Bush was AWOL

You can argue about whether or not the documents were forged, but the real point is clear: Bush shirked his duty.

From the right-leaning U.S. News & World Report:

Last February, White House spokesman Scott McClellan held aloft sections of President Bush’s military record, declaring to the waiting press that the files “clearly document the president fulfilling his duties in the National Guard.” Case closed, he said.

But last week the controversy reared up once again, as several news outlets, including U.S. News, disclosed new information casting doubt on White House claims.

A review of the regulations governing Bush’s Guard service during the Vietnam War shows that the White House used an inappropriate–and less stringent–Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty. Because Bush signed a six-year “military service obligation,” he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year beginning July 1. But Bush’s own records show that he fell short of that requirement, attending only 36 drills in the 1972-73 period, and only 12 in the 1973-74 period. The White House has said that Bush’s service should be calculated using 12-month periods beginning on his induction date in May 1968. Using this time frame, however, Bush still fails the Air Force obligation standard.

Moreover, White House officials say, Bush should be judged on whether he attended enough drills to count toward retirement. They say he accumulated sufficient points under this grading system. Yet, even using their method, which some military experts say is incorrect, U.S. News 's analysis shows that Bush once again fell short. His military records reveal that he failed to attend enough active-duty training and weekend drills to gain the 50 points necessary to count his final year toward retirement.

The U.S. News analysis also showed that during the final two years of his obligation, Bush did not comply with Air Force regulations that impose a time limit on making up missed drills. What’s more, he apparently never made up five months of drills he missed in 1972, contrary to assertions by the administration. White House officials did not respond to the analysis last week but emphasized that Bush had “served honorably.”

Some experts say they remain mystified as to how Bush obtained an honorable discharge. Lawrence Korb, a former top Defense Department official in the Reagan administration, says the military records clearly show that Bush “had not fulfilled his obligation” and “should have been called to active duty.”

Think Bush is happy about the Swift Boat Vets now?

That’s right! The evidence isn’t important, what’s important is the conclusions we draw from that (completely imaginary) evidence!

(paragraph about Andrew and his odd fixation with bestiality, as documented by a document in my possession, snipped, because as funny as it is there are some depths we probably shouldn’t sink to)

Tell me, how is missing a few drills in the wind-down days of a war nobody really wanted to fight anymore more important than lying about being wounded to get a medal for later political use, or re-enacting military action to be filmed for later political use, or pretending to throw away medals for political gain while actually keeping them for other political gain, or lying to Congress about participating in an illegal mission to Cambodia that never happened when one’s own campaign staff admits it never happened, or …

You really need to get some perspective, man. The “Bush was AWOL” claim didn’t fly that great in the spring, it’s not going to fly well now. Particularly with CBS muddying the waters with its incompetence - all that will happen is that any actual factual stuff (such as the missed drills US News is reporting, which I will accept as fact for now) will get mixed in with the blatant lies by CBS in the mind of the average voter. The Democrats need to get the hell away from any AWOL claims as fast as possible; that’s a battlefield where they won’t make any traction whatsoever - not in the time left to the election.

Re-activate him and send his ass over to Iraq. Good enough for all those other 50 year olds who didn’t fulfill their obligations yet…

Here is the fundamental problem with any AWOL stories:

“Some 60 Minutes staffers have been working on this story for more than three years off and on,” says the CBS News producer. “There have been rumors about these memos and what was in them for at least that long. No one had been able to find anything. Not a single piece of paper. But we know that a lot of people here interviewed a lot of people in Texas and elsewhere and asked very explicit questions about the existence of these memos. Then all of a sudden they show up? In one nice, neat package?”

This CBS New producer went on to explain that the questions 60 Minutes folk were asking were specific enough that people would have been able to fabricate the memorandums to meet the exact specifications the investigative journalists were looking for. “People were asking questions of sources like, ‘Have you ever seen or heard of a memo that suspended Bush for failing to appear for a physical?’ and ‘Have you heard about or know of someone who has any documentation from back in the 1970s that shows there was pressure to get Bush into the National Guard?’ It was like they were placing an order for a ready-made product. …”

They hunted this story for THREE YEARS and didn’t find anything and THEN they find exactly what they wanted … and they’re surprised it turns out to be fake?

These guys are MORONS.

On what grounds do you believe the evidence is imaginary? I’m not baiting–I’d honestly like to know. It doesn’t sound like they are referring to the potentially forged documents, but to the publically released records of Bush’s attendence.

Tell me, how is missing a few drills in the wind-down days of a war

32 out of 44 drills (in 73-74) is “a few?”

Rollory, you’re fixating on the CBS issue and not addressing the US News angle.

Give it a rest already. If you chose to hate him, fine, but quit dredging up this crap…

"Bush has always pointed to his honorable discharge as evidence that he eventually made up any deficiencies in drill attendance and fulfilled at least minimum requirements for service. But The Boston Globe reported Sept. 8 that it had conducted a “reexamination of the records” and concluded that Bush failed to meet the commitments he signed in May 1968, and again before he transferred out of his unit in mid-1973 to attend Harvard Business School.

Boston Globe: The reexamination of Bush’s records by the Globe, along with interviews with military specialists who have reviewed regulations from that era, show that Bush’s attendance at required training drills was so irregular that his superiors could have disciplined him or ordered him to active duty in 1972, 1973, or 1974. But they did neither.

The Globe contacted retired Lieutenant Colonel Albert C. Lloyd Jr., the former Texas Air National Guard personnel chief who in February said the records showed Bush had fulfilled his minimum obligations. This time Lloyd agreed that Bush should have joined a reserve unit in the Boston area when he moved to Cambridge in September 1973.

Lloyd: (Bush) took a chance that he could be called up for active duty. But the war was winding down, and he probably knew that the Air Force was not enforcing the penalty. . . . There were hundreds of guys like him who did the same thing.

