April 23, 2004

Bush Military Records/Service

In the late 1960s, George W. Bush signed up for the "champagne unit" of the Texas Air National Guard for a six-year stint as a jet fighter pilot. He served only four years as a jet fighter pilot, and then... well, we still don't know what exactly he did afterwards between when he stopped being a jet fighter pilot and when he was discharged from the Texas Air National Guard. We don't know because Bush isn't talking, and because the records that would tell us have been either lost or destroyed.

It seems to me that the press should try to get George W. Bush to tell us why he stopped flying fighter jets two years before his commitment to do so came to an end. Michael Froomkin and Kevin Drum agree:

Discourse.net: Why Did the Media Suddenly Drop the Bush Military Records Issue? No One Knows.: Long ago I asked why on earth no one seemed to care any more about the missing Bush Military records. Now comes CJR Campaign Desk: Spin Buster to ask that question again.

Campaign Desk has been curious for a while now about what happened to the story of President Bush’s Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard. After the White House’s February 13 Friday night data dump of all assembled records, there was little press follow-up. We never read anything that sorted through the details of the over 300 documents released to figure out what, exactly, happened back then; all we ever got was a few pieces noting that little of the information was new, and listing still-unanswered questions.

Why, exactly, did the media drop the matter?

Campaign Desk thinks it has part of the answer,

In part, no doubt, it’s because some of the details seem to come down to personal memories. But that doesn’t strike us as an excuse for throwing in the towel and failing to clarify a controversial story that the press had resuscitated itself (largely courtesy of Bush’s “Meet the Press” interview on February 8).

In other words, Campaign Desk is mystified.

I’m not mystified. Stupefied. Incredulous. But not mystified. See, there’s no Democrat banging the gong on this (and if there were s/he’d be attacked by the press for being shrill). And the press is just not up to doing the hard work itself. Haven’t been since they became ‘professionals’ instead of working stiffs.

Plus, who’s got the story for the agenda-setting New York Times? Why none other than Katherine Seeyle.


And Kevin Drum writes:

The Washington Monthly: BUSH vs. KERRY....I have been goaded into writing another post about George Bush's National Guard service. Via email, LT Smash objects to my post this morning, saying my arguments "ring just a bit hollow" given my obsession with GWB's service record earlier this year. Meanwhile, Bryan Keefer at The Campaign Desk wonders why no one is writing about the National Guard story anymore. "Why, exactly, did the media drop the matter?" he asks.

Addressing these questions is an ugly job, I suppose, but someone has to do it. Conveniently, though, I can address them both in a single post.

First, John Kerry. He volunteered for duty in Vietnam; he won a Bronze Star, a Silver Star, and three Purple Hearts; he displayed conspicuous bravery under fire; he served his country honorably in combat; and he left the Navy when his term of enlistment was up.

Is there any reason to suspect any problem with his service record? No. Absolutely none, and he's busily releasing his military records on his website to prove it.

But how about George Bush? Is it fair to suspect problems with his service record just because there are gaps in his military file? In a word, yes, and not because of gaps in his files. We have his files, and it's those very files that raise questions. Let's review:

That's a considerable amount of documentary evidence to arouse legitimate suspicion about Bush's record. But there's more: the "complete release" of documents from the White House in February seemed to be missing some records.

Where was his final Officer Efficiency Report? His pay stubs? The Flight Inquiry Board report after he was grounded for missing his physical? Even Albert Lloyd, who helped the Bush campaign make sense of his records during the 2000 election, expressed suspicion about the lack of original documentation in the file, which would have placed Bush's whereabouts with more precision.

So: suspicion about Bush's service record really is legitimate because there's plenty of good reason to be suspicious about it. That's what makes Bush's case different from Kerry's.

At the same time, suspicion is all there is, and that's why the press corps (and I) eventually dropped the story. There's no smoking gun, and without that there just isn't much further to take things. There's no firm proof of anything aside from missing some drills during 1972, and reporters can't just keep writing stories raising the same lingering questions over and over.

