"The Story Was True"
Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS has reignited debate on the question of President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service. The allegedly fake documents (I think they were faked) overshadowed what I believe was an overwhelming case that Bush obviously was derelict in his duty. Eric Boehlert revisited the issue:
The simple, yet apparently elusive, truth is that CBS' report on Bush and the National Guard could have (and should have) been broadcast without the controversial memos. And if it had been, the results would have been exactly the same. Meaning, the documents were irrelevant because they provided texture (the supposed frustration of Bush's commander), not new facts about Bush's service. Yet journalists pretend the memos are the National Guard story and that without them, questions about Bush's military dodge disappear. Why do they think that? Based on the coverage last week, it's clear that journalists who mocked Rather still don't have the slightest clue what the established facts of the Guard story are.
Boehlert has ten key facts that demonstrate Bush' dereliction of duty:
Here are the 10 discrepancies that would have gotten any other Air National Guard member severely reprimanded, and certainly would have, later in life, derailed any presidential aspirations:
1. Upon entering the Guard, Bush agreed that flying was his "lifetime pursuit" and that he would fly for the military for at least 60 months. After his training was complete, he owed 53 more months of flying.
Bush flew for only 22 of those 53 months.
2. In May 1972, Bush left the Houston Guard base for Alabama. According to Air Force regulations, Bush was supposed to obtain prior authorization before leaving Texas to join a new Guard unit in Alabama.
Bush failed to get the authorization.
3. On his transfer request to Alabama Bush was asked to list his "permanent address."
He wrote down a post office box number for the campaign where he was working on a temporary basis.
4. According to Air Force regulations, "[a] member whose attendance record is poor must be closely monitored. When the unexcused absences reach one less than the maximum permitted [sic] he must be counseled and a record made of the counseling. If the member is unavailable he must be advised by personal letter."
There is no record that Bush ever received such counseling, despite the fact that he missed drills for months on end.
5. Bush's unit was obligated to report to the Personnel Center at Randolph Air Force Base whenever a monthly review of records showed unsatisfactory participation for an officer.
Bush's unit never reported his absenteeism to Randolph Air Force Base.
6. In July 1972, Bush failed to take a mandatory Guard physical exam, which is a serious offense for a Guard pilot. The move should have prompted the formation of a Flying Evaluation Board to investigate the circumstances surrounding Bush's failure.
No such Flying Evaluation Board was convened.
7. On Sept. 29, 1972, Bush was formally grounded for failing to take a flight physical. The letter, written by the chief of the National Guard Bureau, ordered Bush to acknowledge in writing that he had received word of his grounding.
No such written acknowledgment exists.
8. Each time Bush missed a monthly training session he was supposed to schedule a make-up session, or file substitute service requests. Bush's numerous substitute service requests should have formed a lengthy paper trail with the name of the officer who authorized the training in advance, the signature of the officer who supervised the training and Bush's own signature.
No such documents exist.
9. During his last year with the Texas Air National Guard, Bush missed a majority of his mandatory monthly training sessions and supposedly made them up with substitute service. Guard regulations allowed substitute service only in circumstances that were "beyond the control" of the Guard member.
Neither Bush nor the Texas Air National Guard ever explained what the uncontrollable circumstances were that forced him to miss so many of his assigned drills during his last year.
10. On June 29, 1973, the Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver instructed Bush's commanders to get additional information from his Alabama unit, where he had supposedly trained, in order to better evaluate Bush's duty.Bush's commanders ignored the request.
Pretty compelling case.
|< Travel Week and Continued Open Thread | Congress Wastes Opportunity to Discuss Serious Issues >|