September 08, 2004

NOTE to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

NOTE to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): I know you want to
click your new red shoes together and wish the whole
mess away. A few days ago you said that Vietnam was
over thirty years ago (true), and that both Sen. John
F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta), i.e., your friend, and the
increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking
_resident, i.e. the man who slimed your military
record and your wife and child in 2000, served
"honorably" (well, not quite) and therefore "end of
story" (wrong)...But now, even by the most cautious body counts, over
1,000 US soldier have been killed in Iraq. For what?
The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich.
Meanwhile, minions of Little Brother (as in "Long Live
Little Brother!") spent much of August sliming the
military record of JFK. So let us break it down for
you, Sen. McCain...Yes, Vietnam war ended thirty years
ago. But the accuracy of your statement trails off
there...JFK served with DISTINCTION in the battlefield
and was DECORATED with MEDALS for his VALOR. The man
that allowed his minions to slime your military record
and your wife and child in 2000, as well as the
military record of your friend in 2004, who may or may
not have "served" state-side, received an "Honorable
Discharge" from the Air National Guard. They are not
equivalent. And, in the post-SBVT campaign, there is
just no way the story ends here...The military record
of the man allowed his minions to slime your military
record and your wife and child in 2000, as well as the
military record of your friend in 2004 has been ripped
open again, and its glaring gaps and the disturbing
questions about his CHARACTER and FITNESS for COMMAND
are going to be REVISITED between now and Election
Day...Bravo...Here are four powerful incendiary
devices, i.e. glimpses of the truth and of the Day of
Reckoning that is coming at the Ballot Box...What will
the major network news organizations do now? It is
their credibility that is at stake now, the man who
allowed his minions to slime your military record and
your wife and child in 2000, as well as the military
record of your friend in 2004, has already lost
his...And, yes, and what about your credibility? Will
you exhaust it in propping up this failed regime?
Doesn't your own noble sacrifice in Vietnam and your
beautiful family's honor deserve better?

www.buzzflash.com: "Shocking revelations," said
Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe
about the release of two dozen new documents related
to George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National
Guard.
McAuliffe and General "Tony" McPeak held a conference
call today to highlight the new information about
Bush's Guard service. The new documents were released
because of a lawsuit by the Associated Press and
highlighted in an article published this morning by
the Boston Globe.
"For years, Bush has been claiming he met his
obligations [to the Guard]," McAuliffe said. "George
W. Bush has either lied or he has severe memory loss."
General McPeak, who led the Air Force in the first
Gulf War and who supported Bush in 2000, said, "At a
minimum, the President and his spokesmen have not been
candid with the American people."
"It goes to the credibility of George W. Bush, to the
credibility of the Commander-in-Chief," said
McAuliffe. "Bush's activities 35 years ago goes to his
credibility today -- Bush mislead us about weapons of
mass destruction, about the deficit, about fulling
funding Leave No Child Behind, about fixing the
healthcare system. George W. Bush has not been
truthful from the start."

Stephen Kurkjian, Francie Latour, Sacha Pfeiffer, and
Michael Rezendes, Walter V. Robinson, Boston Globe: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. The 1973 document has
been overlooked in news media accounts. The 1968
document has received scant notice.

Associated Press: President Bush ranked in the middle
of his Air National Guard flight class and flew 336
hours in a fighter jet before letting his pilot status
lapse and missing a key readiness drill in 1972,
according to his flight records belatedly uncovered
Tuesday under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Pentagon and Bush's campaign have claimed for
months that all records detailing his fighter pilot
career have been made public, but defense officials
said they found two dozen new records detailing his
training and flight logs after The Associated Press
filed a lawsuit and submitted new requests under the
public records law.
"Previous requests from other requesters for
President Bush's Individual Flight Records did not
lead to the discovery of these records because at the
time President Bush left the service, flight records
were subject to retention for only 24 months and we
understood that neither the Air Force nor the Texas
Air National Guard retained such records thereafter,"
the Pentagon told the AP.
"Out of an abundance of caution," the government
"searched a file that had been preserved in spite of
this policy" and found the Bush records, the letter
said. "The Department of Defense regrets this
oversight during the previous search efforts."

