February 12, 2004

George W. Bush's Lost Year in 1972 Alabama

Well, here's some information on the _resident's lost
years in Alabama that the "US mainstream news media"
has not shared with you yet...

Glynn Wilson, www.southerner.net: The result of an
investigation into George W. Bush's lost year in 1972
reveals a cocky privileged son who used his family
connections to avoid military service in Vietnam and
spend seven months in Alabama partying. He clearly
skipped out on National Guard duty and avoided a
mandatory drug test, all while learning the politics
of "dirty tricks," deception and coded racism in the
land of George Wallace.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


George W. Bush's Lost Year in 1972 Alabama

By Glynn Wilson
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Feb. 2 (PS) — The result of an
investigation into George W. Bush's lost year in 1972
reveals a cocky privileged son who used his family
connections to avoid military service in Vietnam and
spend seven months in Alabama partying. He clearly
skipped out on National Guard duty and avoided a
mandatory drug test, all while learning the politics
of "dirty tricks," deception and coded racism in the
land of George Wallace.

It was the year Wallace, the spunky Alabama
governor and presidential candidate, was gunned down
in a Maryland parking lot, the year of the Watergate
break in and the beginning of the end for "Tricky
Dick" Nixon. It was also the last year for
segregationists to openly fight integration of the
public schools, a time when racism went underground in
American politics in the form of a "Dixie Strategy."
And it was the beginning of a major political
realignment that transformed the American South from a
one-party Democratic stronghold into a solid block for
the GOP.

Bush made the move to Alabama in May to work on
Winton "Red" Blount's campaign for the U.S. Senate
against Southern Democrat John Sparkman. The lessons
of that year were not lost on Bush or his political
adviser Karl Rove, who also cut his political teeth in
1972. Their path to electoral success is a lesson in
itself about the state of American Democracy, an issue
suitable for an H.L. Mencken-style analysis.

Privileged Son

Those who encountered Bush in Alabama remember him as
an affable social drinker who acted younger than his
26 years. Referred to as George Bush, Jr. by
newspapers in those days, sources say he also tended
to show up late every day, around noon or one, at
Blount's campaign headquarters in Montgomery. They say
Bush would prop his cowboy boots on a desk and brag
about how much he drank the night before.

They also remember Bush's stories about how the
New Haven, Connecticut police always let him go, after
he told them his name, when they stopped him "all the
time" for driving drunk as a student at Yale in the
late 1960s. Bush told this story to others working in
the campaign "what seemed like a hundred times," says
Red Blount's nephew C. Murphy Archibald, now an
attorney in Charlotte, N.C., who also worked on the
Blount campaign and said he had "vivid memories" of
that time.

"He would laugh uproariously as though there was
something funny about this. To me, that was pretty
memorable, because here he is, a number of years out
of college, talking about this to people he doesn't
know," Archibald said. "He just struck me as a guy who
really had an idea of himself as very much a child of
privilege, that he wasn't operating by the same

During this period Bush often socialized with the
young ladies of Huntington College, located in the Old
Cloverdale historic neighborhood where he stayed. Bush
even dated Nixon's daughter Tricia in the early 1970s,
according to newspaper accounts. Bush was described as
"young and personable" by the Montgomery Independent
society columnist, and seen dancing at the Whitley
Hotel on election night November 7 with "the blonde,
pretty Emily Marks."

During the 2000 campaign, the Boston Globe named
Marks as one of Bush's former girlfriends. But she and
several other women who dated him during that time
refused to say anything bad on the record about Bush,
now a sitting president.

Many of those who came into close contact with
Bush say he liked to drink beer and Jim Beam whiskey,
and to eat fist-fulls of peanuts, and Executive
burgers, at the Cloverdale Grill. They also say he
liked to sneak out back for a joint of marijuana or
into the head for a line of cocaine. The newspapers
that year are full of stories about the scourge of
cocaine from Vietnam and China, much of it imported by
the French. (Remember the French Connection?)

According to Cathy Donelson, a daughter of old
Montgomery but one of the toughest investigative
reporters to work for newspapers in Alabama over the
years, the 1960s came to Old Cloverdale in the early
1970s about the time of Bush's arrival.

"We did a lot of drugs in those days," she said.
"The 1970s are a blur."

