.

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, John.

Interestingly, Helen's question is not indexed in the little bulleted list of topics that's included on the web transcript of these briefings.

Posted by: James R. Ba'ath at February 18, 2004 07:15 PM | PERMALINK

Observe how quickly Bush defenders declare that the AWOL charge is "baseless." No, it's merely unproved and, at least for the time being, unprovable. If Bush had been able to show that he actually did something during his "lost months" (which his partial document dump did not do), then the charge would actually be refuted. Instead we have stalemate. Perhaps this is good enough for the Bush partisans to declare victory and hope nothing worse bubbles up to the surface. Even so, it was instructive to see how clumsily the issue was handled by the mass media and the questions raised about Bush's ability to tell the truth (or even a consistent story) will stay with us.

Posted by: TonyB at February 18, 2004 07:15 PM | PERMALINK

Nice summing up. Altho I'd disagree that his NG attendence, and the lack thereof, isn't "noteworthy". I think it becomes extremely noteworthy every time Pres. Bush dons military garb. When the guy wrapping himself in the mantle of a military man is a guy who, for whatever reason, simply blew off his military commitment, that's noteworthy.

Posted by: QrazyQat at February 18, 2004 07:15 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Kevin for the full summary. Personally, I think it's kinda funny that the wingnuts are eager to see this whole AWOL issue closed, given their insistence (partly justified, I should add) that the public at large doesn't really care about it. I mean, do the wingers really want more attention paid to the truly serious problems with this administration, like the jobless recovery, the Plame outing, humongous deficits, the terrible post-Iraq war planning, etc.? It seems to me they'd be happier if everyone here focused on this supposedly trivial dead-end issue of Bush's service, or lack thereof.

Maybe it's the cognitive dissonance of having to rely on arguments of moral relativism ("everyone else was doing it") to explain away the irrelevance of the evidence that makes it such an issue for them. In any case, the whole exercise has been worth it, even if nothing more comes of this episode evidence-wise than what we've seen. The seeds of doubt are now planted in the public's mind about W's honesty and competence - also, the WH press corps has finally woken from its 3-year slumber (it's still drowsy, but at least it's out of bed), and polls abound showing the Democratic nominee not only being competitive in November but winning.

Posted by: EricD at February 18, 2004 07:16 PM | PERMALINK

Was going to bring up the two proven lies; rickenharp beat me to it. One was in Bush's pre-campaign biography, too, which is about as careful and deliberate a lie as is possible.

It's utterly proven that the post-salvation GWB will lie to further his political career. That is entirely relevant to the 2004 election.

Posted by: rowrbazzle at February 18, 2004 07:24 PM | PERMALINK

Fromkin over at WashPo has this little nugget:

Newsweek got an interesting quote I hadn't seen before. "Pressed by his anxious staff, Bush himself couldn't recall much about his duty in Alabama. 'He remembers shooting the breeze,' said communications director Dan Bartlett."

In other words, he doesn't remember shit, which is sort of odd, don't you think?

I mean, if I were to be pressed to describe a job I had as an adult, I would be able to recall at LEAST some stuff, like the building, the gate I entered, the car I drove, etc.

Bush offers none of this. WHY? Why not say, "I drove my 64 Mustang in those years, I clearly remember it."

That should offer clues, since presumably there would be records that could potentially be available.

He is, in my opinion, hiding something. Or he looks like he is. Either, way, it looks bad.

Posted by: Monkey at February 18, 2004 07:24 PM | PERMALINK

Something tells me that future historians of the Bush Administration (who I hope will begin their work starting next January) will run into the same issues--redacted files, incomplete documentation, hints of impropiety but no smoking gun.

Only by deleting the past can they protect their future.

Posted by: jlw at February 18, 2004 07:25 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin attempts to sum up the evidence. Alas, his Bush-Hatred gets the better of him, and he ends up cherry-picking the evidence, and even outright lying. Let's just break down ONE of his statements:

A large number of witnesses say they can't remember ever seeing him at Dannelly Air Base in Montgomery, including some who were on the lookout for him, and the only witness with a clear memory of seeing Bush has turned out to be non-credible.

A "large number"? Out of EIGHT HUNDRED in the Unit, we have about a dozen. Not a "large number" in any event, and CERTAINLY NOT a large number given the size of the Unit. So it is HARDLY LIKELY that a few out of 800 people in the Unit would remember him. Backing me up, the AP states: "Retired Maj. Norman Rahn, 74, who was with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in 1972-73, said he doubts anyone would remember an out-of-state pilot who spent a total of six to 10 days on base in a three-month period 32 years ago." Moreover, even Turnipseed has said that there's no reason he would remember Bush.

And then we have "some" people were looking for him. Uh, make that ONE person - Mintz - not "some" people.

And there was "only witness with a clear memory" turns out to be TWO witnesses - Calhoun AND LeFevers. So there's ANOTHER lie.

"turns out to be non-credible". Except that his statement is backed up by his ex-wife. And, moreover, if we are going to get into the credibility of the witnesses, we should note that lack of credibility among disgruntled witnesses like Mintz and his friend, who themselves turn out to be non-credible.


So, in the end, it turns out the KEVIN is the one who seems to be hiding the evidence here, not Bush.

Posted by: Al at February 18, 2004 07:26 PM | PERMALINK

OT on this entry, sorry, but I wanted to get the word out:

Do you want everyone to know that you still believe people have the power to participate in their government?

Do you want everyone to know that you're going to continue to fight the good fight for average Americans?

Then come out on Saturday afternoon and show the world.

NATIONWIDE DEAN VISIBILITY EVENT:

Gather in a busy spot in your cities and towns to thank Howard Dean and show America that you still believe in the power of American citizens to shape their government. Bring your "Thank you Howard Dean" signs.

2:00 pm Eastern
1:00 pm Central
12:00 pm Mountain
11:00 am Pacific

Saturday, February 21

I will be in Chicago at Daley Plaza (where the Picasso sculpture is). Chicago area Dean supporters, please join me.

Dean folks from other areas, please consider doing this. Send the word out through your networks. Choose a likely location for gathering and get the word out. This could be an opportunity to show people that we're still out here and still determined to stay in the fight together, and still ABLE to mobilize quickly.

Posted by: cdmarine at February 18, 2004 07:26 PM | PERMALINK

This is just too bizarre:

The President chuckled. "Well, you got a pretty face," he told the surprised Mr. Reid. He wasn't done. "You got a pretty face," he said again. "You're a good-looking guy. Better looking than my Scott anyway."

This is true. His Scott has a receding hairline and is on the chubby side, while Mr. Martin's Scott has a full head of hair and is quite fit.

For the first time in his life, Mr. Reid had no reply. "I didn't know what to say," said Mr. Reid, noting later that he wished that Mr. Bush had referred to him as a "rugged-looking young man or something.

"But I'll take what I can, I guess," he joked. "When a Texas Republican says you've got a pretty face, then I guess there is just no way around it."

Posted by: James R. Ba'ath at February 18, 2004 07:34 PM | PERMALINK

fer f's sake Al, you're identifiable from your first sentence! i start reading, you hit all your buzzwords, and i say "this must be Al". i scroll to the bottom of the post and, sure enough, it's you! and of course, as always, you end your rant with an attack on on esteemed host. predictable, zzzz.

what a masochist you must be, to continually subject yourself to a place that you obviously hate so much.

Posted by: ChrisL at February 18, 2004 07:36 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent summary of the Guard situation.
Maybe now the emphasis should be to note how non-credible George Bush is, how his whole persona as a straight shooter who takes responsibility and can be trusted to make all those "tough decisions" is total bull. The whole administration just refuses to deal with REALITY, preferring instead to insist on some alternate reality that fits perfectly with whatever they say.

It really is like the emperor's new clothes, and it really is an impending fascism, that is an antidemocratic political system ruled by a relatively small economic elite using bogus patriotism and shiny, preferably nipple-pierced scandals and titilations to distract the media and much of the population from the evil being perpetrated.

Posted by: nine at February 18, 2004 07:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still suspicious that the real story is the community service that Bush did. Unfortunately, absent the evidence, that too will die.

Posted by: PaulB at February 18, 2004 07:40 PM | PERMALINK

CALLING ALL WINGNUTS: SWARM! SWARM!!

I just want to know why he didn't take his physical?.. and, afterwards, I just want an answer to every other question that Kevin (et.al.) has raised.

Was he ever busted for cocaine? Was he ordered by the courts to perform community service while a member of the Guard, and did that impact his ability to serve as a pilot? And did he pop for an woman's (girl's?) abortion in pre-Roe vs Wade America?

Anon, anon..

Posted by: Sovereign Eye at February 18, 2004 07:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Alas, his Bush-Hatred gets the better of him,..."

Please Al, Bush-Hatred is a misnomer. It's called REASON.

Posted by: ch2 at February 18, 2004 07:48 PM | PERMALINK

I heard the reporter from the WaPo on Fresh Air today. About this issue he said, "And we'll probably never know."
Why? This sounds like a job for:
"Special Prosecutor Man!"

If we could unleash a special prosecutor on Bush, with the ability to open files and subpoena witnesses, which area should he go after? Plame? This? Other?
Don't we get 70 million to play with? (Just to be fair).

Who do we need to come forward? Why would they WANT to? What's in it for them unless they are compelled? If we don't have that compelling reason you will only get people who have axes to grind (impacting their credibility) or people who want to are willing to lie to support the president.

Posted by: spocko at February 18, 2004 07:49 PM | PERMALINK

Was he ever busted for cocaine? (endless stream of Whitewaterish questions snipped)

So when did you stop beating your wife/husband?

Posted by: FastNBulbous at February 18, 2004 07:57 PM | PERMALINK

In other words, he doesn't remember shit, which is sort of odd, don't you think?