Nicholas Kristoff: It's not a pretty sight. Mr. Bush
was saved from active duty, and perhaps Vietnam, only
after the speaker of the Texas House intervened for
him because of his family's influence.
Mr. Bush signed up in May 1968 for a six-year
commitment, justifying the $1 million investment in
training him as a pilot. But after less than two
years, Mr. Bush abruptly stopped flying, didn't show
up for his physical and asked to transfer to Alabama.
He never again flew a military plane.
Mr. Bush insists that after moving to Alabama in 1972,
he served out his obligation at Dannelly Air National
Guard Base in Montgomery (although he says he doesn't
remember what he did there). The only officer there
who recalls Mr. Bush was produced by the White House -
he remembers Mr. Bush vividly, but at times when even
Mr. Bush acknowledges he wasn't there.
In contrast, Mr. Mintz is a compelling witness.
Describing himself as "a very strong military man," he
served in the military from 1959 to 1984. A commercial
pilot, he is now a Democrat but was a Republican for
most of his life, and he is not a Bush-hater. When I
asked him whether the National Guard controversy
raises questions about Mr. Bush's credibility, Mr.
Mintz said only, "That's up to the American people to
decide."
In his first interview with a national news
organization, Mr. Mintz recalled why he remembered Mr.
Bush as a no-show: "Young bachelors were kind of
sparse. For that reason, I was looking for someone to
haul around with." Why speak out now? He said, "After
a lot of soul-searching, I just feel it's my duty to
stand up and do the right thing."
Another particularly credible witness is Leonard
Walls, a retired Air Force colonel who was then a
full-time pilot instructor at the base. "I was there
pretty much every day," he said, adding: "I never saw
him, and I was there continually from July 1972 to
July 1974." Mr. Walls, who describes himself as
nonpolitical, added, "If he had been there more than
once, I would have seen him."

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

http://www.buzzflash.com/alerts/04/09/ale04047.html

September 8, 2004 SEND THIS PAGE TO A FRIEND


DNC Chairman: George W. Bush Lied or He Has Severe
Memory Loss

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT

"Shocking revelations," said Democratic National
Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe about the release
of two dozen new documents related to George W. Bush's
service in the Texas Air National Guard.

McAuliffe and General "Tony" McPeak held a conference
call today to highlight the new information about
Bush's Guard service. The new documents were released
because of a lawsuit by the Associated Press and
highlighted in an article published this morning by
the Boston Globe.

"For years, Bush has been claiming he met his
obligations [to the Guard]," McAuliffe said. "George
W. Bush has either lied or he has severe memory loss."

General McPeak, who led the Air Force in the first
Gulf War and who supported Bush in 2000, said, "At a
minimum, the President and his spokesmen have not been
candid with the American people."

"It goes to the credibility of George W. Bush, to the
credibility of the Commander-in-Chief," said
McAuliffe. "Bush's activities 35 years ago goes to his
credibility today -- Bush mislead us about weapons of
mass destruction, about the deficit, about fulling
funding Leave No Child Behind, about fixing the
healthcare system. George W. Bush has not been
truthful from the start."

* * *

"The Associated Press, after being told by the White
House in February that it had released all of the
President's military records, inexplicably got a new
batch of documents from the Pentagon on Tuesday.
Nicholas Kristof, columnist for The New York Times,
who had not previously written on this subject, nailed
the first major interview with Bob Mintz, an Air
National Guard lieutenant colonel who claimed he never
saw Bush report for duty in Alabama," reported Editor
and Publisher.

As Joe Conason wrote in February, "George W. Bush lied
about his military service record."

"Earlier this year, President Bush told the nation 'I
did my duty' in the National Guard in 1972 when he was
supposed to report for service. But according to a
major new report, that is not true." -- The Daily
Mislead, September 8, 2004

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT

http://www.boston.com/news/politics/president/bush/articles/2004/09/08/bush_fell_short_on_duty_at_guard/


Bush fell short on duty at Guard
Records show pledges unmet
September 8, 2004

This article was reported by the Globe Spotlight Team
-- reporters Stephen Kurkjian, Francie Latour, Sacha
Pfeiffer, and Michael Rezendes, and editor Walter V.
Robinson. It was written by Robinson.


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. The 1973 document has
been overlooked in news media accounts. The 1968
document has received scant notice.

On July 30, 1973, shortly before he moved from Houston
to Cambridge, Bush signed a document that declared,
''It is my responsibility to locate and be assigned to
another Reserve forces unit or mobilization
augmentation position. If I fail to do so, I am
subject to involuntary order to active duty for up to
24 months. . . " Under Guard regulations, Bush had 60
days to locate a new unit.

But Bush never signed up with a Boston-area unit. In
1999, Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett told the Washington
Post that Bush finished his six-year commitment at a
Boston area Air Force Reserve unit after he left
Houston. Not so, Bartlett now concedes. ''I must have
misspoke," Bartlett, who is now the White House
communications director, said in a recent interview.