The top radio hits in 1972 included "My
Ding-A-Ling" by Chuck Berry, "Honky Cat" by Elton
John, "Long Cool Woman" by the Hollies and "Feeling
Alright" by Joe Cocker, along with "I Am Woman" by
Helen Reddy, "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young, "Ben" by
Michael Jackson and "Black and White" by Three Dog

It was that kind of year.

To "Blount's Belles," a group of young Republican
women and Montgomery debutantes working for the Blount
campaign, Bush is remembered showing up in "denim" and
cowboy boots. To one who talked about those times but
requested anonymity, "We thought he was to die for."

Winton Bount's son Tom, an accomplished architect
who designed the Shakespeare Festival Theater in
Montgomery, remembers well his encounter with Bush. He
recently co-produced and underwrote a telling movie
called The Trip, set in the period from 1973 to the
early 1980s, about a young gay Texan and his
conservative Republican lover. The son known as
"Tommy" said he ended up in the same car with Bush,
with Bush driving, on election night.

"He was an attractive person, kind of a 'frat
boy,'" Blount said. "I didn't like him."

He remembers thinking to himself, "This guy thinks
he is such a cuntsman, God's gift to women," he said.
"He was all duded up in his cowboy boots. It was sort
of annoying seeing all these people who thought they
were hot shit just because they were from Texas."

Bush also made an impression on the "Blue-Haired
Platoon," a group of older Republican Women working
for Blount. Behind his back they called him "the Texas
soufflé," Archibald said, because he was "all puffed
up and full of hot air."

Archibald was recruited by Blount's Washington
staff for his administrative skills after returning
home from a tour of duty as a lieutenant in Vietnam.

Failure of Duty

Bush avoided Vietnam by using family connections to
move ahead in line for acceptance into the National
Guard in Texas, where he was assigned to train as a
pilot on the F-102 Delta Dagger, a plane the military
had schedule for the scrap heap. It never made it into
service during Vietnam, which guaranteed Bush would
never have to go himself.

That May, Bush first requested a transfer from his
Texas unit to the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron at
Maxwell Air Force Base, a postal unit, after he had
already moved to Alabama to work on Blount's campaign.
The transfer was approved by his superiors in Houston,
after the fact, but ultimately denied up the chain of
command, since the unit only met one weekend night a
month and had no airplanes. Bush was finally approved
for a transfer on Sept. 5, five months after he had
already established a residence in Alabama, to the
187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Montgomery. His
orders, available on the Net, required him to report
to the unit commander, Gen. William Turnipseed. He is
named in the orders.

In interviews with the Boston Globe in 2000,
Turnipseed and his administrative officer in 1972,
Kenneth K. Lott, said they had no memory of Bush ever
reporting, and could produce no documentation that he
ever even checked in.

''Had he reported in, I would have had some
recall, and I do not,'' Turnipseed said. ''I had been
in Texas, done my flight training there. If we had had
a first lieutenant from Texas, I would have

In a follow-up interview, Turnipseed acted like he
wished the story would go away, but said, "Yes, I
think I would have remembered."

Rewards offered by veterans groups in Alabama and
Texas for any proof that Bush showed up have never
been claimed. There were 700 active guardsmen in
Alabama at that time and not one who saw him on the
base has come forward. Even an extensive investigation
by the president's campaign staff could not turn up a
shred of evidence that Bush pulled any duty, according
to newspaper accounts.

Perhaps the reason he didn't log any time toward
his six-year commitment was because the base had no
Delta Daggers, although that would not explain why he
was granted an after-the-fact transfer there in the
first place. Or perhaps it had something to do with
the military's new policy of mandatory drug screening,
implemented in April. Bush's required physical exam
officially came up in August due to his birth date,
but records indicate he never showed up for a physical
in Montgomery or when he returned to Houston after the

Bush was never punished for skirting Guard
requirements, even though the military had passed a
rule in in 1969 warning volunteers that failure to
fulfill the contract would result in immediate
selection for active duty in Vietnam. For not taking a
physical, though, he was grounded that August and
never flew again, records show, until last year when
he reportedly says he took the "stick" in a Navy plane
on his way to declare "mission accomplished" over Iraq
on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln.