Nah, it's pretty common for hardcore substance abusers to lose track of whole chunks of their lives.

Posted by: Thersites at February 18, 2004 07:57 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I know a lot of people now want to put the Bush TANG controversy aside and move on but I'm not willing to do that. It's very personal for me because I served in the USAF at about the same time as Bush was in the TANG. I didn't get the breaks he did and it still pisses me off that he acts like such a hero. I had to compete to get into OTS and had to successfully complete it to get my commission - it was not handed to me. I did not get into flight school although I had a higher score than Bush on the pilot portion of the AFOQT. I served on active duty, which Bush avoided because he was in the TANG. I completed service to my country, all the way to the last day of my commitment - which Bush did not. I think I'm more of a patriot than Bush is because I didn't take the easy way out as he did. As a national leader, the man disgusts me.

Posted by: Michael at February 18, 2004 07:58 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you Sovereign Eye for posting my thoughts. So many questions, so few answers. Just like a former drug user can spot another, Bush's bullshit can be spotted a mile away. The man is a mile wide and an inch deep. Keep scratching the surface and let his many faults surface.

Posted by: chris/tx at February 18, 2004 07:58 PM | PERMALINK

what a masochist you must be, to continually subject yourself to a place that you obviously hate so much.

What are you talking about? This is one of the most intellectually stimulating blogs I've seen! Just because Kevin is usually wrong doesn't mean he isn't interesting...

Posted by: Al at February 18, 2004 08:01 PM | PERMALINK

'He remembers shooting the breeze,' said communications director Dan Bartlett."

In other words, he doesn't remember shit, which is sort of odd, don't you think?

Ha! Shows how much you know. "Shooting the breeze" is an airforce term for flying a jet after the fuel has all been burned up. At which point, you have to use it as a glider to get back to base. A very difficult task in a modern fighter jet, and one which only the Bravest and Most Skilled pilots would attempt.

Lt. Bush shot the breeze after hazardous missions to Cuba, where he would land his fighter and pick up hordes of poor Cuban children, longing to travel to Freedom in America, and bring them back to Alabama, stopping briefly in Pamama City, FL to "score a little poon-tang."

He would then "shoot the breeze" back to the base, where he would land safely and hand the children over to his friend Dr. Frist who promised to take good care of them.

Posted by: reg at February 18, 2004 08:03 PM | PERMALINK

One other point on Kevin's post. Post-Kerry/Polier, it's very helpful for Kevin to point out that there STILL ISN'T A SHRED OF EVIDENCE that Bush was AWOL. There is exactly the same amount of evidence to show Bush was AWOL as there is to show that Kerry had an affair with Polier.

So it's helpful to keep in mind the parallels between the two "scandals".

Posted by: Al at February 18, 2004 08:04 PM | PERMALINK

The story won't die, Mr. Drum. It will live on in tens of millions of minds who truly were not aware of this rich little snot's lark in the guard.

It never occurred to me it would bloom at all anyway. The press freaked it up again and usually won't correct a mistake. It should have been a small-to-medium story of 2000. Bush asked for it with that incredible carrier stunt.

No, it will live on. Nice surprise bonus to the start of the campaign.

Posted by: paradox at February 18, 2004 08:06 PM | PERMALINK

The gaps in the record and the failure to take the flight physical are enough to make it fair to claim that Bush was AWOL, if not enough to keep the story fresh.

Posted by: bad Jim at February 18, 2004 08:10 PM | PERMALINK

Um, there isn't a shred of evidence to show that Bush wasn't AWOL. Little bit of difference.

Posted by: bad Jim at February 18, 2004 08:12 PM | PERMALINK

Its funny how all the Bush-haters weighing in on the AWOL topic have absolutely NO MILITARY experience whatsoever, and no friends who can help them sort it out. The fact is, only the military can judge whether someone was AWOL or a deserter. And judging from what the military blogs are saying (I would think they have a lot more experience in the matter than the anti-military-types I see here) I am one to put more credibility with the military people. All these conspiracy theories about missing months in AL and "purged records" are ridiculous speculation because none of you know anything about military process or record keeping. If any of you had a question about the ramifications of Microsoft's source code being released on the internet, you'd go to someone in the computer technolgy industry for an explanation. I just don't understand why you wouldn't check with military people about the military process to clear up how to interpret Bush's guard records. The only conclusion I can come to is that the Bush-haters don't want to know the truth. Its just more fodder to fuel their Bush hatred. Let it go already. The military decided in Bush's favor on this matter looooooong ago.

Posted by: Valerie at February 18, 2004 08:13 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't had any National Guard posts for a few days, but that's mainly because there hasn't been any fresh news to report. The "full release" of documents last Friday seems to have shut everyone up.

The slope of the curve has flattened out quite a bit, but not as bad as I originally thought.

There have been over 200 new stories about Bush's National Guard record cataloged on Google News for the last three days, which is much less than at the recent peak of the coverage (1254 added stories on 2/10) but is still significantly more than any day prior to the 8th except the 3rd.

Interest in this story is still high, and I think we do ourselves and the public a disservice by assuming it has blown over, when all it needs is some goosing from the Democrats.

Posted by: Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) at February 18, 2004 08:15 PM | PERMALINK

Um, there isn't a shred of evidence to show that Bush wasn't AWOL. Little bit of difference.

Or to quote the pre-war Don Rumsfeld on WMD, "a lack of evidence is not an evidence of lack."


Posted by: awol-related program activities at February 18, 2004 08:16 PM | PERMALINK

Nobelists comment on Bush-league science: http://wired.com/news/print/0,1294,62339,00.html

Posted by: steveo at February 18, 2004 08:17 PM | PERMALINK

Um, there isn't a shred of evidence to show that Bush wasn't AWOL. Little bit of difference.

Actually, we have Bush's word that he wasn't AWOL. Which is exactly the same evidence there is that Kerry didn't have an affair.

Again, the parallels between Bush/AWOL and Kerry/Polier are quite clear.

Posted by: Al at February 18, 2004 08:17 PM | PERMALINK

Give it a rest or forget it. We're looking like the same jerks that found Kerry an intern mistress. It's bad enough that Governor Dean retired from the race yesterday. What's this supposed to do? Bind us together or make us look like fools?

Deaniac for Edwards! (They've even set up a "welcome" blog at Edwards' site. It's pretty hokey but maybe we can teach them a few things. ;)

And BTW I spent 365 full days in Nam. It's a little hard to easily forget that era. You're bitchin' about a paper trail that probably doesn't exist for many. I got stranded in San Diego for two months when I got back, for example, over the small matter that they'd lost ALL MY RECORDS! The fools did find some of them but even with my citations in hand for awards for service in Nam they never found the "real records" so I never really received them. I vaguely recall that my personal computer wasn't that great in 1969 either so record keeping was a bit different than in this wondrous modern era.

Deaniac for Edwards!

Oops I already said that. Why don't you sell your story to the National Enquirer and move on?

(I'm from the Midwest and we're typically not overly fond of Californians. Now I remember one of the reasons why. I trust this post has no statistical effect on your most recent IQ test.)

Posted by: Steve at February 18, 2004 08:17 PM | PERMALINK

Absent evidence, we presume Kerry did not have an affair.

Absent evidence, we presume Bush did not serve in the National Guard.

Posted by: bad Jim at February 18, 2004 08:17 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the summary of this important issue. I understand how frustrating it is to have no fresh leads but it seems your questions still have legs. I think the physical is secondary to the cleansing accusation. Of course W's sexual problem of premature evacuation of 8 months seems quite serious,even with the zietgeist of the early 70s

Posted by: Steve at February 18, 2004 08:18 PM | PERMALINK

AWOL means absent without leave.

When Bush was in Alabama in June-September 1972, he was ABSENT from his Texas unit (this was before he was granted permission to transfer to Alabama). Apparently he did not have permission, that is LEAVE, to blow off his TANG committment over those months. In other words, he was ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE during those months. Now, apparently that was not a huge deal back then, as the WaPo columnist Richard Cohen noted regarding himself. But he was AWOL and NOW he wont take responsibility for it. But he wants us to believe he's some warrior hero, that he's a "war president" who deserves a place on Mount Rushmore, that God wants him to be President!!

People who go AWOL should not be on Mt. Rushmore.
People who cover up and lie about their past should not be trusted to be moral leaders.
People who think God wants them to be Presdient should not be President.

Posted by: nine at February 18, 2004 08:19 PM | PERMALINK

When Kerry goes prancing around on an aircraft carrier dressed in a tuxedo and reciting his wedding vows to Teresa, you can start comparing his marital fidelity to Bush's treason.

Why does Al hate America?

Posted by: awol-related program activities at February 18, 2004 08:20 PM | PERMALINK

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: praktike at February 18, 2004 08:20 PM | PERMALINK

Absent evidence, we presume Kerry did not have an affair.

Absent evidence, we presume Bush did not serve in the National Guard.

Absent evidence, we presume Kerry was not faithful.

Absent evidence, we presume Bush was not AWOL.

Posted by: Al at February 18, 2004 08:21 PM | PERMALINK

Was he ever busted for cocaine? (endless stream of Whitewaterish questions snipped)


So when did you stop beating your wife/husband?

No, the equivalent sentence would be "did you ever beat your wife/husband?" And that's an easy one to answer, and not an inescapable prejorative, like the classic one you used.

Posted by: QrazyQat at February 18, 2004 08:22 PM | PERMALINK

Valerie comments without having read the posts:
"Its funny how all the Bush-haters weighing in on the AWOL topic have absolutely NO MILITARY experience whatsoever, and no friends who can help them sort it out...."

Dear Valerie, in the time it took you to write a long post (which I didn't have the patience to finish reading), Michael already proved you wrong.
So next time remember: brevity is the soul of wit. You let your Bush-Idolatry blind you.

