Unfit to serve

I just saw the 60 Minutes segment on bush’s now verified dereliction of duties during his “service” in the Texas Air National Guard. It’s in writing, and it’s verified by others. Of course, Rove and Hughes are spinning away already, with the message that Ben Barnes is a member of the Kerry campaign. Whether that’s true might be a big issue — if there wasn’t a wealth of corroborating evidence, in writing, by bush’s superiors.

Kevin Drum tells the story better than i can:

NATIONAL GUARD SMOKING GUN?….As you know, 60 Minutes is running a segment tonight that features Ben Barnes explaining how he pulled strings to get George Bush into the National Guard in 1968. But the segment also features something else: new documents from the personal files of Col. Jerry Killian, Bush’s squadron commander. According to CBS News, here’s a summary of the four new documents they’ve uncovered:

* A direct order to Bush to take a physical examination in 1972. Physical exams are an annual requirement for pilots.

* A 1972 memo that refers to a phone call from Bush in which he and Killian “discussed options of how Bush can get out of coming to drill from now through November” because “he may not have time.” This was presumably in preparation for Bush’s departure for Alabama that year, but is nonetheless damning since there’s no reason that working on a Senate campaign should have prevented him from showing up for drills one weekend per month.

* A 1972 order grounding Bush. This order refers not just to Bush’s failure to take a physical, but also to “failure to perform to (USAF/TexANG) standards.”

* A 1973 memo titled “CYA” in which Killian talks about being pressured to give Bush a favorable yearly evaluation. He refuses, saying, “I’m having trouble running interference and doing my job.”

This story is a perfect demonstration of the difference between the Swift Boat controversy and the National Guard controversy. Both are tales from long ago and both are related to Vietnam, but the documentary evidence in the two cases is like night and day. In the Swift Boat case, practically every new piece of documentary evidence indicates that Kerry’s accusers are lying. Conversely, in the National Guard case, practically every new piece of documentary evidence provides additional confirmation that the charges against Bush are true.

In fact, these four memos are pretty close to a smoking gun, since it’s now clear that (a) Bush was directly ordered to take a physical in 1972 and refused, and (b) he plainly failed to perform up to National Guard standards, but that (c) he was nonetheless saved from a failing evaluation thanks to high-level pressure.

So why did Bush refuse to take a physical that year? And why did he blow off drills for at least the next five months and possibly for a lot longer than that?

And finally, why did he get an honorable discharge anyway?

Well, my friend Conrad and others, you asked for evidence, and we provided it. This isn’t like 250 people all shouting that Kerry is a liar and a bad man and offering shoddy stories with no hard facts. This is all hard facts.

And the only thing bush’s side is saying: “He had an honorable discharge.” Ha!!! Get this: The entire premise of the SBVFT is that all of Kerry’s medals and awards and high praise from the military were a sham. They’d have you think everything the military says is a crock. Unless, of course, the military is saying bush’s discharge was honorable. Then we should just take what the military says at face value. As though their word can never be questioned. Bastards.

The Discussion: 10 Comments

While I havn’t seen the Bush interviews, veterans groups have every reason to dislike Kerry even if he did do what he claims during the Vietnam war. Kerry has made a lot of veterans his enemies and it is easy to see how.

Kerry publicly spoke out against a war in which a lot of good people died he has pushed for military spending cuts, the cutting of defense budgets. He is publicly speaking out against the war in Iraq and for the US to take a more pacafistic role in the international comunity. This doesn’t exactly endear him to soldiers, sailor and airmen who are more likely to vote Republican than Democrat anyway.

Kerry pushed his war record at a lot of people who also had war records and who thought that he was bilitilling the sacrafices that they made when he spoke out against Vietnam. It’s little wonder that they are turning on him, and it is not supprising that they are taking Bush’s dollars to do his dirty work for him.

Bush on the other hand was a rich kid who was put somewhere safe and with a bit of honor, and who ran away for something even safer and with no honor.

I don’t know if Kerry did what he claims but at least he did something and has some homor for being in harms way and not running like a scared little boy.

Bush couldn’t even keep his wings by dropping his trousers and coughing while somebody pressured his senior officers.

September 9, 2004 @ 12:28 am | Comment

Apart from people who have already decided to vote against Bush, nobody cares about this.

The allegations are old, so adding some minutae as evidence isn’t going to move the earth.

And unlike Kerry, Bush isn’t running on what he did as a teenager, but on what he did as President.

So if this is the best Kerry’s people can do, don’t be bitter when Kerry loses.

September 9, 2004 @ 1:50 am | Comment

I love that boo: “Bush is turning on what he did as president.” Like, give us the hugest deficits in the entire history of our nation? Like lead us into a BS war that even his generals concede we are losing? Like lie, up until yesterday, about his ANG records? Like reading The Pet Goat as the nation was under attack? Like declare Iraq as a Mission Accomplished 18 months ago? Like give tax breaks to his wealthiest cronies while choking the poor and lower middle classes? Like losing more jobs than any president in history after Hoover? Like…. Well, you know what I mean.