The gap in Bush's military records for 1972, and
his lack of a full answer to the question about his
drug use, generated stories during the 2000 campaign.
Bush refused for months to say whether he had ever
used illegal drugs. Then he changed his stance,
according to the Boston Globe, saying he had not used
illegal drugs "since 1974."

Two books now contain the charge that Bush was
arrested for possession of cocaine in 1972 in Texas,
most likely in late November or December after his
stint in Alabama. Bush was allowed to perform
community service in 1973 by working for a minority
children's program in Houston, Professionals United
for Leadership League (PULL), chaired by his father.
The record of that arrest was expunged, meaning he
apparently received the equivalent of Youthful
Offender status at the age of 26.

There are several possible interpretations of
whether Bush can be called AWOL during that period, or
even a Deserter. Activist film maker Michael Moore's
claim that George W. Bush was a Deserter when he
skipped out on National Guard duty in 1972 is one
interpretation, but is not entirely based on the facts
or a correct interpretation of military regulations.

According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice,
a soldier would be considered Absent Without Leave
(AWOL) if missing from his unit for 30 days or less.
If absent for more than 30 days, a soldier would be
considered a Deserter, if he had "no intention of

But Bush's superiors, at least in Houston, knew
where he was. He did come back and received an
honorable discharge.

Moore's claim was dodged by Democratic candidate
for president Wesley Clark during a New Hampshire
debate on Fox News in January, in response to pointed
questions by Peter Jennings of ABC and Brent Hume of
Fox in response to Moore's endorsement of Cark the
previous week.

The debate about whether Bush was AWOL, as the
Boston Globe reported, or deserves Deserter status, as
claimed by Moore, may be missing the point. It may be
more accurate to say that while Bush was not
technically AWOL or a Deserter, he was allowed to do
things no average member of the National Guard would
ever be allowed to do. Any other member of the Guard,
without Bush's family connections, would be expected
to wait until a transfer approval went through before
leaving town, much less moving four states away to
work for a political campaign. Also, the military does
not usually grant transfers to soldiers to units that
have a purpose with no resemblance to their training.

So the point is, Bush is no military hero. He is
no Wesley Clark, or John Kerry, both of whom earned
purple hearts and other medals for being injured in
the line of duty.

Dirty Tricks

It is also apparent that Bush learned one of his first
lessons in the politics of "dirty tricks," deception
and coded racism in 1972. It was the biggest year for
"Tricky Dick" style dirty tricks in American politics.
A group of Cubans working secretly for the Committee
to Reelect the President, otherwise known as CREEP,
broke into the Democratic Party headquarters at the
Watergate Hotel in Washington on June 17.

Just prior to the day on May 15 when Alabama
Governor and presidential candidate George Wallace
took a bullet in a Maryland parking lot — a shock but
a political relief for President Richard Nixon and
Democratic candidate George McGovern in a race for the
White House themselves — Bush was recruited for the
Blount campaign by another Texan and Bush family
friend named Jimmy Allison.

In several documented accounts, Allison is
described as the original Republican political pro who
may have inspired Lee Atwater, Ronald Reagan's gung-ho
political director, and Karl Rove, who is credited
with orchestrating Bush's successful run for the White
House in 2000. Atwater and Rove are reported to have
taken a drive together across the South in 1972
campaigning for Rove's bid to lead the College
Republicans, so it is safe to say they cut their
political teeth that year as well as Bush.

Rove won that bid and dropped out of the
University of Utah, then moved to Washington to become
executive director of the College Republicans, even
though he was accused of dirty tricks during that
campaign. The Republican National Committee, chaired
at that time by Bush's father, investigated but
eventually cleared Rove of any wrong doing, even
though Rove admitted using a false identity to gain
entry to the campaign offices of Illinois Democrat
Alan Dixon. He admitted stealing letterhead stationary
and sending out 1,000 fake invitations to the campaign
headquarters opening, promising "free beer, free food,
girls and a good time for nothing."

Allison had managed the senior Bush's campaigns
for Congress and served as vice chairman of the
Republican National Committee. Archibald remembers
being impressed with the "Allisons," thinking he would
see more of Jimmy and his wife in the future,
certainly more than Bush.

"Allison was extremely bright and a well organized
political operative," he said.