Posted by: ch2 at February 18, 2004 08:22 PM | PERMALINK

" I just don't understand why you wouldn't check with military people about the military process to clear up how to interpret Bush's guard records."

Don't be ridiculous. If you've been following any of this on this site, you'd know that Kevin has been very careful to ask EXPLICITLY for answers from military people when he has been unsure how to interpret the data. Look through the archives and you'll see.

Posted by: Ted at February 18, 2004 08:23 PM | PERMALINK

How old are you, Kevin? I followed the Watergate break-in for over two years before Nixon finally quit. That was very frustrating for me. I hated Nixon. Now we have a plethora of bloggers to accelerate the news cycle. Paul Sperry at WND has a very good article today. I point this WND source out for two reasons: it is usually soooooo pro-bush and also, Sperry points to the James Bath connection. I will admit that Nixon did win that election in '72 but now we have the power of you! The power of internet to get these facts out early and often.

here's the connection to the WND article:
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=37162

Posted by: ritikatootie at February 18, 2004 08:23 PM | PERMALINK

Fewer z's, praktike, I implore you. You're busting the window size.

Posted by: bad Jim at February 18, 2004 08:23 PM | PERMALINK

Al confirms that there IS a monster under my bed!

Posted by: bad Jim at February 18, 2004 08:25 PM | PERMALINK

The mother of Bush's children (wife is a sacred word to me) says she doesn't like "personal attacks."

Too bad, you fucking cunt.

Posted by: sanctity of marriage at February 18, 2004 08:26 PM | PERMALINK

Baltimore City Paper mentions Kevin's excellent reporting on the AWOL story:

http://www.citypaper.com/current/animal.html

Posted by: David at February 18, 2004 08:26 PM | PERMALINK

clarification. This Steve is from Philly, not midwest. Although, yes I agree, other Steve, your IQ will not be effected. I'm quite sure of that.

Posted by: Steve at February 18, 2004 08:26 PM | PERMALINK

Monkey sez,


"Newsweek got an interesting quote I hadn't seen before. "Pressed by his anxious staff, Bush himself couldn't recall much about his duty in Alabama. 'He remembers shooting the breeze,' said communications director Dan Bartlett."

In contrast with:

"The author recounts Bush's steel-trap memory: He could remember all of Willie Mays's batting averages, and in 1988, he memorized the names and faces of 100 key Washington political reporters in preparation for his father's Presidential campaign."

http://www.businessweek.com/1999/99_46/b3655076.htm

Posted by: mac at February 18, 2004 08:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Absent evidence, we presume Kerry was not faithful."

Oh for God's sake, Al, everyone involved in this story has categorically denied this. I guess you don't view statements from witnesses as evidence.

And by the way, you just make yourself look more silly (if that's possible) by accusing Kevin of lying because you and he have a different idea of what a "large number" of witnesses means.

Posted by: Ted at February 18, 2004 08:29 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, this is the correct link for when I thought that the Bush/AWOL coverage was dying out.

Sorry.

Posted by: Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) at February 18, 2004 08:29 PM | PERMALINK

Its funny how all the Bush-haters weighing in on the AWOL topic have absolutely NO MILITARY experience whatsoever, and no friends who can help them sort it out.

Sorry Valerie, not only did Michael prove you wrong, but several people here come from military families. My father flew jets at the same time bush was fucking off in alabama earning his "texas souffle" monicker.

Plus, unlike you, we have reason to help us sort things out. You appear to be blinded by chimp lust.

Posted by: four legs good at February 18, 2004 08:30 PM | PERMALINK

I also spent 365 days in Viet Nam. I wouldn’t call Lt. Bush aWOL or a Deserter. Just a Slacker. The ultimate self indulgent Baby Boomer. The Slacker War President.

Posted by: Jim S at February 18, 2004 08:31 PM | PERMALINK

Bush was awol and derelict of duty.

Read this in today's Counterpunch.

AWOL and Dereliction of Duty
By WILLIAM WILGUS

Although I'm sure he didn't realize he was doing so, White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett has apparently confirmed that Bush was indeed AWOL---Absent Without Leave---during part of the period he obligated himself to serve in the Air National Guard. (Uniform Code of Military Justice 866. ART. 86. Absence Without Leave)

In his February 14, 2004 Houston Chronicle article `Some light shed on Bush Guard service', Michael Hedges wrote:

Bartlett said that Bush skipped the [Flight Medical] examination simply because he'd decided to go to Alabama as part of the political campaign and wouldn't be serving as a pilot there.

Since Bush would have been ordered---in the full military sense of the term---to present himself for that examination at a specified place, date, and time and failed to do so, Bush is guilty of being AWOL. It does not matter why Bush didn't show up, only that he did not.

That he apparently never faced any possibility of punishment for this infraction of the Military Code of Uniform Justice (UCMJ) can be due to only three things: an administrative failure, political influence, or dereliction of duty on part of the person or persons whose duty it would have been to institute such proceedings. Dereliction of duty, or failure to perform a required task, is also an infraction of the UCMJ and it's unlikely that anyone would have `decided' on his own to over-look the matter. Since the military has set procedures to follow for virtually every situation (and certainly the failure of someone to show up for an examination), it's very unlikely that an administrative failure occurred. That leaves political influence as the most likely reason Bush apparently was never brought up on charges under the UCMJ for being AWOL from the flight medical.

The big `flap' about Bush being AWOL is centered on his going to Alabama, and as a result absenting himself from his Guard duties in Texas. It's been written in at least one news article that Bush did receive permission to go to Alabama, but only months after the fact of his move. If that is truly the case, Bush was indeed AWOL during those months he was in Alabama prior to receiving that permission. The three possible reasons he apparently was not charged with being AWOL during that time are those I've mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

It's apparent that Bush is also guilty of Dereliction of Duty (892. Art. 92. Failure to Obey and Order or Regulation). Bush was assigned to `duties involving flight', specifically as a F-102 Fighter Pilot. That being the case, Bush would have been required to maintain a status of `qualified' as an F-102 pilot. To do so, he would have not only been required to pass an annual Flight Physical, but also `maintain proficiency' in the type and model aircraft he flew. That is accomplished by actually flying the aircraft. He also would have been required to keep his knowledge of the aircraft---including operating procedures and equipment changes---up to date. That's primarily accomplished by reading `notices' on the aircraft, but `presentations' where pilots must be present are also used---a staple for the National Guard's `Week-End Warriors'. Both pilot requirements are referred to collectively as `staying current'.

In any military organization, one simply does not decide to stop doing something. To `legally' stop flying for any period of time, Bush would have had to ask permission to do so. Since he apparently did not so ask, the charge of Dereliction of Duty should also be added to those of being AWOL.

Posted by: Former Green Party Voter at February 18, 2004 08:31 PM | PERMALINK

RE: Reg -- "Again, where we were at the end of 2000, only now everybody knows the AWOL charge is baseless."

Baseless? Hardly.

George W. Bush took an oath to serve as an officer in the Texas Air Nat'l Guard, having been elevated over at least 500 other applicants. His own qualifying test scores were so low that it is altogether very reasonable to assum that there were other applicants on that list who were far more qualified than he.

Even then, the minimal service required of Bush seemed too burdensome for him. By all accounts that I've read, the evidence is indisputable that he apparently shirked that commitment. He still can't account -- or at least hasn't accounted so far -- for his whereabouts for at least six months in 1972.

I lost my father in Vietnam. I really don't begrudge others who did what they could to avoid service in the quagmire of a war. The fact that Bush had strings pulled to get into the Guard is obvious, but it really doesn't concern me.

What does concern me, however, is the literal creation of a parallel universe by the various Bush campaigns -- a universe where George W. Bush is elevated into something he clearly wasn't.

On page 34 of his autobiography "A Charge to Keep," Bush claimed that he was turned down for Vietnam duty because he "had not logged enough flight hours" in the F-102 fighter jet to qualify for combat re-assignment, but then added, "I continued flying with my unit for the next several years."

That statement has been proven in the records to be demonstrably false. In fact, he only flew for 18 months, and last flew in April 1972. Shortly thereafter, he was then grounded for failure to maintain his pilot ratings, i.e., he failed to show up for his flight physical.

During this time, he embarked upon what can best be described as his "lost year," in which an amazing thing occurred -- everybody who served in either the 187the Support Group and the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron during that time seems to now suffer from collective long-term memory loss, as none can recollect having served with a man who eventually became Governor of Texas and President of the United States.

I'm sorry, but the rather amazing coincidence of Bush's lost military paperwork and this apparent epidemic of Alzheimer's Disease strains the bounds of credulity.

This AWOL story has turned into a rather fascinating Rorschach Test for Bush's supporters: they see only what they want to see when it supports their argument, and they ignore whatever evidence exists that proves what they don't want to believe.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii at February 18, 2004 08:33 PM | PERMALINK

Lemmings has a new take but really nothing new to add.
http://www.progressivetrail.org/articles/040123A.Rogers(USAF-Ret).shtml
I really dont want this to go away,but the mainstream press has to do some leg work to make it go and they wond do it.They have to much invested/too much to lose if they follow this up.Its too bad we are so concerned with our stake in societey to realize what our place in it really is.
I hate the fact that we have become a terrified society and we know where that originates.If you want to say you have no fears or that your fears are not greater today you lie.Our fears today are greater thatn ever due to the way the political/economic structure of our society has been restructured in this new world order brought to us by the fellows that resied in that big white place.

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 08:34 PM | PERMALINK

I used to be a Republican, but I can't stand George W. Bush anymore. God, the apple fell so far from the tree. Now his father I would vote for in a second. I am joining the anybody but Bush mantra.

Thanks Kevin for digging up the truth.

