Better yet, Nicholas Kristof has found someone who was part of the small unit — 25 to 30 pilots — that 1LT Bush allegedly reported to in Alabama, and recalls looking for Mr. Bush (in hopes of partying with him)and not finding him. (Yes, that’s the same Mr. Bush who now can’t remember from one day to the next whether the thinks America can win the war on terror or not.)
Kristof also links to this sober and apparently well-researched — but extremely damning — analysis of the Bush TANG record by U.S. Army Col. (Ret.) Gerald Lechleiter. In particular, Lechleiter shows that one of the forms that supposedly supports Mr. Bush’s claim to have done his full complement of hours in 1972-73 is probably fraudulent: the form was eight months obsolete on the day it was signed, having been replaced by a different form, and it shows 1LT Bush as having flying status when he’d been grounded in August of 1972 for missing his flight physical.
Even accepting the documents at face value, Lechleiter demolishes the contention that 1LT Bush had met his service requirement, simply by correcting arithmetic errors in the document put out by the White House.
Moreover, Lechleiter shows inconsistencies in the records purporting to show service in Alabama, and unaccountable gaps in the documentation that ought to have been present. He doesn’t say it, but between the lines it’s clear that the record appears to have been both doctored and scrubbed. What he does say is that 1LT Bush cheated the government by taking pay for service he never performed.
If one of Mr. Bush’s defenders has a response up, I’d appreciate a pointer to it.
Update The Boston Globe is on the case.
In February, when the White House made public hundreds of pages of President Bush’s military records, White House officials repeatedly insisted that the records prove that Bush fulfilled his military commitment in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.
But Bush fell well short of meeting his military obligation, a Globe reexamination of the records shows: Twice during his Guard service — first when he joined in May 1968, and again before he transferred out of his unit in mid-1973 to attend Harvard Business School — Bush signed documents pledging to meet training commitments or face a punitive call-up to active duty.
He didn’t meet the commitments, or face the punishment, the records show.
Gee, our Wartime President failed to keep a promise? Whodathunkit?
With rather endearing Bushite brazenness, White House spokesman Dan Bartlett responds to a story that accuses Mr. Bush of exploiting his family’s power by shirking service and not getting called on it by citing Mr. Bush’s honorable discharge as proof that he’d served adequately. That Bartlett can say such things without laughing out loud suggests an astonishing level of skill.