And early in his Guard service, on May 27, 1968, Bush
signed a ''statement of understanding" pledging to
achieve ''satisfactory participation" that included
attendance at 24 days of annual weekend duty --
usually involving two weekend days each month -- and
15 days of annual active duty. ''I understand that I
may be ordered to active duty for a period not to
exceed 24 months for unsatisfactory participation,"
the statement reads.

Yet Bush, a fighter-interceptor pilot, performed no
service for one six-month period in 1972 and for
another period of almost three months in 1973, the
records show.

The reexamination of Bush's records by the Globe,
along with interviews with military specialists who
have reviewed regulations from that era, show that
Bush's attendance at required training drills was so
irregular that his superiors could have disciplined
him or ordered him to active duty in 1972, 1973, or
1974. But they did neither. In fact, Bush's unit
certified in late 1973 that his service had been
''satisfactory" -- just four months after Bush's
commanding officer wrote that Bush had not been seen
at his unit for the previous 12 months.

Bartlett, in a statement to the Globe last night,
sidestepped questions about Bush's record. In the
statement, Bartlett asserted again that Bush would not
have been honorably discharged if he had not ''met all
his requirements." In a follow-up e-mail, Bartlett
declared: ''And if he hadn't met his requirements you
point to, they would have called him up for active
duty for up to two years."

That assertion by the White House spokesman infuriates
retired Army Colonel Gerald A. Lechliter, one of a
number of retired military officers who have studied
Bush's records and old National Guard regulations, and
reached different conclusions.

''He broke his contract with the United States
government -- without any adverse consequences. And
the Texas Air National Guard was complicit in allowing
this to happen," Lechliter said in an interview
yesterday. ''He was a pilot. It cost the government a
million dollars to train him to fly. So he should have
been held to an even higher standard."

Even retired Lieutenant Colonel Albert C. Lloyd Jr., a
former Texas Air National Guard personnel chief who
vouched for Bush at the White House's request in
February, agreed that Bush walked away from his
obligation to join a reserve unit in the Boston area
when he moved to Cambridge in September 1973. By not
joining a unit in Massachusetts, Lloyd said in an
interview last month, Bush ''took a chance that he
could be called up for active duty. But the war was
winding down, and he probably knew that the Air Force
was not enforcing the penalty."

But Lloyd said that singling out Bush for criticism is
unfair. ''There were hundreds of guys like him who did
the same thing," he said.

Lawrence J. Korb, an assistant secretary of defense
for manpower and reserve affairs in the Reagan
administration, said after studying many of the
documents that it is clear to him that Bush ''gamed
the system." And he agreed with Lloyd that Bush was
not alone in doing so. ''If I cheat on my income tax
and don't get caught, I'm still cheating on my income
tax," Korb said.

After his own review, Korb said Bush could have been
ordered to active duty for missing more than 10
percent of his required drills in any given year.
Bush, according to the records, fell shy of that
obligation in two successive fiscal years.

Korb said Bush also made a commitment to complete his
six-year obligation when he moved to Cambridge, a
transfer the Guard often allowed to accommodate
Guardsmen who had to move elsewhere. ''He had a
responsibility to find a unit in Boston and attend
drills," said Korb, who is now affiliated with a
liberal Washington think tank. ''I see no evidence or
indication in the documents that he was given
permission to forgo training before the end of his
obligation. If he signed that document, he should have
fulfilled his obligation."

The documents Bush signed only add to evidence that
the future president -- then the son of Houston's
congressman -- received favorable treatment when he
joined the Guard after graduating from Yale in 1968.
Ben Barnes, who was speaker of the Texas House of
Representatives in 1968, said in a deposition in 2000
that he placed a call to get young Bush a coveted slot
in the Guard at the request of a Bush family friend.

Bush was given an automatic commission as a second
lieutenant, and dispatched to flight school in Georgia
for 13 months. In June 1970, after five additional
months of specialized training in F-102
fighter-interceptor, Bush began what should have been
a four-year assignment with the 111th
Fighter-Interceptor Squadron.

In May 1972, Bush was given permission to move to
Alabama temporarily to work on a US Senate campaign,
with the provision that he do equivalent training with
a unit in Montgomery. But Bush's service records do
not show him logging any service in Alabama until
October of that year.

And even that service is in doubt. Since the Globe
first reported Bush's spotty attendance record in May
2000, no one has come forward with any credible
recollection of having witnessed Bush performing guard
service in Alabama or after he returned to Houston in
1973. While Bush was in Alabama, he was removed from
flight status for failing to take his annual flight
physical in July 1972. On May 1, 1973, Bush's superior
officers wrote that they could not complete his annual
performance review because he had not been observed at
the Houston base during the prior 12 months.