Posted by: DisgruntledArchie at February 18, 2004 08:36 PM | PERMALINK

Al: In one of your posts upthread, you seem to say that because there have only been 12 of 800 who can't recall Bush, this means that there are 788 who do remember him. Where are their stories? You'd think more people than Campenni (who was in PA if I recall during this time) and Calhoun who also claims the wrong time frame in his recollection of GWB would remember him. I'm more than happy to give you some slack and say that there is some doubt about whether Bush was technically AWOL, but your overwhelming need to declare the man innocent is astounding. We get it, you love him. You get it, we don't care for him and this is just another reason in a long list of reasons.

Posted by: Boggs at February 18, 2004 08:38 PM | PERMALINK

Al should not be allowed access to a computer,he's just too stupid.
According to the recores released by the WH, Bush was in attendance for guard duty on 4-16-1972. The next time,accoding to records released by the WH, was 10-28-1972. Now even Al can figure that is a 6 month stretch he didnt attend any guard drills according to records released by the WH.Under most circumstances that would constitute AWOL. Since he wasnt charged with AWOL the only logical conclusions are either Bush got special treatment, or the guard units he was assigned to didnt give a crap and Bush was only too happy to not show up.
Since there are no records of Bush attending between 4-16-1972 and 10-28-1972 Calhoun's word is worthless.

Posted by: Baldwin Huey at February 18, 2004 08:39 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Valerie, cheer up! Just be sure to tune back in when the Plame indictements are announced. That's going take a lot of folk's minds off the why's and wheretofore's of anyone's 1972 flight physical.

Posted by: Sovereign Eye at February 18, 2004 08:49 PM | PERMALINK

Please, let't not start with the "he didn't do anything anybody else wouldn't have done, given the chance." #1. It isn't true, as we can see by the examples set by Kerry and Clark, among others. #2. This is the guy who ism and wants to continue to be, the freaking leader of the freaking free world--don't you think he should be held to a higher standard than your average slob/pothead/spoiled rich kid?

Yes, of course, it's important. There are some things youth does not excuse, especially if you seek the highest office in the land, set yourself up as some sort of moral guide for the rest of us unworthies, and send 500+ young men and women to their deaths while you prance around on a flight deck like a Tom Cruise wannabee because you haven't a freaking clue what responsibility, courage, duty, and honor is--and you think war is some sort of macho chess game.

Republicans have plastered "Character counts" all over our schools. Those chickenshits wouldn't know character if if jumped up and bit them on their lily-livered noses.

Posted by: LAS at February 18, 2004 08:55 PM | PERMALINK

I believe the establishment press will pursue this National Guard story agressively for a number of reasons: the WH press corps is sick of being cowed by the administration; now that the Guard is going be more actively deployed there will be more stories to draw parallels (how will the WH deal with the AWOLs from today's guard personnel?); and just the big disconnect between his enthusiasm for service and his total rejection of it (at least on paper) from one month to the next in early '72 (everybody loves a mystery).

There are alot of names "named" in those papers dumped on Friday night, I suspect one thing might lead to another. Gotta give dubya the credit for allowing the dump. But then again, he gets credit for getting us into Iraq


Posted by: ritikatootie at February 18, 2004 08:59 PM | PERMALINK

Four points....

1) Bush did not "fulfill his commitment" in his last year with the Guard. For a "good year" he needed 50 "retirement/retention" points. He only received 40. The document that was examined by Albert Lloyd SAYS this, and also explains WHY. Bush received only 5 gratuitious point because National Guard HQ made him INACTIVE EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 15, 1973. You only get "gratuitous" points for "active" duty, and they are prorated.

2) What is REALLY interesting, however, is why Colorado changed Bush's status TO INACTIVE. It had nothing to do with his discharge from TANG---the request to be discharged was not even approved until September 18, and the discharge was not to take effect until Oct. 1. If you are looking for evidence that Bush was "thrown out" of TANG, the fact that National Guard HQ changed his status to INACTIVE effective September 15, 1973 is one place we should be looking.

3) The handwritten "certified correct" point summary from TANG does NOT MATCH the points summary kept at the Colorado HQ. (the TANG copy gave Bush 32 UTA (Unit Training Assembly) points---but because you can only get 4 UTA points per month, and according the Colorado points documents, Bush served in only 6 month, the absolute MAXIMUM UTA points he could have received is 20. And if we assume he did duty in Alabama with the 187th in October and November, the maximum UTA points he could have gotten was 12---he did not serve on the weekends where UTA points could be awarded in those months. Of particular note is the fact that the "3" and "2" for "32" on the first line of the hand-written copy is written in a DIFFERENT HAND than the rest of the documents "3's" and "2's."

3) At least two of the documents that were given to Martin Heldt in 2000 were never released to the press in 2004. These are the "special order" telling Bush to report for active duty dated May 1, 1973, and the (undated) confirmation from the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force that Bush had lost his flying status for failure to take his physical. Two other document also cannot be found--Bush's Officer Effectiveness Report for 1972-73 (the "not observed" report) and the response for NG HQ in Colorado that says that Bush should have been reassigned because he was not performing Pilot duties. I can't be positive this document is missing, because there is one file on the USA TODAY site that they MIGHT be in that does not open.

two other point---Kevin suggested that because Bush pulled lots of duty in May 1973 that it makes no sense that he was "not observed" on the 72-73 OER. But the period covered by that OER was May 1, 1972-April 30, 1973, and the OER is dated May 2nd, 1973.

It MAY be significant that the OER is dated May 2nd. His previous two OERs were both dated May 26th---bush's enlistment anniversary date. As noted above, Bush was ordered to do active duty on May 1st. This suggests that TANG wanted something done about Bush as SOON AS POSSIBLE...

Posted by: paul lukasiak at February 18, 2004 08:59 PM | PERMALINK

The story can die now. It did its damage, and that's what counts. Millions of people got a look behind the curtain, and it's one more cut to the credibility.

Posted by: Nick at February 18, 2004 09:01 PM | PERMALINK

Did Bush authorize the release of all his military records for FOIA requests, etc.? I don't think he can claim full disclosure unless he has.

Posted by: david1234 at February 18, 2004 09:02 PM | PERMALINK

Missing his flight physical and getting grounded is bad enough in its own right. Uncle Sam spent a lot of money training him and he up and decides he's tired of flighting? Why didn't Russert ask W why he decided to quit flying before his service was up?

And the final time in the Reserves in Colorado... Didn't W sign a document saying that failure to perform his duties might mean him being transferred to this very same reserve unit?

Posted by: John McKinzey at February 18, 2004 09:03 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with a previous commenter, and why hasn't this question been put to the off-White House?

Bush has to sign the same waiver that every modern president previous to him. Otherwise he is hiding something.

I want the G**-damned waiver! Gimme the waiver!

Posted by: Peter at February 18, 2004 09:07 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't sound like much use of reason going on here, more like justifying and denial. People can rationalize anything, including this all consuming hatred of the President. I haven't read every single post on this site about this crowd's justification of the AWOL charge but the preponderance of the military opinion supports Bush. Regardless, the name-calling and venom coming from this group frankly frightens me. Its irrational. You demonize people who don't agree with you. Just looking at the recent postings gives one a general flavor of the discourse and its putrid. The only thing I've learned from this blog is how NOT to conduct myself.

Posted by: Valerie at February 18, 2004 09:08 PM | PERMALINK

They have "executive" priviledge.They can get away with murder and probably have.This administration has been guilty of everything why not hide behind a few more documents.I loved the way Scotty waved those documents around like they actually said the president is GOD.

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 09:10 PM | PERMALINK

Valerie we have only learned vehemence from the best the world has in a teacher of hate.The republicans have been spewing so much garbage for so long that I just get used to it.The reason you notice it here is because it just now has a justification.

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 09:12 PM | PERMALINK

The only thing I've learned from this blog is how NOT to conduct myself.

And the vicious, venomous smear-master Kevin Drum claims another victim.

Posted by: Thersites at February 18, 2004 09:13 PM | PERMALINK

The pattern that seems to matter is that for the first four years G.W. showed up and did pretty well. But after the first term it all went to hell and he became Slacker Dubya. Hmm...

Posted by: BigT at February 18, 2004 09:16 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree with Nick about the story being over here. There are alot of drips left but I also don't want the dems to overplay there hand. Credibility is an issue Bush hoped to run on, this NG issue just adds to a list of problems he has assembled all on his own: deficit, job growth, medicare costs, environment, etc.
If Bush's personnel integrity can be legitimately questioned in an election year it might swing some voters.

Posted by: ritikatootie at February 18, 2004 09:20 PM | PERMALINK

i And the final time in the Reserves in Colorado... Didn't W sign a document saying that failure to perform his duties might mean him being transferred to this very same reserve unit?

no, what he signed was a statement acknowledging that he could be called up for active duty if he screwed up.

Posted by: paul lukasiak at February 18, 2004 09:25 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom all around the world is slipping and all the conservatives can come up with is that the so called "liberals" are hateful.Whats wrong with my thinking when I feel disgruntled when freedom is dying and I want to find a way to rid the world of the tyrant that is feedind this movement to dominate the world with restrictive thinking/movement/living.
All around the world government leaders are being cowed by this government by the threat of losing funding or trade or political power and reniging on their quest for freedoms.
Americas government and way of life truly is threatened and the brainwashed want us to let up on the battle for life liberty and the freedom of tyranny.

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 09:25 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Valerie,
i'm very disappointed in your rash response. If you only could put your Bush-worship aside, maybe an intelligent dialogue could ensue. But you seem to have charged in and out. Oh well.