It's possible that some investigative reporter somewhere is continuing to work on this story. But if not, there's nothing new to report. For now, that's where things stand.

Posted by DeLong at April 23, 2004 02:23 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

What's an "investigative reporter"?

Posted by: Hal on April 23, 2004 02:47 PM

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Bush, of course, did not release all of his records. The surest, and only way, of doing so would be for Bush to sign a release authorizing both the DOD and the Texas National Guard to release any and all military records on file to a third party. He has never done so. He is a liar, plain and simple.

A real reporter would have prepared such a release, stood up at the last press conference and said "Mr. President would you sign this release?" If Russert wasn't a Republican tool, he would have slid one across the table.

Posted by: solar on April 23, 2004 03:02 PM

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Your article here is OBE (that's Overcome By Events). The full records have been released by the President of the United States.

Where are the full records of the Junior Senator from Massachusets? Even now they remain -redacted-.

Your blog is about what I expected it to be.

But hey, we still have fresh hot tar, feathers, and a rail waiting for you at the Bar.

Sincerely

Mr. Graves

Posted by: Rodney G. Graves on April 23, 2004 04:31 PM

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CNN just did a piece the other day about Kerry dragging his feet on releasing his military records and they actually had the nerve/ignorance to say that Bush just went ahead and released *all his records*, as if to say why couldn't Kerry match Bush's high standard. This kind of crap is enough to make you mad.

Posted by: Dubblblind on April 23, 2004 04:39 PM

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Rodney G. Graves, Perhaps next time you manage to turn on your computer, you will be able to get to Free Republic, where this kind of moronic comment is normal and acceptable.

Posted by: masaccio on April 23, 2004 04:42 PM

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I think it worthy that this story, both Bush's shady military service and the contrast with Kerry's exemplary service, keeps on surfacing. It should help redefine the "War President" not as a brave and savvy commander-and-chief but as a fool who rushed us head long into a costly, (both monetarily and in terms of human life and suffering), protracted and ill conceived war.

Posted by: Dubblblind on April 23, 2004 04:52 PM

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"He served only four years as a jet fighter pilot, and then... well, we still don't know what exactly he did afterwards between when he stopped being a jet fighter pilot and when he was discharged from the Texas Air National Guard."

As Duke Ellington put it, "You Got It Bad, And That Ain't Good"

Anyone paying attention knows where Bush was, in Alabama working on Winton Blount's Senate campaign (it's mentioned on Bush's May 1972 fitness report), and on some week-ends serving in the National Guard. Three people from the Alabama base have confirmed his presence on the air base.

And Kevin Drum has simply got the facts wrong about Kerry. He did NOT serve his full term, he requested an early out to run for congress. It was granted in January 1970.

Very odd that, coming as it did when we were still heavily engaged in the war. Not like in 1972 when Nixon's Vietnamization had provided a glut of pilots all competing for scarce cockpit resources (as a former F-4 pilot named Lawrence has testified on this blog).

There is no more mystery why Bush gave up flying in 1972 than there is for his father not flying after August 1945. He wasn't needed. Kerry's curious bio with a gap in his naval career for the years 1970-72, is another matter completely.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 23, 2004 05:22 PM

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I think that this "who's release is more complete" is a totally bogus issue. The contrast between the two is obvious, and not flattering to Bush.

But... isn't it true that even Bush's release really isn't of all the records but all that were available, or all that they had, or whatever? Aren't there still odd unexplained gaps?

And what of significance has Kerry withheld? His medical records? What scandal could there be in that?

Those are not completely rhetorical questons. If some one has a list, it might be interesting.

This nitpicking plays into the Bush peoples' hands. You take a pretty slimy record like Bush's and nitpick around about who had full complete 100% disclosure of every scrap. The overall picture is very clear.

Posted by: jml on April 23, 2004 05:25 PM

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An example of an investigative reporter is Bob Woodward 30 years ago before he got rich and famous.