Archibald remembers one speech Allison delivered
to the campaign staff and a group of British students.
He said Allison talked about Wallace's domination of
state politics since his first election as governor in
1962, and his "racist appeal." Some in the campaign
were hoping to portray Blount as a pro-business
moderate, Archibald said. But Tom Blount remembers his
dad, who died two years ago, having regrets about the
dirty campaign tactics. Dividing people by coded
racism became a staple of the Southern Strategy
leading up to Willie Horton ads used successfully by
the first Bush against Michael Dukakis in 1988, and
the junior Bush's smear campaign against Sen. John
McCain's interracial child during the 2000 Republican

One of Bush's duties as "campaign coordinator,"
according to his official title in the newspapers, was
to stay in contact by phone with campaign managers in
Alabama's 67 counties, and to handle the distribution
of all campaign materials, Archibald says. That
material included a pamphlet accusing Sparkman of
being soft on the race issue. It also included a
doctored tape from a radio debate distorting
Sparkman's position on busing.

Sparkman was forced to deny a series of false
charges linking him with McGovern, the South Dakota
presidential candidate who became the first in the
modern era to be tainted and stomped as a "liberal."
The pamphlet distributed to campaign workers and
leaked to the press charged Sparkman with favoring
drastic defense cuts, big federal spending, abandoning
American POWs in Vietnam, a guaranteed wage for every
American, relaxing drug laws, amnesty for draft
dodgers ­ and "forced busing."

The Birmingham News ran the transcript of the
doctored radio tape on November 6, the day before the
election, which made it appear Sparkman was in favor
of busing black and white children miles across towns
to "mix" the public schools. The literature of the
campaign echoed the winning conservative Senate race
of Ed Gurney in Florida, also dreamed up by Allison
and company. Blount's campaign, awash in cash with
twice the money of Sparkman's, paid for billboards
across the state proclaiming: "A vote for Red Blount
is a vote against forced busing . . . against coddling
criminals . . . against welfare freeloaders."

Sparkman was a moderate on the race issue compared
to Wallace, and got the support of African Americans
who only had the right to vote for seven years. But he
not only voted for the anti-forced busing bill. He
co-sponsored it and spoke against busing on the Senate
floor. The measure, which would have blocked busing
and killed desegregation for all practical purposes,
died a few weeks later when the Republicans and
Southern Democrats in the Senate could not garner
enough votes for cloture. It was the last gasp on the
part of segregationists to prevent the federal courts
from enforcing desegregation of the public schools, a
fight that started in earnest with the 1954 Supreme
Court decision in Brown v. (Topeka, Kansas) Board of

Archibald says Allison called him aside and asked
him quietly to take over some of Bush's campaign
duties, so he ended up handling the Republican women
and the counties in the final days of the campaign.
Apparently Bush was more interested in hanging out
with "Blount's Belles."

Some of the women, young and old, came from Union
Springs, where Archibald grew up in the enviable
position of being the nephew of Blount, also
originally from Union Springs, just a short drive
southeast of Montgomery. It is a land of rolling
hills, lakes, forests and wide cow pastures, where the
mostly African American population of Bullock County
is largely made up of descendents of slaves, and a few
slave owners. Little white churches are almost as
common as white-tailed deer on the run from hunters in
camouflage and bright orange. During the past century,
pine plantations for paper and wood products replaced
cotton as the chief agricultural crop.

Blount's construction and manufacturing empire
prospered in the new industrial economy here. The
first big construction deal for Blount Brother's
construction was signed with the Saudi government. On
one occasion Archibald's uncle banked a check for $334
million to build a university in Saudi Arabia. The
check is on display in Blount's ghostwritten biography
in the Shakespeare theater box office and gift shop on
Vaughn Road. In the caption, Blount brags about how he
rushed the check into the bank to get that $200,000 a
day in interest flowing "as quickly as possible."

Winton Blount IV now carries on the family
tradition, according to newspaper accounts,
subcontracting for the likes of Halliburton and
Bechtel in Saudi Arabia and Iraq today.

The "interlocking directorates" of the Bush
family, their friends and this administration is
documented by conservative Republican author Kevin
Phillips in his book American Dynasty, although he
doesn't deal with the Blount connection in detail.
George H. W. Bush and Winton Blount met and became
tight in Washington during the Nixon years, according
to published accounts, when they were sometimes
invited by the White House to play doubles together on
the south lawn tennis court.