Posted by: ch2 at February 18, 2004 09:29 PM | PERMALINK

Valerie, a couple of readers have already responded to your post to point out that I served in the USAF and have strong feelings about the quality of Bush's military service to his country. I was in the USAF at about the same time that Bush was in the TANG. The Guard at the time was a convenient way to avoid going on active military duty and being sent to Vietnam. He got a lot of prefential treatment in getting into the TANG ahead of other applicants, in getting a commission without going through ROTC or OTS, in getting accepted into flight school with such a dismal score, to blow off his flight physical with no reprecussions other than being removed from flight status and to take off to Alabama without orders. He had an obligation after he finished flight school and training to be an F-102 pilot to fly for 5 years and he failed to do that. I grew up in the South, where military service is synonymous with honor and courage. I did my best to live up to that code when I was in the Air Force. I don't think George Bush did and I resent that he took his military service so lightly.

Posted by: Michael at February 18, 2004 09:30 PM | PERMALINK

Valerie: Haven't you learned that the military is not trained to question? Wouldn't you be insubordinate to question your C in C? Military top brass are not going to question or refute the Pres. claims. Powell says a bit about Bush's kind in his book ( before he was pegged as the Sec State). BTW, you obviously don't listen much to Rush, or Savage, or Hannity, or O'Reilly, or Novak...

Posted by: Boggs at February 18, 2004 09:31 PM | PERMALINK

Valerie has obviously never ventured onto a freeper site.

CalPundit is a paragon of politeness compared to Little Green Footballs.

Posted by: Librul at February 18, 2004 09:31 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't read every single post on this site about this crowd's justification of the AWOL charge but the preponderance of the military opinion supports Bush.

val, I hate to break this to you, but a few of us have actually been examining the documents that Bush released (and some he didn't release, but that Marty Heldt got through an FOIA request in 2000). And guess what.... the DOCUMENTS show that Bush did NOT do his duty. He shirked his duty.

And as far as the opinion of "military" types, there are just as many, if not more, military who are disputing that the records show that Bush served as their are saying that Bush fulfilled his duty.

Posted by: paul lukasiak at February 18, 2004 09:31 PM | PERMALINK

Smalfish: Didn't you get the memo? You see, if a man comes along and claims to be a great believer in freedom and the kind of freedoms that free people love in all the free places of the world where free people meet freely to discuss and engage in freedom-loving program related activities, he surely cannot be questioned when his actions seem to refute many of his spoken words about freedom. You're just not free to question him on it. Sorry.

Posted by: Boggs at February 18, 2004 09:35 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever W did or didn't do some 30-odd years ago, two Sundays ago he said he would absolutely release all the documents; he hasn't done that. So he's lying now, this year, this month.

Posted by: M. Tullius at February 18, 2004 09:36 PM | PERMALINK

He got a lot of prefential treatment in getting into the TANG ahead of other applicants, in getting a commission without going through ROTC or OTS, in getting accepted into flight school with such a dismal score, to blow off his flight physical with no reprecussions other than being removed from flight status and to take off to Alabama without orders.

actually, when you examine the record closely, it appears that there were repercussions. Bush got favorable treatment from some folks at TANG, but it looks like the adjutant general of TANG (who was an appointee of the Governor, who was a democrat) was not doing any favors for the son of the head of the Republican National Committee.

Posted by: paul lukasiak at February 18, 2004 09:37 PM | PERMALINK

Ya but he had to quit flying because of 9/11.And that makes it right and just.So therefor I submit he should get a free pass to rule the entire world.He got a free pass to join the guard because he knew that someday he would be the leader of the world and he could'nt be killed in viet.......(uhh wheres that place again?)
If i hear another world leader use 9/11 as justification to stay in power again I'm going to scream.Haiti's leader just pulled that out in an interview just like ol georgie does whenever HE'S in trouble.

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 09:49 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin says

Reg: no, we now know that in fact Bush really did miss drills for six consecutive months.

Which is true and by any military standards this is called AWOL is it not?! He was AWOL and he still has been AWOL all along. The allegations are true like they always have been. Nothing has been cleared up, just more unanswered questions.

I wonder if someone could get a FOIA requesting whether everything has been released or not? Or specifically ask for those items that we know are missing, such as his final DD 214 and a report on the flight inquiry.

Posted by: Alma Evans at February 18, 2004 09:50 PM | PERMALINK

It's really unfair.
Kerry has an affair, you all don't care.
Yet you slam and demean president Bush with absolutly NO evidence!
In fact, there's plenty of evidence that says he served honorably.
Take that and smoke it.

Posted by: Al at February 18, 2004 09:53 PM | PERMALINK

So it's on and on and on. Ad Nauseum. Here's a different summary of the affair on a site many of you probably don't read on a daily basis. www.nationalreview.com/york/york200402180840.asp
You can denigrate the president, (and many of you show no respect by excluding his title), but while you have some former military personnel upset with him, there is a vast majority of the current military who whole heartedly support him. You have your consiracy theories why he didn't do this or didn't do that. But there are also explanations out there that counter you theories. Was his final year as impressive as his first four? Obviously not. was it way out of the norm for the times. It looks not. Many Guard and Reserve personnel were getting out early due to the end of the war. Not enough billets to go around. So go ahead and play Sherlock Holmes.
The number of stories in the media have definately subsided. In my capital city paper, there has not been a story since last Sat. Unless something else arises, some CREDIBLE witnesses come forth to deny his service, all you have left is IFS, WHAT ABOUTS, and SUPPOSE IF. Not a lot to go on.

Posted by: Meatss at February 18, 2004 09:58 PM | PERMALINK

Al,
Did the president serve more or less honorably than the DC sniper, who also got an honorable discharge? Or, since you seem to be basing your judgment entirely on Bush's HD, is it fair to say you hold them in equal regard?
(That would be about my take)

Posted by: marky at February 18, 2004 09:59 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with FOIA is that apparently it takes quite some time to process these requests,and with this administration those requests can take much longer.If in fact you can even get the relevant documents under FOIA anymore.Because of the governments policy of secrecy in government,alot of minimal FOIA requests are being denied.
By the way I read somewhere that in the guard being AWOL is a little different than in the strait military in that you can be absent for a much longer period.not to give the wingnuts any more fuel,but I do believe Bush came back just in time to be counted present before actually being called AWOL.The main argument is the absence of records and why he was removed from flight status.Those two questions are really whats relevent anyway.I'm willing to let Bush off the hook on AWOL but I just want answers to the unanswered questions.

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 09:59 PM | PERMALINK

WHat is it with conservatives and sex scandals???????????
Dont you have a life?If you want to get into sex scandals heres some for ya.


http://www.progressivetrail.org/articles/040123A.Rogers(USAF-Ret).shtml

PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT!

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Meatss: I would think a person as upstanding as the President(titled for your approval), a man who insisted upon his integrity and honor during the 2000 campaign would be able to clear this up. I know what he claims, but his records do not indicate it. Even if I grant you all that you say, the fact that he has handled this in a way that seems less than responsible and less than transparent, indicates a character flaw. Based on the Republican abhorrence for suspect character, I can only assume those who don't vote for the Dem will stay home?

Posted by: Boggs at February 18, 2004 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Actually, we have Bush's word that he wasn't AWOL.

Yeah, and it is exactly the same kind of evidence of WMDs in Iraq too.

Posted by: Alma Evans at February 18, 2004 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, all you moronic brownshirt fucks out there, but "President" Tipsy McStagger will be dragging the suspicions about his obvious desertion (and I use that word deliberatly) around for the rest of his miserable life. You can stick your fingers in your ears and yell "Clenis! Clenis! Clenis!" just as loud as you want, but it ain't gonna go away. It sticks to the Miserable Failure like shit to a blanket, and will forever be one of the many asterisks marking his one-term appointed presidency.

In fact, you all better hope that all the records of his arrests, convictions, community service, and detox stays have long since been burnt, because the moment one of those sweet little documents surfaces, Cmdr. Flightsuit is out on his ass post-haste. You know it, I know it, and so does the Miserable Failure and his toadies...

Posted by: dave at February 18, 2004 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

You repubh's should heed the words of one of your own,Pat buchanan,I dont like him but he makes alot of sense here.

http://www.amconmag.com/3_1_04/cover.html

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

Meatss, no credible witness has come forth to confirm his claim of service either. An odd lapse given that he was already a member of the ruling elite and therefore extremely noticeable. Worse, the shoddy record-keeping, out of character for the military in general, looks rather suspicious when combined with Bush’s history of cronyism and privilege.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at February 18, 2004 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

I do not believe that Bush has released all his records.

I've spoken with a couple of journalists about this and nobody has seen the release.

You see, Bush had to sign a release for the document dump we got last week.

This release would also have described the scope of the release.

Posted by: Martin Heldt at February 18, 2004 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

And the Dems are willing to vote for anyone with multitudes of character flaws (former Pres. Clinton comes to mind). The president said he would release his records. They got released. Whether you think he is hiding something or not, the records show he seved his time. Now you may not have every scrap of documentation you desire, but shit happens with paperwork, in the military, from over 30 years ago.
Any comment on Byron York's take? Where is he off base? (No pun intended)

Posted by: Meatss at February 18, 2004 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

lol

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Meatss: The dems really didn't make anything of a character flaw. That would be the era 1992-2000 still ringing in your ears. Peter Jennings brought this up again, not the Dems. My point was that, Repubs sound like the biggest hypocrites because they pounded the character drum for eight fucking years and now they have their own issue in the white house. When a man like the President sets the bar at perfection, he shouldn't fuck up. I'm sure you see it differently...

Posted by: Boggs at February 18, 2004 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Face it this president has no legs to stand on and the repubs just hold on to the notion that "we just cant have another democrat in office."Well if your dam dictator party andd the damn democrats would quit screwing with the election laws maybe we could get a third party with some real substance and legitimacy started.But as it stands riht now the two parties are happy with the status quo.YOU Republicans bought this ticket and now you have no choice but to stand by it till death do you part.And dave IS right,if even one document comes to the light of day I think maybe a new party might have a chance.

