[eDebate] Kerry and the medal
Thu Jan 29 13:34:49 CST 2004
i think you are awesome... smart, wise, a good person...
but you believe a few stupid things... just too conspiracy-prone when it
comes to Republicans.
a solid, balanced, discussion of the "Bush went AWOL" nonsense at the
Annenberg FactCheck site should fix this bit of silliness. FactCheck is
Kathleen Hall Jamieson's thing... far far far betta than the loopy left web.
and that means Kerry REALLY DID lie about throwing away his military service
medals in a smarmy show while Bush DIDN'T REALLY go awol or desert or
this is it: ( http://www.factcheck.org/article.aspx?docID=131 )
Bush A Military ?Deserter?? Calm Down, Michael
Clark backer Michael Moore calls President Bush a ?deserter? for missing Air
National Guard drills 31 years ago. Puh-lease!
January 23, 2004
Modified: January 23, 2004
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This one has been around since Bush?s campaign against Al Gore, when a
Boston Globe story appeared saying the newspaper could find no record of
Bush attending required Air National Guard drills for a full year in
1972-73. Bush says he missed some weekend drills during the period in
question, but attended others and later attended extra drills to make up for
those he missed. Several news organizations looked into the matter and
reached mixed conclusions.
Websites devoted to criticizing Bush have kept the matter under discussion
on the Internet ever since. It surfaced again when Michael Moore, the
populist author and movie and TV producer, called Bush a ?deserter? at a
rally supporting retired Gen. Wesley Clark in New Hampshire. Clark then said
during a debate that ?I think Michael Moore has the right to say whatever he
feels about this.?
The fact is Bush was honorably discharged without ever being officially
accused of desertion or being away without official leave.
"The Top 5%"
After graduating from Yale in 1968, Bush escaped conscription and possible
combat duty in the then-raging Vietnam War by getting into the Texas Air
National Guard. During the next four years Bush served the equivalent of 21
months on active duty, according to the Globe account, including more than a
year of flight training. The Globe quoted Bush?s flight instructor, retired
Col. Maurice H. Udell, as saying "I would rank him in the top 5 percent of
pilots I knew.?
The Globe also said:
Those who trained and flew with Bush . . . said he was among the best pilots
in the 111th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. In the 22-month period between
the end of his flight training and his move to Alabama, Bush logged numerous
hours of duty, well above the minimum requirements for so-called "weekend
"Began to Disappear"
But the Globe said Bush ?began to disappear from the Guard?s radar screen?
with two years still to run on his six-year commitment, giving up flying for
good in 1972. Bush moved from Houston to Alabama in May of 1972 to take part
in the unsuccessful Senate campaign of Republican Winton Blount. Bush was
supposed to report for duty at the 187th Tactical Recon Group in Montgomery
Alabama. But the unit?s commander at the time, retired Gen. William
Turnipseed, was quoted by several news organizations as saying he had no
recollection of Bush showing up. "I had been in Texas, done my flight
training there. If we had had a first lieutenant from Texas, I would have
remembered," the Globe quoted him saying.
The Globe quoted Bush as saying through his spokesman Dan Bartlett that he
did recall reporting for non-flying duty in Alabama, performing ?odds and
ends? under supervisors whose names he could not recall.
"I Fulfilled My Obligations"
Bush himself later was quoted directly by the Dallas Morning News as
admitting he missed some weekend drills while in Alabama, but saying he made
them up afterward:
"I was there on a temporary assignment and fulfilled my weekends at one
period of time," he said. "I made up some missed weekends."
"I can't remember what I did, but I wasn't flying because they didn't have
the same airplanes. I fulfilled my obligations."
Records are lacking for that period. However, The Associated Press quoted
two friends who worked with Bush in the Blount campaign as saying they
recall him attending Air National Guard drills in Alabama. Joe Holcombe,
described as a former Republican county chairman in Alabama, was quoted as
saying, "It was pretty well-known that he was in the Guard while we worked
on the campaign." And Emily Martin, who said she had dated Bush during the
campaign, was quoted saying, "He told us that he was having to do his Guard
duty in Alabama while he worked on the campaign."
Bush returned to Houston after the campaign, but never resumed flying. He
spent 36 days on duty back in Houston in May, June and July of 1973, the
Globe reported. Spokesman Bartlett told FactCheck.org that Bush made up for
weekend drills he was too busy to attend in Alabama. "The bottom line is he
met his minimum requirments for that year," Bartlett said.