Blount had served as southeastern campaign chair
for Nixon in his run against John Kennedy in 1960. He
served as president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in
1969 before accepting Nixon's appointment as
Postmaster General in 1970, where he generated a major
national controversy by laying off 33,000 postal
workers. He quit that job to run for office and try to
help capture the Senate for the Republican Party in
1972, but lost by a 24-point margin, in spite of the
political pros from Texas, and the deceptive campaign

Nixon appointed Bush's daddy Ambassador to the
United Nations in 1972, a well publicized fact that
was known to campaign workers and Guard personnel in
Alabama. He would be appointed by President Gerald
Ford as head of the CIA in 1976 and go on to serve as
Ronald Reagan's vice president, then as president in
his own right for one term. Bush Jr's. granddaddy
Prescott Bush was a successful industrialist from
Kennebunkport, Maine, who served as a U.S. Senator.
Since leaving public office, the former President Bush
now sits on the board of the Carlyle Group, which has
been accused of profiteering off the war his son
started, doing business with Saudi Arabia, Iraq and
other oil-rich countries in the Middle East.

It is worth noting in this context that several
members of Osama bin Laden's family from Saudi Arabia
were onboard the only plane allowed to fly out of the
country after the attacks on the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, an incident
that has never been adequately explained by the Bush
administration or the commission investigating the

All of these connections and events have weighed
heavily on the mind of retired attorney Lewis Odom, a
veteran himself who managed Senator Sparkman's winning
campaign in 1972. He was Allison's counterpart, though
he never met Bush personally during the campaign. But
he does remember being aware of a group of political
pros from Texas in Alabama working for Blount, and
being appalled at the deceptions of the campaign.

Odom, who served as a JAG officer in Korea and as
a member of the Alabama Air National Guard, only
learned later that Bush was in the state working for
Blount while skipping out on Vietnam and his Guard
duties. But he remembers the radio tape and

"It was doctored to make it appear as if Sparkman
was in favor of forced-busing, which in Alabama at the
time was political death," he said.

Odom said the Bush campaign has tried to dismiss
the president's early transgressions since they
happened so long ago, although he points out that Bill
Clinton did not get a "free ride" on the issue of his
own history as a so-called "draft dodger" and
"womanizer," even impeached in his second term.

Why is Bush's past important to examine now?

"It seems to me to be important because Bush is
willing to send our boys and girls over there to get
shot, killed and wounded, to lose their arms and
legs," Odom said. "Then in his own life, he did what
he could to avoid it (going to war). And then later,
he presents himself as a fighter pilot, parading
around on that flight deck with his fighter pilot
jacket on with 'Commander In Chief'' on it."

Odom said the Guard probably spent a half a
million dollars training Bush, then he wouldn't even
take his flight exam and failed to check the box on
the form making himself available for active duty.
Later, Bush was transferred on paper to a Guard unit
in Colorado prior to his early release to attend
Harvard Business School.

"I see him out parading around as if he was some
sort of a military hero, when the truth about the
matter is, he used his father's prestige in the
community to get into the Guard in the first place,"
Odom said. "And then he used it to get himself
transferred to Alabama to work on a political

State of Democracy

Many Americans, including Odom and a lot of combat
veterans, wonder how things might have been handled
differently if only Bush had served real time in the
military and not skated because of his privileged son
status. Would he have been as likely to go to war in
Iraq so quickly and on such flimsy evidence, bringing
the world to the brink of an all out religious war
between Christians and Jews against the Muslim world
and turning much of Europe and the rest of the world
against the U.S.?

That is a question that cannot be answered in
hindsight. But in a democracy, it is not supposed to
matter what bloodline you come from or what religion
you practice. What should matter — to a candidate for
the highest office in the most powerful country in the
world — is the quality of his life, work and

What does Bush's success say about the state of
American Democracy?

The Bush White House openly promotes democracy
around the world, committing the full force of
American military power to try creating a capitalist
democracy in Iraq. Yet Bush's entire history of
success fosters the mentality of a Royal Monarchy at

Attorney Mike Odom contributed research assistance to
this report.

Posted by richard at February 12, 2004 07:14 PM