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Meatss, the problem is that the trivial character flaws in President Clinton are dwarfed by the elitism, cronyism, and hucksterism that are the core of Governor Bush. Sure, President Clinton liked women, but that didn’t affect his ability to use his Presidency as a tool for positive change in America (improved economy, and improved national security to name just two). Bush’s flaws, on the other hand, have resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans from terrorism, hundreds of soldiers and thousands of Iraqis from a war for the entertainment of Republicans, and a confluence of corporate criminals in the corridors of our capitol.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at February 18, 2004 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, Excuse me, but we have the White House's word that they've released all of Bush's Guard records. That's not the same thing as they're all being released, especially with this White House. McCain four years ago, and Clark and Kerry this go-round waived all privacy privileges to their military records under the Freedom of Information Act. So why not make an FOIA request for all of Bush's Guard records to the various repositories of such files? If you get something back, see how it jibes with the document dump the White House made last week. And if Bush hasn't made the FOIA waiver despite the White House claim to have released all the records, well, maybe even Al would find that a bit inconsistent.

Posted by: Tokyokie at February 18, 2004 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think he's set the bar at perfection. That's your take. He's admitted abusing alcohol and drugs. He said he's turned his life over to God. He's trying to do better. But the first thing an alcoholic admits is that he or she is one for life. I don't see him being grandiose about his personal makeup.

On the other hand, 1992-2000 doesn't ring so much in my ears as in the hole in my savings did from the big tax increase in '93. Pres. Clinton's character flaws got in the way of his job performance. If he hadn't been so absorbed with the scandals of the day, maybe he could have done a better job of running the country.
If the president loses in November (and that's a big if), I don't think you'll see him obsessing on it like the losing candidate and other members of your party from 2000. Goodnight.

Posted by: Meatss at February 18, 2004 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Oh and dont forget SEVEN TRILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and read the York piece again, carefully, nothing in there refutes our host’s facts.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at February 18, 2004 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Geez, Valerie. That's pretty strong stuff you're dishing out. Was it me? 'Cause if it was, I can change. Really. I can do it.

By the way: where on earth did you learn to conduct yourself in the comment section of a blog? Because I'll sign up, if that means keepin' you hanging around hereabouts.

Your tops with a lot of people around here, Val-- and never forget it.

Posted by: Sovereign Eye at February 18, 2004 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you wrote at the end of your 'National Guard Finale' topic:
'So the story is stuck in an endless speculation loop unless some enterprising reporter comes up with actual new evidence. Until then, we wait. AND IF NO NEW EVIDENCE APPEARS, THE STORY DIES.' ... That's exactly what they want to happen - that the story dies! Please do remind us every-so-often in the next few months about this story, so no-one will forget it! Thanks!

Posted by: me at February 18, 2004 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Final comment for Meatss, Clinton wasn’t obsessed with the scandals – that would be the Republican Party and its enabling drones; Clinton didn’t cause the impeachment, that was a bunch of panty sniffers who were really just upset that they weren’t in power. As to your whine about Clinton’s rather minor tax increase (especially when compared with the rather major one enacted by Red-Ink Ronnie), if this affected you at all then you are pretty well off (over $125k/yr or so - a decade ago) and are really just too petty to pay your share.

Oh, and as to the notion that Bush will not obsess over his loss, of course not – his elite cronies will further enrich this child of privilege once he leaves office. Bush’s motto is “What, me worry?” for good reason.

Posted by: Lori Thantos at February 18, 2004 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Why is it so MANY in this current administration are being investigated?I was upset that bill clinton needed to be investigated(he did)
I was upset over Iran-contra.
I was too young to be upset over watergate(other than we couldnt go swimming cause my mom HAD to watch the hearings)
BUT this has gone beyond the rediculous.Now its everybodys favorite being investigated too.

RICHARD PERLE, the former US Assistant Defence Secretary and Hollinger International board member, is under investigation for allegedly failing to disclose bonuses worth about $3 million (£1.6 million) which he received for running an investment scheme, The Times has learnt.


http://fairuse.1accesshost.com/news1/times-perle.html

How is it we're supposed to love and reelect a group of criminals??????
And if you do vote for them what does that say about YOUR morals?

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Meatss: The only reason Bush admits to that is that he can't hide it. Not only that, it plays well with his base of fundamentalists. You are one of the few people who apparently got fucked by the economy in Clinton's reign. As far as scandals dominating one's focus on the job, we have Plame, Nat'l Guard, Iraq intel, Halliburton overcharges, Energy Policy suit, have I forgotten any? Or is the fact that none of these involved an ejacualtion make them less than scandalous?

Posted by: Boggs at February 18, 2004 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

BTW Meatss: So you'd rather have your kids and grandkids getting the huge tax increase to pay for the fiscal responsibility of this President and his Republican congress? What happened to his claim of not passing on problems to future generations?

Posted by: Boggs at February 18, 2004 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Oops--ejaculation --I was using the wrong hand. :)

Posted by: Boggs at February 18, 2004 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

is'nt intresting how when the conversation turns away from the awol issue the wingnuts vanish?

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Meatss, Do you think W. will be man enough to admit arranging for an abortion for his girlfriend in Texas in the early 70s----when abortion was a felony, mind you?
We'll get to see the answer after Flynt's book comes out with the details, backed by affidavits every step of the way.

Posted by: marky at February 18, 2004 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

I cant wait for the summer and the real debates begin.Bush has no place to stand.The only relief he might have is an october suprise.But then again that may not have any sway with people who are beginning to see the light of a democracy on the verge of collapse and realize it's not to late to turn back.

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Let me see if I get this correct:

Every person who testifies in behalf of the President is lying and every person who takes issue with the President's story is telling the truth?

Hmmm, the needle on my smell-test-o-meter just pegged.

CalPudnit, I believe, is the only blog still doggedly blogging way on this bogus story. We have, however, probably seen the last post from here. When you start rejoicing at the fact that unsavory people (so called wing-nuts) aren't reading your blog because you haven't blogged about an previous red hot issue for some time, it is over. The unsavory types were lurking in the wings to see how big a helping of crow would be consumed. The last ditch effort today to breathe some life back into something that was The Big Issue a few days ago turned out to be a pretty lame rehash of same old much to do about nothing.

Consider the crow eaten.

Posted by: Dennis Slater at February 18, 2004 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a different summary of the affair on a site many of you probably don't read on a daily basis.

Oh, you'd be surprised. As folks like TBogg and World o'Crap have repeatedly pointed out, NRO is probably the most consistently hilarious humor site on the internet.

Posted by: Thersites at February 18, 2004 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

So Dennis Slater believes a guy who remembers seeing Bush in exactly the time frame when he had NO drills at all? Who's the fool?

Posted by: marky at February 18, 2004 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the wingnut crowd seems to have vanished. All we got was Al (who's pretty good-natured and definitely as game as Ned Kelly) and a little bit of Reg. None of the "I used to be a Democrat until you guys started this" crowd or the rest of the ring-wraiths.

Time to migrate to the post above.

Posted by: bad Jim at February 18, 2004 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

This issue MAY be dead,I dont think so,and it's too early to say either way.BUT I'm predicting there's a new one brewing just around the corner.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1080833/posts

Given the events that have transpired, it is not unreasonable to expect the intelligence review to undertake an intense analysis of Chalabi's role, beginning with this question: What exactly was Chalabi's relationship with Iran from the 1980s onward?

Just what was the role this guy,the war Presidents main man,played in getting us to go to war???Did we get played because he wanted us to get saddam??were we unwitting players to Irans goals??What WAS the president thinking when he took this theif into his confidence?How come dicky got turned off when he found this Iraqi traitor playin footsies with Iran?HMMMMMMM.Or was it the U.S> government in bed with the hated Iranians?HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM??I do believe this WILL be investigated much more.
WHO needs AWOL when the president has his pants down in front of the HATED Iranians!!

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I know a lot of people now want to put the Bush TANG controversy aside and move on but I'm not willing to do that. It's very personal for me because I served in the USAF at about the same time as Bush was in the TANG. I didn't get the breaks he did and it still pisses me off that he acts like such a hero. I had to compete to get into OTS and had to successfully complete it to get my commission - it was not handed to me. I did not get into flight school although I had a higher score than Bush on the pilot portion of the AFOQT. I served on active duty, which Bush avoided because he was in the TANG. I completed service to my country, all the way to the last day of my commitment - which Bush did not. I think I'm more of a patriot than Bush is because I didn't take the easy way out as he did. As a national leader, the man disgusts me.

Do you want whine with your cheese? Congratulations on completing you service obligation. I did too. I got out early too so I guess I am not a patriot either. Senator Kerry and Al Gore got out early too. Al Gore got special treatment in the military as did Senator Kerry, who left Vietnam well before his tour was completed. I consider being assigned admiral aide duty in Washington DC as special treatment. (Washington is a hell of a nice duty station compared to Camp Lejeune NC where I was stationed). Those guys are not patriots in your book either I guess.

You were in the AF and he was in the NG. Different. Like being in the Marines and being in the Marine Reserve. Day and night. He did serve on active duty by the way. Longer than Al Gore and Bill Clinton did. I think why he did not go to OTS was explained somewhere. Look it up. Please note it happened over 30 years ago. Let it go.

Let's face it, you just irrationally hate Bush. You are just another misguided Bush Hater and use the differences in your military service experiences to justify your hating him. Sad.

How does he act like a hero?

Posted by: Dennis Slater at February 18, 2004 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Let's face it, you just irrationally hate Bush


It's just not irrational hate,lets just call it unconditional buyers remorse.

Posted by: smalfish at February 18, 2004 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Smalfish, the only person who is in a position to feel buyer's remorse is Sandra Day O'Connor.

Posted by: marky at February 18, 2004 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Slater: Kerry ate some lead so you can go a little easier on him. But I agree with you that this should not die. There is a big fat hole there. The nutty zealots of the radical rightwing of the Republican Party still think Clinton killed a large number of people. They won't let it go. There is no reason to let this go. Bush is rich punk. He deserves to have his integrity questioned at every turn. No quarter.