Posted by: Brian Boru on April 23, 2004 05:38 PM

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The Republican attack machine believes that flooding the zone will win. If there are equal amounts of noise on both sides, the swing voters will figure it's a wash. No lie or stupidity is too much for them -- two examples are here on this blog (Hi, Patrick my friend, you lying idiot!) Whatever their reasons are for supporting Bush, they cannot be deduced from their defenses of Bush, which are just the worst diversionary kitchen-sink crap.

And then the media is venal, shallow, and spineless.

This IS Bush's political weak spot -- he can't just break even on security / military / personal character issue. He reall has nothing else to sell. Which means that he has nothing at all to sell, since his personal character and military results are both poor.

The notion that "Republicans are strong on defense and Democrats are weak" is an a priori metaphysical truth to a lot of conventional authoritarian-personality types. Try to tell them that Bish doesn't look at all strong, and they'll just say "Well, he's a Republican, and I trust the republicans more than the Democrats on defense".

Bush also gets points for effort -- "We're worse off than before, OK, but at least he's willing to kill people and blow shit up".


Posted by: Zizka on April 23, 2004 05:47 PM

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Er, Patrick. Two of those "three people who confirmed his presence on the Alabama Guard base while he was working on Blount's campaign" have confessed that they thought so ONLY because he told them so (including his girlfriend at the time). The third, who kept saying he saw Bush there repeatedly during the summer of 1972, has now been exposed as a liar after the records released by the White House itself declared that he wasn't there at all until september. Scott McClellan, asked about the discrepancy, said he "couldn't explain it." I can. (See the Washington Post for details.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 23, 2004 07:51 PM

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Non-issue!!

This has nothing to do with balancing the budget $1.5 trillion in deficit spending, millions of jobs lost and spending increases from $1.8 to $2.4 trillion.

This has nothing to do with competency in fighting terrorism or the quagmire that is Iraq. The press is correct to leave this dung heap. If only they would focus on real issues and not the latest Kerry bashing from the Bush hate, smear and attack machine.

Posted by: bakho on April 23, 2004 08:08 PM

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Graves is talking rot unless, and until, I get to see a PDF of Bush's DD-214.

I saw Kerry's.

Bush's DD-214, if released, would end all the arguments, once and for all, in sixty seconds.

Posted by: Otis Noman on April 23, 2004 08:39 PM

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Another mystery the press seems less than interested in:

A New Decade of Greed

Posted by: steve on April 23, 2004 11:30 PM

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I don't believe I've ever been to the Free Republic site.

Strike One!

I run a series of networks. By and large I don't shut down my computers.

Stike Two!

Kerry's exemplary service... That's no doubt why his web site has padded his service recrod with after action reports from the officer Kerry relieved (who was in hosptital recovering from wounds at the time).

Strike Three!

But wait, they demand a fourth! How many Veterans (of any conflict in our history) "earned" three pruple hearts and never missed a day of duty due to hospitalization? One.

Srike Four!

And, unlike the "host" of this blog, I have never worked on a political compaign, nor worked in any position for any political party, nor served as a political apointee. Nor do I now.

I do call them as I see them, and Brad doesn't get them over the plate.

Toodles, Brad.

Sincerely

Mr. Graves

Posted by: Rodney_G_Graves on April 24, 2004 12:46 AM

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Why oh why can't people be balanced and truthful? Bush served in the National Guard and elected not to volunteer for Vietnam. Are we saying then that serving in the National Guard isn't honorable? Tell that to all the service men and women who served in the NG and see what they have to say about it.

And Kerry's exemplary service record? The three purple hearts? According to his CO, they were all three from injuries resembling fingernail scratches. The first one he received, he demanded that he receive a purple heart for the wound, since technically he was injured. His CO stated that if he wanted to pursue it he could. And he did. His other two purple hearts were for similar injuries - minor flesh wounds. And significantly enough after three purple hearts, you can request to be relieved from service and sent home. Which is exactly what Kerry did.

So, do we really want to discuss service records? Do those really matter when we're talking about the economy, environment, healthcare, and national security?

