AP: New Bush Guard papers leave questionsThanks, Mark...
By Matt Kelley, Associated Press Writer | October 26, 2004
WASHINGTON -- Unearthed under legal pressure, three-decade-old documents portray President Bush as a capable and well-liked Air National Guard pilot who stopped flying and attending regular drills two-thirds of the way through his six-year commitment -- without consequence.
The files, many of them forced to light by Freedom of Information lawsuits by The Associated Press, conflict with some of the harshest attacks Democrats have levied on Bush's Vietnam-era service, such as suggestions that Bush was a deserter or absent without leave.
But gaps in the records leave unanswered questions about the final two years of his military service in 1972 and 1973. Chief among them: Why did Bush's commanders apparently tolerate his lapses in training and approve his honorable discharge?
Bush's commanders could have punished him -- or ordered him to two years of active duty -- for missing drills for six months in 1972 and skipping a required pilot's medical exam. Instead, they allowed him to make up some of his missed training and granted him an honorable discharge.
"Obviously, the commander saw the lieutenant's interest in the guard was waning," said retired Maj. Gen. Paul A. Weaver Jr., a former head of the Air National Guard. "Had he been good before? Yeah. Does that mean he should nail him to the wall? No. The culture at the time was not to enforce that."
But the culture apparently did not apply to everyone. Although no records mention any punishment against Bush other than being grounded, the Texas unit's files show another airman was ordered to involuntary active duty in March 1972 as punishment.
Tuesday, October 26
Imagine That: Still MORE Bush Military Records surface
As much as I try to pull myself away, something keeps pulling me back in. I'm hoping that just one - JUST ONE of these seemingly countless strikes which glaringly demonstrate the lack of character and utter lack of courage of this little crackhead will stick. Just one. Then I can vacation peacefully.
Posted by Howard Hoffman at 3:36 PM