Posted by: Cal at February 18, 2004 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Let me see if I get this correct: Every person who testifies in behalf of the President is lying and every person who takes issue with the President's story is telling the truth? Hmmm, the needle on my smell-test-o-meter just pegged.

The problem is that those who are "testifying on behalf" of Shrub are saying things that are contradicted by the DOCUMENTS Shrub is using to claim he "did his duty". Its not a case of "he said/she said".....its a case of "he said/THE DOCUMENTS SAY".

As to the question of there being "no evidence" of Bush being AWOL....

1) A special order was issued requiring Bush to appear for nine days of active duty on May 1, 1973. Bush's Officer Effectiveness Report covered the period May 1, 1972 - April 30, 1972. There is no reason other than being "AWOL" that accounts for this special order.

2) Bush was removed from "active status" by the FEDERAL Air National Guard HQ effective September 15th, 1973. There is no reason, other than AWOL, to explain why Bush would have had his status changed by Colorado NGHQ. (September 15 was before not only the date of Bush's TANG discharge and reassignment, but predates the approval of that action.)

In other words, PUNATIVE MEASURES were taken against Bush by TANG in May 1973, and by ANG HQ in September, 1973. Those who claim there is "no evidence" that Bush was AWOL will have to find some explanation for why these steps were taken before the "no evidence" claim is credible.

Posted by: paul lukasiak at February 19, 2004 04:57 AM | PERMALINK

Here's something to think about. GWB scored lower than most on a test, but got in anyway because of his parentage. That sounds an awful lot like what Republicans complain about in cases of affirmative action admissions to colleges....

Even ignoring the duty attendance/AWOL issues, that seems a bit hypocritical.

Posted by: Christopher Davis at February 19, 2004 06:50 AM | PERMALINK

I am wondering whether there might be something to the James Bath angle, the guy who was grounded at the same time as Bush, and was later an investor in Arbusto Petroleum and probably involved with Bush's later dealings with Middle Eastern investors. Given the way Bath's and Bush's lives have been intertwined, dating back to TANG, why not look at his military file, his arrest record, etc.?

Posted by: Bob H at February 19, 2004 06:51 AM | PERMALINK

What matters here is that the heart and soul of the United States Armed Forces has by now cast enough of an eye at this story, full of terms they live with, to have time to conclude that George Bush is about on a par with Bill Clinton in terms of C in Cs to respect, whatever they say to the rest of us. Kerry is different.

Posted by: John Isbell at February 19, 2004 07:09 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
Extraordinary work, thanks. I would enjoy knowing your opinion of the Helen Thomas "community service" angle that James Ba'ath alludes to above and Josh Marshall wrote about recently.

Posted by: skimble at February 19, 2004 07:38 AM | PERMALINK

I AM NOT A BUSH-HATER!

And I doubt anyone else on this site is either. But, I think he's utterly unsuited for public office, based on what he did before his appointment, and what he has done since. I do believe he has given relief and comfort to those who do hate this country by their actions, like the enviro-rapists, the corpora-fuckers, and the police-state-thugs. Oh, and don't forget the theocra-loonies. Bush has turned all that is good about our country over to these people. I don't hate him, but

I HATE WHAT BUSH HAS DONE TO AMERICA!

Posted by: peejay at February 19, 2004 07:45 AM | PERMALINK

The Bath story was actually documented pretty well on Larry Flynt's site. Yeah, the Hustler guy. I'm sure the wingers won't believe anything from that site, but if the original sources check out,...naw, they still won't believe it. BTW, I always thought it was funny that Bush named his company "Ar-BUST-o."

Posted by: peejay at February 19, 2004 07:50 AM | PERMALINK

Dennis Slater, that's an interesting post from you. From my comments about the quality of Bush's military service, you have characterized my overall feelings about Bush ("Bush-hater") and determined my mental state ("irrational"). Since you don't know my other views on George Bush's public service, you don't like me stating my views on Bush's military service and you can determine one's mental state based on one view, I have to ask you: who is the "irrational" one and the "hater"?

Posted by: Michael at February 19, 2004 08:02 AM | PERMALINK

Occam's Razor: Bush enjoyed flying private "missions" at public expense until they added drug testing to the medical exam.

I'm guessing that an audit that restricted jet joyriding, or any actual danger of flying in combat, would have had the same deflating effect on Bush's "military" career. The medical exam just happened to be the first problem that came along.

Posted by: serial catowner at February 19, 2004 08:12 AM | PERMALINK

Wingnut!?

Hey, I resemble that remark.

This wingnut simply does not give a flying f_ck about what Bush/Kerry did or did not do in 1970-72.

Posted by: pshaw at February 19, 2004 08:16 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's pretty safe to say that Helen hit the nail on the head. McClelland refused to answer her question, but would not simply say "No, of course not."

Posted by: Brautigan at February 19, 2004 08:32 AM | PERMALINK

But how does he get into the flight training program at all with his history of drunk driving arrests --at least three and maybe as many as six arrests? Is that a qualification for flying airplanes?

Posted by: ackilibescu at February 19, 2004 08:36 AM | PERMALINK

The real question is why George wasted away a million dollars of taxpayer money by his refusal to take his physical.cjs

Posted by: cleve at February 19, 2004 08:55 AM | PERMALINK

People on both sides of this debate have been aggressively looking for people who were in Alabama or Texas in 1972-73 to vouch for the fact that Bush was either serving or not serving.

I have a better idea.

By many reports, Bush leap-frogged over some 500 applicants to the Guard to obtain his position with the TANG. Instead of looking for people who were in Texas or Alabama, let's look for people who were in Viet Nam.

How many of them are dead?

How many of them lost arms or legs, or other body parts or capacities?

All someone would have to do would be the get hold of the waiting list, then start looking up names. Any ambitious journalists out there?

-- Joel

Posted by: Joel Bloom at February 19, 2004 09:29 AM | PERMALINK

How does he act like a hero?

He could have started on the morning of 9/11 by not continuing to read a book about goats to a bunch of school kids while 3,000 of his fellow citizens were burning to death. Or by heading back to Washington, D.C., on that morning instead of running like a scared rabbit first to Louisiana and then to a bunker in Nebraska. Or by not standing on the smoking ruins (and the remains of those 3000 fellow citizens) of the WTC and leading a pep rally just so Rove would have a photo op with which to wow the faithful.

In other words he could have acted like a hero by acting like a hero instead of the snivelling and cowardly son of privilege that he is.

Posted by: Basharov at February 19, 2004 09:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Bush refused to release his full military records in 1994, 1998, 2000, and again for several weeks in 2004 even under intense pressure. Why act guilty if you have nothing to hide?"

Isn't this the same sort of question the administration was asking about Saddam and his WMD?

Posted by: ron g at February 19, 2004 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Dinsdale Piranha - "'E was a cruel man, cruel but fair."
It's tough to talk about the dead, or for them, but hypocrisy, like carrier landings, seems to invite it. Sorry.

Posted by: John Isbell at February 19, 2004 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

The real question is why George wasted away a million dollars of taxpayer money by his refusal to take his physical.cjs

He considered it small change compared to the massive injections of cash his brother would later get from the government as a result of his S&L scandal.

Posted by: QrazyQat at February 19, 2004 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Might be a good idea for everyone who wants the bottom of this story exposed to public scrutiny to drop a thank-you email to Helen Thomas (hthomas at hearstdc.com) for staying in McClellan's face about it.

Posted by: xfrosch at February 19, 2004 11:55 AM | PERMALINK
"Bush refused to release his full military records in 1994, 1998, 2000, and again for several weeks in 2004 even under intense pressure. Why act guilty if you have nothing to hide?"


Isn't this the same sort of question the administration was asking about Saddam and his WMD?

I love that the best defense of Bush is to compare him to Saddam. That'll go over well!

Posted by: peejay at February 19, 2004 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

I apologize in advance that I'm summarizing poorly things that I've read elsewhere on the Internet. And I'm (slightly) sorry for embellishing on the unfounded rumors.

Somewhere in Bush's official and inofficial resumes during his National Guard service time, it has him working for a tropical plant importer. The innocent wording said that Bush was using his flying priveledges in the Guard to transport these exotic plants from Florida to Texas. (Yeah, right; as if they couldn't be transported by more traditional means; as if Texas didn't already have or need tropical plants from Florida).

Now comes the unfounded rumor embellishment part.

How many tropical plants can you pack into a fighter plane that Bush was qualified to fly?

Trick question. Remember, we're talking 1972, Florida is a hub of illegal importation, and those plants might already be conveniently in powder form.

Bush claims to being "clean" since 1974; he doesn't say from what he is "clean". At the time of Bush's missed physical, the government had started drug testing its pilots. Coincidence?

So to expand upon the unfounded rumors with more baseless speculation, I think that the priority altering effects of usage might explain the radical change in career ambitions away from flying so suddenly, particularly if usage was combined with distribution. Most definitely if G.W. was about to be or was caught.

If it got that far, Congressman G.H.W. Bush might have pulled some strings to smooth things over and to send G.W. to a safehaven in Alabama. And they might have pulled strings for any partners in crime. Bush family loyalty and cronyism run deep.

James R. Bath was a party-buddy of G.W.'s in the Guard. His name appears on many of G.W.'s service forms and in later years in Arbusto business deals that the Bush family established with Saudi Arabians, including the bin Laden family.

Maybe the mainstream media should investigate James R. Bath if they want to fill in gaps in G.W.'s service record. If they can...

When G.H.W. Bush then became head of the CIA in 1976, if not V.P. in 1980 or President in 1988, it would be easy to remove blemishes on service records. To be thorough, though, Texas Governor G.W. Bush had others comb through the files in 1997.