Actually, the Vietnam war was officially over by the time Bush went to Harvard. The US and North Vietnam signed a cease-fire agreement in January of 1973, and the last US combat troops came home in March (leaving only advisers and Marines protecting US installations). The last person drafted into the Army entered service June 30, 1973.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan disputed the Globe conclusion:

McClellan: If the President had not fulfilled his commitment he would not have been honorably discharged. He was honorably discharged in October of '73. The President is proud of his service in the National Guard. . . . The President met his commitments in Texas. He met his commitments in Alabama. He met his commitments when he returned to Texas in 1973.

Q: Did he meet his commitments in Boston?

McClellan: As I said, Caren, if he had not fulfilled his commitments, he would not have been honorably discharged.

Later in the day, the White House said Bush had been assigned to an Air Force Obligated Ready Reserve unit in Denver, Colorado, – as reflected by previously released documents – absolving him of any requirement to report for duty in Massachusetts. “These documents show the President fulfilled his obligations,” said White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan, as quoted by Reuters."


And I said above that I’ll accept those records as fact for now (I see no reason not to). Andrew however has been insisting all along that the CBS documents weren’t forged, and is trying to change the subject now that further talk of that sort would make him look like an idiot.

This “Bush was AWOL” thing has been a scandal in search of evidence from the start, much like Whitewater was.

32 out of 44 drills (in 73-74) is “a few?”

If his CO didn’t care enough at the time to make a big deal of it - and in fact commented at one point that “Lt. Bush is an excellent officer and pilot”, which is also on the record - then I don’t see why it should be a big deal, or how it makes Bush somehow less qualified than Kerry.

Because I don’t care what either of them did or didn’t do back then. I care about what they’re doing now, and how they are presenting themselves now. On that basis, I have a lot of problems with Kerry. And also - and more importantly - I care about news organizations that have the basic integrity to not lie to my face.

So the CBS story is more important than the US News story.

Of course, Bush got special treatment, his dad was the President. Of course, they covered up any screwups. Of course, they would hide or destroy any evidence of coverup. Of course, they would deny any wrongdoing, secure in knowing there is no evidence. Of course, braindead Bush lovers would never believe their precious could do any wrong.

Of course, the pro-Bushies can’t prove that he fulfilled his service, they can only claim that others can’t disprove that he fulfilled his service. Of course, the average american is too stupid and confused by the issue to do anything but follow the status quo.

I just wanted to point this out.

Think about it.

I just wanted to point this out.

Think about it.[/quote]

He wasn’t president but… All durring the 70’s his father moved between several possitions after failing to get elected to the senate… Chairman of the Republican National Committee, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, US Envoy to communist China, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and board member of the Committee on the Present Danger… Needless to say, he was in with Nixon and getting his little boy out of Vietnam wasn’t a problem.

Yea, his dad may not have been Prez when his boy was screwing up, but who is to say when the records were purged? Maybe the coverup was in motion from the beginning, maybe it takes a Commander in Chief to have military records become “lost”. Either way, Daddy had him covered.

I don’t want to derail the thread, but outside of wingnut circles the conclusion is that there’s no evidence of forgery. It’s pretty clear that there was commonly available equipment that could make those documents, and without the originals none of the fontastic bullshit has any weight. But enjoy your circle jerk… No, I don’t need to go through the arguments again, but did you hear that there are crocodiles living in the sewers of major American cities? It’s true!

Back on topic, Bush not only failed to do his duty, but continued to lie about it in the decades since.

While it would take a lot to convince me that Bush didn’t get special treatment due to political ties, the comment that the only people who are claiming forgery are wingnut circles is interesting. The sources I’m reading are the AP. ABC, etc. who have asked document experts their opinions, and who have received the opinion fron these folks that they are likely forgeries. One line from an AP report: "It consulted the document examiner Sandra Ramsey Lines of Paradise Valley, Ariz. (a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences) and reported “she could testify in court that, beyond a reasonable doubt, her opinion was that the memos were written on a computer.”

I think there’s probably sufficient evidence to show that Bush got away with skipping some drills without trying to hold on to the authenticity of these documents. But it’s far more than right wing bloggers making the claims.

It’s patently obviosu Bush got special treatment. It’s also fairly clear that Bush didn’t do everything he was supposed to do, by the letter of the law, to get his Honorable Discharge. It’s also been well known that this was common at the time, and in fact many people who had no special treatment got off with honorable discharge with the same sort of missed work and records. I don’t think there’s much to this, scandal wise - I DO think Bush should shut up about Kerry’s war record.

But to claim that there’s no evidence of forgery in the “documents” from CBS, to claim that it’s some sort of right-wing conspiracy - it shows an utter blindness and contempt for the truth.

And what really sucks: we’ve got one side taking up air shouting that Kerry didn’t get wounded enough to be legit, another side screaming that Bush missed drills, and so weeks before the election there’s no loud, headline grabbing, public debate on any of the issues that matter.

Further evidence of Karl Rove’s brilliance.

Amen, let’s put this issue to bed. There are 1000 other issues that Kerry can/should be talking about. This is not a winning issue for Democrats so we should just move on.

I agree, it’s time to move on.

So, for the record:

-Kerry was a decorated battlefield hero in Veitnam (but it doesn’t matter).
-Bush did not meet his military commitments in the Guard during Vietnam (but it doesn’t matter).

In terms of political debate, yes - none of this nonsense from 30 years ago is important. If this is really the “most important election in the history of the country” as people from both sides like to put it, why should it matter what happened 30 years ago? It should be about what’s happening now and what will happen in the future.

In terms of journalistic accountability, no - we should not move on. This is a big issue and CBS needs to face the music.