Well, the economy is obviously up - over 250,000 jobs created last month. GDP is up. The stock market is up. Unemployment is down. Those are all good signs. And before you start ranting about the 2.5 million jobs lost under Bush's administration, be honest and remember that he inherited a failing economy from Clinton. So, those 2.5 million lost jobs cannot be attritbuted to Bush. However, the 250,000 new jobs can be at 3.5 years into his administration. That shows he's taken a failing economy and turned it around. Bush has done an excellent job in this area.

National security has improved. This will probably be an ongoing battle. Bush has done an excellent job in this area.

On heath care - it's good for some, bad for others. I'm all for health care for all, but not at the cost of a health care system that ends up like Canada or the UK where you end up on a waiting list for two years for critical surgery. Bush has made some strides in this area, but hasn't been stellar.

On the environment - we're improving in some areas and getting worse in others. We've yet to have a president who's made this a priority. Bush has made some strides, but hasn't been phenominal in that area.

Truth be told, do we really think Kerry has shown that he'll do any better in any of these areas? He's a lot of talk, but hasn't proven that he would do any better or that he can even match what Bush has been able to do for that matter.

Let's be honest, there's no perfect president. But like him or not, Bush has done a pretty good job playing that hand he's been dealt.

Posted by: Todd Warfel on April 24, 2004 06:39 AM

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All right wingers hate Vietnam vets and all right wing cowards libel Vietnam Vets.

Posted by: Elaine Supkis on April 24, 2004 06:40 AM

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Bakho, I usually agree with you on issues, but you're a real bonehead on politics. Bush is running on character and military competence. He gets lots of votes that way. He's a fraud in those areas, and if we could get that across to the general public, it would hurt him. If your intuitions were correct, Dukakis would have been elected.

This MAY be a non-issue, but if it is it's because the media have given Bush a pass.

Posted by: Zizka on April 24, 2004 07:00 AM

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Todd, you're the liar. Don't be calling others liars if you expect to be treated with respect.

"Why oh why can't people be balanced and truthful?" If you're going to use nasty language like that, Todd, you can just go fuck yourself.

My Vietnam-era friends who joined the National Guard knew they were trying to avoid Vietnam service. The Guard of today is completely different.

Kerry volunteered for Vietnam, served in combat, and was decorated. Bush did not volunteer, did not see combatgo, was not decorated, and got the normal honorable discharge that the average soldier gets. That's the story, which you tried to obscure. Bush portrayed himself as a hot-shot pilot on the carrier, which is why this became and issue -- he's a fake.

Over the course of Bush's time in office, we've had the worst net job loss since Hoover. He's had one or two good months out of 39. You misrepresented again. Your blame-Clinton trick is pretty transparent. There's nothing to praise about Bush's performance or results.

Bush's environmental record is as bad as we've seen since the environment became an issue in the early seventies. You tried to confuse the issue.

You're not ready for the big time, Todd. Your whole thing was just regurgitated Republican talking points -- all you added was the disgustingly pious opening line.

Posted by: Zizka on April 24, 2004 07:32 AM

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I've been asked to pass this (from a retired ANG officer) along to the usual suspects:

-----------quote-------------
I did my own research on Kerry's released records - the boy has a problem....

John Kerry signed an agreement as part of his naval officer commission to serve at least 3 years on active duty and the remainder of his obligated 6 year service in the Ready Reserves. Ready Reserves are those who must attend drills.

This is the agreement he released with his military records:

http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/jkerry/offcandagr.pdf

You will note that Kerry obligated himself to at least 3 years active duty, and the remainder of a 6 year obligation in the READY (not Standby) Reserves.

He further agreed that while in the READY Reserves (from discharge to 1972) he would perform no less than 48 drills per year and up to 17 active duty days per year, or alternatively 30 active duty days per year.

None of the released records shows any record of his performing these Ready Reserve obligated days in 1970, 71, 72, after which he was transferred to the Inactive Reserves. (This is as of 22 April - he may have released more since then). The only Performance of Duty form released covers 1966. There should be one for every year.