To me, the issue isn't that G.W. was AWOL, that he might have done a '70's thing with substances, or that the tropical plant importation might have been something else. And even effort to cover it up might be understandable, providing this was an isolated instance.

The issue for me is that this isn't an isolated instance but that it is part of a pattern. The pattern involves G.H.W.'s rolodex, leverages connections, rewards cronies, and attempts to cover-up failure. The pattern includes questionable business deals for all Bush family members, but certainly for G.W. and his failed business ventures. Focus on G.W. and you'll miss important strands to the pattern that involve G.H.W., the Middle East, and bin Ladens.

I certainly believe that people can change. But when a person is caught today in a lie (and a cover-up and other gray areas: Iraq) and when digging in their past also shows instances of the same (e.g., AWOL, Harken), then it calls into question the truth of everything that happened in between and what is that person's true nature...

www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/02/17/1530204
www.911review.org
www.911independentcommission.org
www.rense.com

Posted by: Glenn at February 19, 2004 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty late getting into these comments, but:

Al, in reference to your first post... Congratulations, you have attacked Kevin's weakest "piece of evidence." And you have only attacked that. You disregarded everything else he said in the process. If you really want to make a good, legitimate argument, you need to engage Kevin's entire post and not just his weakest piece.

Grow up and learn how to debate.

Posted by: Bolo at February 19, 2004 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Bush refused to release his full military records in 1994, 1998, 2000, and again for several weeks in 2004 even under intense pressure. Why act guilty if you have nothing to hide?"

Isn't this the same sort of question the administration was asking about Saddam and his WMD?"

Yes, but in this case we're not going to invade a foreign country. We just want the administration to release all the documents and for a coherent, sensible story to emerge. The grammatical structure and implications of the question are the same, but the context is entirely different.

Posted by: Bolo at February 19, 2004 01:00 PM | PERMALINK
So what's next? At the moment, nothing, unless someone digs up some new evidence. It's possible that the Bushies aren't really releasing his entire file, but someone would need to come up with evidence for that. It's possible that documents were purged from his file, but we would need further evidence beyond Burkett's word to keep that story alive. It's possible that something happened in mid-1972 to explain the odd discrepancies in the documents, but there's no hard evidence of that either.

It's possible that Bush was off in Chile being a paid assassin for his father, the Director of Central Intelligence. That would explain why we can't document evey minute of his time in Alabama. It's possible that Bush was abducted by the same aliens Eisenhower talked to during his terms; trauma from that would explain his speaking difficulties. It's possible that Bush died, and has been replaced by a specially trained CIA agent so that the Prescott Bush dynasty could continue supporting the secret plans of the Nazis amd Illuminati, and the replacement is hesitant because he's listening to answers being radioed to him through the tooth implant the dental records are supposed to cover up. It's possible that Bush is a very butch lesbian, and did the flight suit thing (with an appropriately placed rolled up pair of socks) to put people off the scent. It's possible that Bush is a space alien shape-shifter; have you ever seen him at the same time as Rene Aubergenois?

Of course all that is just a bunch of interesting questions, and without answers it's perfectly reasonable to think there might be more there.

So the story is stuck in an endless speculation loop.

You think?

Posted by: Charlie (Colorado) at February 19, 2004 07:02 PM | PERMALINK

No need to speculate, Charlie.
We now have a clearer picture of the problems with Bush's record. Two points stand out:
the statements by other flyers in the Alabama unit (see above); second, it's more clear than ever that missing the flight physical was inexcusable---a very serious violation.

Posted by: marky at February 19, 2004 07:20 PM | PERMALINK

I've been reading with great interest many of the comments made here regarding Bush's TANG records. In trying to explain the meaning of the documents to my wife, I dragged out my DD214 from my Air Force service '63-'67. She commented that my signature hadn't changed very much in all these years so just for the heck of it I linked to the USAToday documents page. In the section titled "Basic Enlistment Package" there is a copy of Bush's DD214 showing his discharge from basic training as an airman for transfer into the Guard. That's a normal procedure I recall because we had some Guard members in my basic flight. The DD214 in this section shows Bush's AF service number and includes the stamp of the authorizing official or headquarters as well as Bush's signiture -- just like my DD214. As I continued searching the other titles, I found another "copy" of the same document -- or what purports to be the same document in the section titled "11-1-04 Personnel File." But wait -- the Bush signitures don't match and there is no Headquarters seal. I'm no handwriting expert but if you print the two documents and hold them up to a light, it's obvious that the GEORGE WALKER BUSH signitures are different. Additionally, in the 11-1-04 section, there is another DD214 showing Bush's release from active duty at Moody AFB in Georgia. The entry date is 29 Nov 68 and the effective date of the discharge is 29 Nov 69. Obviously given after completion of pilot training. Finally on this subject, there is no DD214 showing his "Honorable Discharge" from the Guard although there were orders cut with an effective date of 1 Oct 73. Not having served in the Guard, perhaps this is all that is required. Maybe someone who was in the Guard can clear this up. I am certain I never had to sign multiple copies of my DD214 so how come the signitures differ?
Similarly, in the section titled "Grade Detrmination", there is a document "Oath To Be Executed Prior to Extension of Temporary Federal Recognition in the Air National Guard." A similar document appeaars in the 11-1-04 section. Check the Bush signatures -- they are not the same. The signiture of the Personnel Officer also is different (check how the "T" is crossed in his last name). Now, why would those be different although the date the document was "sworn to" is 4 September 1968 on both documents.
I've not reviewed all the documents closely, but perhaps someone whith more knowledge can provide an answer...Thanks

Tony Mac

Posted by: Tony Mac at February 19, 2004 08:33 PM | PERMALINK

MoveOn...oh sorry I guess that only applies to Dems/Libs...you bunch of Asshats!!

Posted by: Scott B at February 19, 2004 08:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Have you ever seen him at the same time as Rene Auberjenois?"

Rene Auberjenois is a talented actor and would make a much better President than Bush.

Of course, the above sentence goes holds true for just about any name you insert in place of good ol' Rene, and that includes Mafia syndicate crime lords, butch lesbians and, yes, space aliens. (Current members of the administration are excluded, as are high-ranking Repubs.)

Posted by: Greg at February 20, 2004 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

I had a chance yesterday to speak with my dad, now in his late seventies, about some of the aviation factoids I've read here and on Tacitus. He was career Navy and a test pilot etc., etc. I was especially eager to run some of National Guard and flying issues past him. (Toward this end, could someone kindly post those performance and other records again. I will get his comments and share them here. Am new to the b-sphere and don't have quite the facility I would like with the archives and linking.)

Over on Tacitus, for example, this bit of hyperbole about the F-102:

"Frankly, I'd rather spend 4 months in a Swift Boat in the Mekong Delta than several years flying an F-102, the world's first supersonic all-weather jet interceptor and, devilishly tricky to fly by all accounts."

Perhaps someone can help me locate another authoritative-sounding post about the F-102 (everytime I start a search I keep losing my Comments text). Someone, perhaps Charlie Colorado, got a little rhapsodic about the flying skills required to fly one.

Anyway, the upshot. The F-102s (called the Delta Dagger, with short stubby fixed wings) were built by Convair, the same San Diego firm that built the Atlas missiles. My Dad flew them in the late 1950s and early 1960s to maintain his proficiency and hours, which as everyone now knows, active-duty pilots are required to do.

Was it a "devilishly tricky" airplane to fly? I asked him. No, he said, in the voice he uses to end debate. It was "heavy." Was it "tricky" to fly. No. Same voice.

Next factoid: Was it called "the Widowmaker?" I asked him. (One of the posters, I think here in another thread, made reference to this fearsome moniker, in discussing Lt. Bush's flying credentials.)

No (in that same voice reserved for dismissing falsehoods). That was the F-104, he said. Moreover, the F-104 was called the Widowmaker, my dad explained, NOT by U.S. pilots but by the Luftwaffe in the 1950s (the U.S. sold them to the West German air force). He said there were training issues at the time in the Luftwaffe, which led to accidents and deaths--in West Germany. The F-106 was special: It came with a cool pin that said you had flown Mach 2 in level flight because that's how fast it went when you stepped on the gas (here my dad would correct my terminology in that voice he reserves for idiots).

Incidentally, it was Chuck Yeager who tested the F-104; Hank Hancock., my dad reports, was the first naval aviator to fly it. And he had to go to Edwards to do so. Also, Yeager's spectacular crash described in THE RIGHT STUFF and shown in the movie, involved the F-104--the scene where he walks out of the fireball on the desert floor.

Now, I can't imagine that any of Bush's defenders in the blogoshpere would compare the man to Chuck Yeager or Hank Hancock, or any other test pilot in the Navy or the Air Force today or forty years ago. But from what I've read, their posts have misrepresented both the F-102 AND the skill required to fly one. The plane had been fully tested. It was a "heavy" plane. It was not "devilishly tricky" to fly, at least according to my father. It wasn't even "tricky." It was used as a proficiency trainer as early as 1959. That the F-102 was used in the National Guard by third-string pilots at the end of its useful life in the fleet also speaks to its dependability, ca. 1968-1971.

I am not dissing Guard pilots, and my father would NEVER use a term like "third-string" (that is my smart-aleck editorializing in response to the hyperbole from the so-called aviation experts who have held forth here, with no rebuttal). I'm merely encouraging the rhapsodizers to refrain from misrepresenting the facts and from hyping Lt. Bush's ostensible flying skills.

Anyone have that link to performance records?

Posted by: PaxR55 at February 20, 2004 09:03 AM | PERMALINK

Believing in God does not require believing in religion.

Posted by: Huang Kenneth at May 3, 2004 09:01 AM | PERMALINK

Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.

Posted by: Nielsen Lief at June 30, 2004 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Very good subject.
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