September 9, 2004 @ 11:55 am | Comment

Actually, you’re exactly right, and that’s exactly what I mean. As a strategy I think Kerry and his team should be dealing with these things and coming up with their own clearly articulated vision to show how they’d do better.

The points you listed in your comment can hurt Bush’s chances of reelection.
This veteran’s thing is great for Republicans because in the end it hurts Kerry much more than it will ever hurt Bush.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that because of this fight, some major veteran’s organizations have now endorsed Bush: an endorsement that shouldn’t have mattered but does now because people are focussing on this piece of ancient history.

September 9, 2004 @ 5:42 pm | Comment

The veteran issue didn’t start with Kerry but has been going on for a long time. The recent uproar comes from news reports focused more on the new docuyments from bush’s commanding officers than anything else. Kerry is wisely steering clear of the whole thing. And unlike the SBV, this is an actual valid issue based on tangible misdeeds. I agree, he shouldn’t make it a focal point by any means. But it’s fair for him to support those who say our president should not be above the law and that he deserves to be criticized for his abuse of his privilege.

September 9, 2004 @ 5:45 pm | Comment

As a whole the American people seem to be more interested in the candidates war records than their policies, maybe playground bickering is the right level to choose.

From the image that is being projected right now, you’d think that the US was populated by trailer trash who are more interested in scandles than policies. Maybe the middle classes should stand up for themselves, they represent a huge and educated chunk of America and are not making their views clear.

September 9, 2004 @ 8:05 pm | Comment

The tragedy of our middle class is that so many of them appear ready to vote against a candidate’s whose policies will benefit them far more than the incumbents. They’ve been swayed by the “values” argument, and they’ll vote to their own financial detriment in favor of a man dedicated to huge tax windfalls for the very wealthiest while cutting the benefits for those who need them. They’re convinced that Kerry eats cheese and snails and is in favor of a woman’s life to choose whether to have a child — their priorities are warped, and they aren’t thinking critically of what’s good for them. I’m not saying all Americans are stupid. But some of them sure are. Some of them really believe Iraq was our No. 1 enemy in the war on terror. How depressing.

September 9, 2004 @ 8:15 pm | Comment

richard, you’re right! I saw on TV the other day Bush peddling the tired and already discredited “The US is safer because we’ve got rid of Saddam Hussein” to an adoring crowd. The obscenity of this lie has been that, ridding Saddam has actually contributed to a more unsafe ME region and unsafe Iraq for US troops.

On another but related matter:

Quote (ACB):
This doesn’t exactly endear him to soldiers, sailor and airmen who are more likely to vote Republican than Democrat anyway

While it has been true that the military all over the world are more prone to vote conservative, that has to do more with securing their professional positions, rather than having a dimmer view of an anti-war candidate. When an anti-war candidate has a credible war record, the military in fact are more likely to re-think their automatic preference for the conservative party or parties. They know that’s a person who has sweated and bled and felt fear and sufferings in war before.

In Australia, 43 retired generals/admirals/air marshals and 57 senior civil servants, virtually the cream of the nation’s departmental and military elite and the core of conservatism, have come out publicly to speak against prime minister John Howard for taking Australia unnecessarily into war in Iraq. John Howard has been the darling of Australian conservatives.

Their condemnation of his reckless foreign policies, without substantial national interest at stake, and putting young Australian women and men into an unnecessary and illegal war has been the reason for the grievance of this conservative class.

So the top military and bureaucrat officers, while traditionally are conservative, aren’t exactly idiots.

September 10, 2004 @ 12:20 am | Comment

Boo is right. There is a strong case to be made against Bush. Kerry isn’t making it. Indeed, every day of the campaign Kerry’s miscues and choices cast more and more doubt on his fitness to be president.

Here is a guy whose never, in his entire career, been in charge of anything large than a Swift Boat (for 4 months, 30 years ago. If this is how he runs a campaign, what the hell will he do with the country?

I’ve never seen a campaign so inept or a candidate so off-putting. This guy makes the Dole and Dukakis efforts look inspired.

Shoulda nominated Lieberman.

September 10, 2004 @ 4:11 am | Comment

On Making America safer, how does making yourself even more enemies make you safer, so far 1000 American sons in Iraq arn’t any safer and neither were those in Spain or in the Australian embassy or in who knows how many other bombings.

All Bush has done is created a Them and Us situation that it costing it allies and is making it enemies, already Europe is seeing America as being so heavy handed that it is a danger and many moderate countries and groups are now becoming far more hostile, it is only a matter of time before one of them gets an attack through to the US, and while they’re trying, they’re going to bomb America’s allies as well.

Bush wasn’t a soldier yet he’s thinking like one, Kerry was a soldier (all be it in a boat) and he knows not to think like one.

LEts all sit back and see which candidate America chooses, because this will shape world opinion for a very long time.

If it’s Bush, then America will be seen as too dumb to understand the rest of the world and too greedy to care, and if it’s Kerry then people will see that America has realised that it’s going down a blind ally and that America can change for the better.

September 10, 2004 @ 8:29 pm | Comment

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