Although the records of Bush's service in 1973 are
contradictory, some of them suggest that he did a
flurry of drills in 1973 in Houston -- a weekend in
April and then 38 days of training crammed into May,
June, and July. But Lechliter, the retired colonel,
concluded after reviewing National Guard regulations
that Bush should not have received credit -- or pay --
for many of those days either. The regulations,
Lechliter and others said, required that any scheduled
drills that Bush missed be made up either within 15
days before or 30 days after the date of the drill.

Lechliter said the records push him to conclude that
Bush had little interest in fulfilling his obligation,
and his superiors preferred to look the other way.
Others agree. ''It appears that no one wanted to hold
him accountable," said retired Major General Paul A.
Weaver Jr., who retired in 2002 as the Pentagon's
director of the Air National Guard.

Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/090904Y.shtml

Lawsuit Uncovers New Bush Guard Records
The Associated Press

Tuesday 07 September 2004

"The records show his last flight was in April 1972,
which is consistent with pay records indicating Bush
had a large lapse of duty between April and October of
that year."

WASHINGTON - President Bush ranked in the middle of
his Air National Guard flight class and flew 336 hours
in a fighter jet before letting his pilot status lapse
and missing a key readiness drill in 1972, according
to his flight records belatedly uncovered Tuesday
under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Pentagon and Bush's campaign have claimed for
months that all records detailing his fighter pilot
career have been made public, but defense officials
said they found two dozen new records detailing his
training and flight logs after The Associated Press
filed a lawsuit and submitted new requests under the
public records law.

"Previous requests from other requesters for
President Bush's Individual Flight Records did not
lead to the discovery of these records because at the
time President Bush left the service, flight records
were subject to retention for only 24 months and we
understood that neither the Air Force nor the Texas
Air National Guard retained such records thereafter,"
the Pentagon told the AP.

"Out of an abundance of caution," the government
"searched a file that had been preserved in spite of
this policy" and found the Bush records, the letter
said. "The Department of Defense regrets this
oversight during the previous search efforts."

Bush's Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National
Guard has become an issue in the presidential campaign
as the candidates spar over who would make the best
commander in chief. Supporters of Democratic nominee
John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, have
criticized Bush for serving stateside in the National
Guard. Kerry's Republican critics claim Kerry did not
deserve some of his five medals.

Bush has repeatedly said he is proud of his Air
National Guard service. White House spokesmen said as
late as last week the administration knew of no other
records of Bush's military service.

"These documents confirm that the president served
honorably in the National Guard," White House
spokeswoman Claire Buchan said Tuesday night.

Democratic National Committee communications
director Jano Cabrera disagreed. "For months George
Bush told the nation that all his military records
were public," he said. "Now we know why Bush was
trying so hard to withhold these records. When his
nation asked him to be on call against possible
surprise attacks, Bush wasn't there."

The newly released records show Bush, a lieutenant
in the Texas Air National Guard, ranked No. 22 in a
class of 53 pilots when he finished his flight
training at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia in 1969.

Over the next three years, he logged 326.4 hours as
a pilot and an additional 9.9 hours as a co-pilot,
mostly in his the F-102A jet used to intercept enemy
aircraft. Of the 278 hours he flew in the interceptor,
about 77 hours were in the TF-102A, the two-seat
trainer version of the one-seat fighter jet.

The records show his last flight was in April 1972,
which is consistent with pay records indicating Bush
had a large lapse of duty between April and October of
that year. Bush has said he went to Alabama in 1972 to
work on an unsuccessful Republican Senate campaign.
Bush skipped a required medical exam that cost him his
pilot's status in August of that year.

Bush's 2000 campaign suggested the future president
skipped his medical exam in part because the F-102A
was nearly obsolete. Records show Bush's Texas unit
flew the F-102A until 1974 and used the jets as part
of an air defense drill during 1972.

A six-month historical record of his 147th Fighter
Interceptor Group, also turned over to the AP on
Tuesday, shows some of the training Bush missed with
his colleagues during that time.

Significantly, it showed the unit joined a "24-hour
active alert mission to safeguard against surprise
attack" in the southern United State beginning on Oct.
6, 1972, a time when Bush did not report for duty,
according to his pay records.

Bush's lone service in October was outside Texas,
presumably with an Alabama unit he had permission to
train with in September, October and November 1972.

As part of the mission, the 147th kept two F-102a
jets -- the same Bush flew before he was grounded --
on ready alert to be launched within five minutes'
warning.

The records also show Bush made a grade of 88 on
total airmanship and a perfect 100 for flying without
navigational instruments, operating a T-38 System and
studying applied aerodynamics. Other scores ranged
from 89 in flight planning to 98 in aviation
physiology.