Bush requested and was granted special permission to end his six-year hitch
eight months early. He was released in October 1973 to to allow him to
attend Harvard Business School.
Reporters Dig In
After the Globe story, partisan websites denounced Bush as ?AWOL? and worse.
One is even named AwolBush.com . But other news organizations dug in and
came to much milder conclusions.
George Magazine reported in October of 2000:
It's time to set the record straight . . . . Bush may have received
favorable treatment to get into the Guard, served irregularly after the
spring of 1972 and got an expedited discharge, but he did accumulate the
days of service required of him for his ultimate honorable discharge.
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?s absence) may be unfounded . . . . A review by The
Times showed that after a seven-month gap, he appeared for duty in late
November 1972 at least through July 1973.
The Washington Post also reviewed records and concluded:
It is safe to say that Bush did very light duty in his last two years in the
Guard and that his superiors made it easy for him.
Some Democratic partisans have taken a much harsher view.
Democrats.com , a website that sells ?Impeach Bush Now? bumper stickers,
posted a rebuttal to the George Magazine piece saying ?There is no credible
evidence that Bush ever reported for duty for the last two years of his
military obligation? and suggested ?substance abuse as the most likely
Michael Moore: "General vs. Deserter"
Michael Moore, in his bestselling book Stupid White Men, included an open
letter to President Bush calling him "a possible felon, an unconvicted
deserter, and a crybaby."
Moore took it even further during a New Hampshire rally for Clark Jan. 17,
predicting Clark would face Bush in the general election. ?I want to see
that debate, the general versus the deserter,? Moore said with Clark looking
Moore ?s "deserter" remark prompted ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings to
confront Clark at a Democratic candidates debate Jan. 22:
Jennings: Now, that's a reckless charge not supported by the facts. And I
was curious to know why you didn't contradict him . . .
Clark: Well, I think Michael Moore has the right to say whatever he feels
about this.I don't know whether this is supported by the facts or not. I've
never looked at it. I've seen this charge bandied about a lot. But to me it
wasn't material . . .
Jennings: Since this question and answer in which you and Mr. Moore was
involved in, you've had a chance to look at the facts. Do you still feel
comfortable with the fact that someone should be standing up in your
presence and calling the president of the United States a deserter?
Clark: To be honest with you, I did not look at the facts, Peter. You know,
that's Michael Moore's opinion. He's entitled to say that. I've seen -- he's
not the only person who's said that. I've not followed up on those facts.
And frankly, it's not relevant to me and why I'm in this campaign.
Clark ?s reluctance to contradict Moore was criticized the next day by the
newspaper that started it all, the Boston Globe, which said in an editorial:
News reports, including some in the Globe , have questioned Bush's constancy
as a National Guard airman at the time, but he has not been credibly accused
of desertion, a serious charge. Clark should have distanced himself from the
Walter V. Robinson ?One-year gap in Bush?s Guard duty : No records of airman
at drills in 1972-73,? Boston Globe 23 May 2000: A1.
Wayne Slater "Records of Bush's Ala. Military Service Can't Be Found,"
Dallas Morning News 26 June 2000: A6.
The Associated Press "Friends from Alabama days back Bush's military
claims," Houston Chronicle 5 July 2000: A17.
Peter Keating and Karthik Thyagarajan ?The Real Military Record of George W.
Bush: Not Heroic, but Not AWOL, Either ,? George Magazine October 2000.
Jo Thomas ?The 2000 Campaign: Military Service; Bush?s Guard attendance is
Questioned and Defended,? New York Times 3 Nov. 2000: A27.
Bob Fertik ?George Magazine is Wrong,? Democrats.com website, no date given.
George Lardner Jr.; Howard Kurtz ?2 Democrats: Bush Let Guard Down; Gore
Surrogates Revive Issue of Apparent Laxity in Candidate's Military Service,?
The Washington Post 3 Nov. 2000 : A22.
Eric Slater, ?Clark Showcases Mixed Bag of Backers in New Hampshire
;Filmmakers, former Clinton advisors and others stump for the Democratic
hopeful? Los Angeles Times 18 Jan. 2004: A23.
?Answers Beat Questions,? Boston Globe editorial 23 Jan. 2004.
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