February 11, 2004

'Bush and I were lieutenants' - An open letter to the editor from one of Bush's squadron mates. It corroborates evidence from the White House that Bush served his time and was not AWOL, as many Democrats allege...

It is quite frustrating to hear the daily cacophony from the left and Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, et al., about Lt. Bush escaping his military responsibilities by hiding in the Texas ANG. In the Air Guard during the Vietnam War, you were always subject to call-up, as many Air National Guardsmen are finding out today. If the 111th FIS and Lt. Bush did not go to Vietnam, blame President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, not lowly Lt. Bush. They deliberately avoided use of the Guard and Reserves for domestic political calculations, knowing that a draftee only stirred up the concerns of one family, while a call-up got a whole community's attention. Definitely worth your time reading if you care about the facts.

  • If it's all true, why shield the records from public release?
  • While most of America was sleeping and Mr. Kerry was playing antiwar games with Hanoi Jane Fonda, we were answering 3 a.m. scrambles for who knows what inbound threat over the Canadian subarctic, the cold North Atlantic and the shark-filled Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Kerry did his duty in Vietnam. Mr. Bush used Daddy's influence to stay out of Vietnam. I call bullshit on this article. Lame Moonie bullshit.
  • Oh, goody, the name-calling has already started.
  • This should probably be a bigger concern for anyone interested in military matters. WTF?
  • Okay, maybe I've missed something, but... 1) Exactly what 'evidence' from the Whitehouse does this corroborate? I thought the point was they've hardly released any evidence. 2) The time period for which this gentleman can vouch for Bush (70-71) is not the period in question - that's 72-73, isn't it? 3) Apart from that, all there is to offer is a general defence of the Guard (unsuprising from a Guardsman - which is not to necessarily invalidate it, I hasten to point out), putting 'slanderous' words into Kelly's mouth, and a bit of the 'well, everybody was doing it' argument. Which would be a perfectly fine argument, if it weren't for the fact that Bush has explicitly stated that he didn't do it. And it doesn't seem to in any way counter the Denver evidence from a few days ago, if that evidence is actually accurate (which I am in no position to judge). He does raise some interesting points about the state of the Guard after the scaling down of Vietnam... doesn't get Bush of the hook, I'd say, butdoes at least provide some good context that I didn't know before. Nothing here worth any name-calling, that's for sure. (Although to be fair, f8x, I think your 'worth your time reading if you care about the facts' sounded a wee bit snarky in its own right... but no big deal :-) Funniest quote from the letter? "My Guard career parallels Lt. Bush's, except that I stayed on for 33 years."
  • In terms of how the article addresses the issue of where W was for the majority of 1972 after he had been transferred to Alabama: "What a flaming pile of crap." What was it like to be in the National Guard in 1971? Irrelevant. What this author did with his career? Irrelevant. How Nat'l Guard pilots would be called up to Vietnam? Irrelevant. Was Bush disciplined? Irrelevant. WHERE *pant* *pant* WAS HE??? /expletive_deleted
  • 'well, everybody was doing it' BTW, I'm still not at all convinced whether Bush was or was not AWOL, and there are other aspects of this which I think are more provocative anyway. But the only way to settle the matter once and for all is with solid evidence, and that means releasing the complete military records.
  • Keith and flashboy: See this article regarding the released records from the White House. Politically, it makes much more sense for the White House to protect Bush as much as possible by releasing info when and in what quantities it chooses. You'd expect the same from any other President whose military career has come under question (or other activities, for that matter). It's not a matter of the records being secret to hide anything (though that's possible, if unlikely), rather it's a control issue. I thought the payroll records cleared up the dispute, but then the 'goalposts' got moved and now official records aren't enough, we need eyewitness corroboration to Mr. Bush's military service. Now, it seems like even that's not enough. sergiogigante: Mr. Kerry came home from the war and started campaigning against it with the anti-war fervor of Hanoi Jane. Again, if you read the letter, there's nothing there to indicate Bush got out of doing service because of Bush Sr. What is "lame Moonie bullshit" anyway? flashboy, maybe I was being a wee bit snarky, but in truth, I've seen a LOT of selective readings into this Bush/AWOL thing. No offense to Sullivan, who seems to have a near monopoly on political (esp. liberal) postings -- I wanted to throw out a bone from the conservative court. On preview, what homunculous says.
  • for the record: i, honestly, don't really care what the facts are, related to mr. bush's service time. really. if it turns out he served fully and admirably, well, shucks: good for him. but i will still think he is a crazy misguided pinhead in all matters that actually relate to the world we live in today. and if it turns out he didn't fulfill obligations back then, well...
  • f8xmulder: Mr. Kerry did what he thought was right, both in going to fight in Vietnam and campaigning against it. It's called "standing by your principles," and I doubt W even knows what it means. And I fling poo at the Washington Times. They've always been a far right mouthpiece for the owner, Rev Moon.