The newly released records do not include any from
five categories of documents Bush's commanders had
been required to keep in response to the gaps in
Bush's training in 1972 and 1973. For example,
National Guard commanders were required to perform an
investigation whenever any pilot skipped a medical
exam and forward the results up the Air Force chain of
command. No such documents have surfaced.

-------


http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/08/opinion/08kristof.html?pagewanted=print&position=

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

September 8, 2004
OP-ED COLUMNIST
Missing in Action
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

resident Bush claims that in the fall of 1972, he
fulfilled his Air National Guard duties at a base in
Alabama. But Bob Mintz was there - and he is sure Mr.
Bush wasn't.

Plenty of other officers have said they also don't
recall that Mr. Bush ever showed up for drills at the
base. What's different about Mr. Mintz is that he
remembers actively looking for Mr. Bush and never
finding him.

Mr. Mintz says he had heard that Mr. Bush - described
as a young Texas pilot with political influence - had
transferred to the base. He heard that Mr. Bush was
also a bachelor, so he was looking forward to partying
together. He's confident that he'd remember if Mr.
Bush had shown up.

"I'm sure I would have seen him," Mr. Mintz said
yesterday. "It's a small unit, and you couldn't go in
or out without being seen. It was too close a space."
There were only 25 to 30 pilots there, and Mr. Bush -
a U.N. ambassador's son who had dated Tricia Nixon -
would have been particularly memorable.

I've steered clear until now of how Mr. Bush evaded
service in Vietnam because I thought other issues were
more important. But if Bush supporters attack John
Kerry for his conduct after he volunteered for
dangerous duty in Vietnam, it's only fair to
scrutinize Mr. Bush's behavior.

It's not a pretty sight. Mr. Bush was saved from
active duty, and perhaps Vietnam, only after the
speaker of the Texas House intervened for him because
of his family's influence.

Mr. Bush signed up in May 1968 for a six-year
commitment, justifying the $1 million investment in
training him as a pilot. But after less than two
years, Mr. Bush abruptly stopped flying, didn't show
up for his physical and asked to transfer to Alabama.
He never again flew a military plane.

Mr. Bush insists that after moving to Alabama in 1972,
he served out his obligation at Dannelly Air National
Guard Base in Montgomery (although he says he doesn't
remember what he did there). The only officer there
who recalls Mr. Bush was produced by the White House -
he remembers Mr. Bush vividly, but at times when even
Mr. Bush acknowledges he wasn't there.

In contrast, Mr. Mintz is a compelling witness.
Describing himself as "a very strong military man," he
served in the military from 1959 to 1984. A commercial
pilot, he is now a Democrat but was a Republican for
most of his life, and he is not a Bush-hater. When I
asked him whether the National Guard controversy
raises questions about Mr. Bush's credibility, Mr.
Mintz said only, "That's up to the American people to
decide."

In his first interview with a national news
organization, Mr. Mintz recalled why he remembered Mr.
Bush as a no-show: "Young bachelors were kind of
sparse. For that reason, I was looking for someone to
haul around with." Why speak out now? He said, "After
a lot of soul-searching, I just feel it's my duty to
stand up and do the right thing."

Another particularly credible witness is Leonard
Walls, a retired Air Force colonel who was then a
full-time pilot instructor at the base. "I was there
pretty much every day," he said, adding: "I never saw
him, and I was there continually from July 1972 to
July 1974." Mr. Walls, who describes himself as
nonpolitical, added, "If he had been there more than
once, I would have seen him."

The sheer volume of missing documents, and missing
recollections, strongly suggests to me that Mr. Bush
blew off his Guard obligations. It's not fair to say
Mr. Bush deserted. My sense is that he (like some
others at the time) neglected his National Guard
obligations, did the bare minimum to avoid serious
trouble and was finally let off by commanders who
considered him a headache but felt it wasn't worth the
hassle to punish him.

"The record clearly and convincingly proves he did not
fulfill the obligations he incurred when he enlisted
in the Air National Guard," writes Gerald Lechliter, a
retired Army colonel who has made the most meticulous
examination I've seen of Mr. Bush's records (I've
posted the full 32-page analysis here). Mr. Lechliter
adds that Mr. Bush received unauthorized or fraudulent
payments that breached National Guard rules, according
to the documents that the White House itself released.

Does this disqualify Mr. Bush from being commander in
chief? No. But it should disqualify the Bush campaign
from sliming the military service of a rival who still
carries shrapnel from Vietnam in his thigh.


E-mail: nicholas@nytimes.com

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Posted by richard at September 8, 2004 02:31 PM