  • Tengentially, it seems disrespectful of the office to repeatedly refer to the Commander-In-Chief as 'Lt.'. Maybe CiC isn't a ranked title, and perhaps Lt. is more respectful than Mr., but it still seems a bit on the informal side. If Lt. is the most respectful way to address this issue, I would love to be corrected. Well, not because I have any love for the President, but I love these sorts of semantic questions. On topic: I have never found this topic to be very compelling either way. As homumculus said, real evidence is needed. But before that happens it seems foolish for Michael Moore and co. to be so virulent about this issue.
  • ... it seems foolish for Michael Moore and co. to be so virulent about this issue. It seems to be an issue of character, IMO. Oh, and - CHICKENHAWK!
  • It seems to be an issue of character, IMO. And facts have no bearing in a character assassination.
  • One --
    Critics such as Mr. Kerry (who served in Vietnam, you know), Terry McAuliffe and Michael Moore (neither of whom served anywhere) say Lt. Bush abandoned his assignment as a jet fighter pilot without explanation or authorization and was AWOL from the Alabama Air Guard.
    John Kerry's been a little more vague on the issue than this, according to what I hear on NPR. He's even defended Bush on the issue. Two -- I found the question of the drug policy's implementation date interesting. A lot of news sites have screwed up google with regards to this topic, but I did find a few pages that support drug testing's implementation started in the 80s. Here is one of them. Three--
    While most of America was sleeping and Mr. Kerry was playing antiwar games with Hanoi Jane Fonda, we were answering 3 a.m. scrambles for who knows what inbound threat over the Canadian subarctic, the cold North Atlantic and the shark-filled Gulf of Mexico.
    What the heck does "playing antiwar games with Hanoi Jane Fonda" mean? I know what "Hanoi Jane Fonda" mean, but how was Kerry playing "antiwar games" with her? The man got a Bronze Star, Silver Star and three Purple Hearts, after all. He did protest after his tour of duty (annoying some), but the man served. As an aside "The shark-filled Gulf of Mexico"? It just, I dunno, sounds silly. -- Finally, This whole deal seems silly, there's enough other good reason (more timely, more serious) reasons than this to not re-elect our current president. President Bush served and got honorably discharge; for many people, that's the end of the story, and no amount of digging will convince them otherwise. Move on to lower-hanging fruit, guys. p.s. Some veterans do not like the general.
  • sergiogigante- I agree that it is a character issue, but it is muddy water. There are a lot of issues on which one can attack Bush, this one just hasn't stuck. I feel like a lot of people see this as a way to avenge the tarnishing of Clinton; finding a scandal and showing that he lied about it and trying for impeachment. I think the party should keep focused on issues and the present.
  • Didn't this come up in 2000, before the election?
  • shotsy, you're right, of course. This is a tiny issue in the grand scheme of things. I admit hating the man. And all he stands for.
  • Yup. The New York Times reported Nov. 3, 2000: But a review of records by The New York Times indicated that some of those concerns (about Bush
  • thanks for the extra link, f8x. Didn't intend to do any kind of anti-snark snark myself - it's genuinely nice to have Sully's posts balanced up a bit. And if I've never upbraided him on some of his phrasing before - well, that because I'm BIASED!!! Ahahahahahahahahaahaaaa! :-) AS I said in comment to Sully's last post about this, I think it's reached the stage where the evidence is simply too ambiguous for a decent debate to be had in most places. It can be seen several ways, there's no conclusive evidence and some of it is contradictory (assuming that none of the documents provided by either side are fakes, which is far fro impossible). My view - was George Bush's behaviour actually illegal, or technically deserving of a dishonourable discharge? Boderline, but probably not. But was it morally dishonourable? Yes. Was it also quite undertstandable and utterly forgiveable human behaviour? Again, yes. But for a president who has placed such an emphasis on militarism, and who has used the military as a vote-winner and as one big photo-op, all the while buggering about with benefits for the military, is it enough to show him up as a hypocrite? I think yes. Oh, and - CHICKENKORMA! WITH A GARLIC NAAN!
  • And facts have no bearing in a character assassination. Huh?
  • We are talking about the Washington Times. A paper that's loosing money and owned by the Reverened Sun Myung Moon. Note a this little nugget from the article. "These documents clearly show that the president fulfilled his duties," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan as he waved copies of smudgy, 31-year-old pay and accreditation records stored on microfilm in a U.S. government military archives in Colorado. They came from Denver to be exact. That supports what Kevin Drum has been saying. There are still no records of Bush serving in Alabama. My take is he has records in Texas and Colorado because he was assigned there. His ARF record states that. His pay dates don't match with the Alabama National Guard duty schedule at the time. I take is that Bush was stationed in Colorado (because he was suspended) and spent time in Alabama to work on a family friend's campaign. Alabama seems like a cover story. Bush certainly doesn't want to talk about being suspended or not showing up for certain days. As for the stuff about Bill Burkett seeing Bush's National Guard documents get shedded, I wouldn't take him at face value. He's got an axe to grind with Dubya. As for the Washington Times, Wesley Pruden blatantly lied about things John Kerry said. He copies and pastes parts of remarks. "They ... raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power," he told a Senate committee in 1971 when he was just home from the war, and "cut off limbs, [blew] up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam." Miserable lies, and he never produced evidence or repudiated the lies. Americans tolerate a lot of hyperbole in election season, but stuff like this will unhorse even a Botox man. Kerry was chosen by the Winter Soldiers to talk about war crimes by American soldiers in Vietnam. It was submitted into Congressional record by Republican Senator Mark Hatfield. You can read the soldiers testimonies here. I also wrote about it. I say that Pruden knowing lied through his teeth in his column. My question to f8xmulder is whose lying: Kerry or Pruden and why read a paper owned by a cult owner?
  • Apparently, the Washington Times article didn't do a damn thing to help Bush. The press corp wants all the records released.
  • Sully, I'll start with your last question first. Why read a paper owned by a cult owner? To be perfectly honest, I wasn't aware before today that Moon owned the Times. Nevertheless, I'm not inclined to stop reading the occasional article I find there, especially if what I find confirms other sources of information. Not only has the New York Times and the Boston Globe (the original perpetrator of this AWOL story) backed off their original allegations, but FactCheck.org has looked into the matter, as has the White House and come up with nothing that substantiates the claims of Bush's desertion. I think at best the evidence points to a service career marred by inconsistency in reporting to scheduled training drills -- WHICH includes a sixth month leave of absence between Nov. '72 and July '73. Yet those missed drills were made up later on (though no one seems to care about that). But to accuse the man of going AWOL is slanderous based upon the AVAILABLE EVIDENCE. If more evidence comes up that proves Bush didn't serve his time as he's claimed, I'll stand up with the rest of you and condemn him for both lying and for going AWOL. BUT, UNTIL that happens, I don't intend to see him strung out like an alleged killer who's guilt or innocence hasn't yet been decided by a jury of peers, but who everyone "knows" is guilty. It's a bullshit rap and you all know it. Or at least you should know it. Kerry doesn't exactly strike me as an entirely truthful guy, but you know what--he's not the one who's being accused of going AWOL here. When someone accuses Kerry of something along these lines, I'll feel free to address that. But while I'm on the subject, isn't it funny how this whole issue is being used to paint Bush as a hypocrite who wasn't man enough to serve his country (as if the National Guard is less of a supporting member of the military family)? If Kerry becomes President, how many people are going to jump on him for getting out of his deployment, using a minor wound to return to the states to PROTEST the Vietnam War? What about him using those very same vets he fought with and later abandoned as part of his campaign furor? Well, I'm out of energy. Screw it, this is why I don't enjoy seeing political FPPs on MonkeyFilter -- it's exhausting! On preview: Well, shit, who's surprised? First all they needed was some paperwork indicating that his service time was accounted for. Now that's been produced, and they want all his records...give 'em an inch, they'll demand a mile...and deny that the inch counts.
  • Kerry received three purple hearts. Define minor. That also doesn't answer my question about Pruden's Times column. Don't take it personally, f8xmulder. No harm. No foul. I think character issues are fair game. I'm certainly not mad at conservatives for wanting to string up Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He put himself in that position. Just like Bush has put himself in the position he's in now. Both these guys got away with (more than) a lot in their lives. The problem is you can't get away with everything.
  • f8x : we acted on what we believed at the time to be the truth.
  • bleah I don't even know how you Monkeys can use the words politician and characterin the same sentence with a straight face. Look to the future, boys. Look to the future. Election days are coming, and there's a 25 watt bulb at the end of the tunnel.
  • Screw it--we're all still monkey pals, right?
  • *grooms f8xmulder*
  • Oliver Willis gave Campenni a call. And TPM has a PDF of Bush's teeth!
  • Now, isn't that convenient - George Bush's military service files were destroyed.
  • "Inadvertently destroyed", dng. Don't you see, it was, um, an accident and stuff. The, er, dog ate it.
  • This 'open letter' is not credible.
  • This 'open letter' is not credible. Check this link up in the thread. The guy who wrote the letter was in Pittsburgh at the time he served with Bush.
  • Why am I not surprised...
  • Why am I not surprised... Because this form letter has been disproved from here to Sunday. I could tell it was a form letter when I first saw it. Example:
    While most of America was sleeping and Mr. Kerry was playing antiwar games with Hanoi Jane Fonda, we were answering 3 a.m. scrambles for who knows what inbound threat over the Canadian subarctic, the cold North Atlantic and the shark-filled Gulf of Mexico.
    I googled to see how many National Guard pilots have died by shark attack. I couldn't find any.
  • what about cocaine-induced heart attack?