Nor is there any excusal from drilling status in his records, or alternatively, pay and attendance records indicating that he performed any drills in 1970-72 as required of a Ready Reservist.

[snip]

The Kerry campaign has said that his separation from active duty put him in the inactive, non-drilling Naval Reserve so he could run for Congress. This is NOT true, as follows:

This following website record shows his transfer from the Ready Reserves to the Standby (Inactive) reserves did not occur until March 1972, NOT upon his release from Active Duty to run for Congress (1969/70).

http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/jkerry/trnsfr2stndyrsrv.pdf

[snip]

Contrary to what Kerry's minions say, the wording on his Release from Active Duty (to run for Congress) does NOT put him in the INACTIVE RESERVES - it puts him in Inactive Duty status, which includes Ready Reserves with attendant drill obligation. BIG difference - and the confusion is understandable. The legal specifics are Title 10 duty (Active Duty) Green Card) vs.. Title 32 duty (Inactive Duty) Red Card).

Had he been placed in the INACTIVE RESERVES in 1970 upon his release from AD, as Kerry's people suggest, there would not have been the 1972 Transfer to the Standby Reserves form that I show above - he would have already been there.

Also, if the timing of these records is correct, as a drilling Ready Reserve naval officer, in 1970-72 he was somewhat restricted by military regulations in what comments he could make in public regarding statements on the military leadership and the National Command Authority. Yet this is the period of his most public protests and anti-war demonstrations. In fact, his hairdo in the 1970-72 period would not meet Navy standards, and he would be sent home from drill if he had ever attended one.

-----------endquote--------

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 24, 2004 07:49 AM

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" Er, Patrick. Two of those "three people who confirmed his presence on the Alabama Guard base while he was working on Blount's campaign" have confessed that they thought so ONLY because he told them so (including his girlfriend at the time). "

As usual, Bruce is factually wrong. I'm talking about three Alabama ANG personnel who SAW HIM on the base. Two officers and an enlisted man. None of them Bush's girlfriend. I've provided you with this information several times on SDJ. Facts are stubborn things, though not, apparently, as stubborn as the usual suspects determination to bury their heads in the sand.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 24, 2004 07:52 AM

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Why all the fuss about these two guys respective military records? Don't they both wear their record on their chest?

Posted by: bncthor on April 24, 2004 10:29 AM

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Facts are stubborn things, but fanatics are more stubborn still.

The weirdness of this whole attack on Kerry is the monkey-see-monkey-do aspect of it. People questioned Bush's military service, so the bots have to do exactly the same thing and question Kerry's military service. The actual unquestioned facts are clear -- abbreviated, minimally satisfactory service in a noncombat NG unit for Bush versus abbreviated, twice-decorated combat service for Kerry. Bush may or not be vulnerable to challenge, but there's no real reason to say that Kerry is and even at best, Bush's service was minimal.

It sound imbecilic for Republicans to make noise about this issue, but they still do. In the case of individual bots such as Patrick, imbecility or mania cannot be ruled out, but the overall strategy is NOT loony because the Republicans are targetting whim voters who aren't really paying attention. "Yeah, I've heard that both of them have something fishy about their military records, but that's not really very important in the big picture". A lot of people think that they're smart enough to sniff out the truth by horse-sense, hunches, vibes, and intuition without getting bogged down in irrelevant detail, and Bush explicitly addresses those people, who end up being played for suckers.

The increased troll activity is a sign of Republican desperation on this issue -- character, macho -- in which they need tyo have an enormous advantage. It's not something like the environment where they just want to whittle down Kerry's advantage.

Patrick is as remorseless and relentless as a night-of-the-living-dead zombie and needs no stimulus, and I really doubt that the hapless, inept Todd Warfel would have showed up to make a fool of himself if there wasn't some kind of desperate organized response at work.

Posted by: Zizka on April 24, 2004 10:33 AM

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Great self-awareness, as usual, ziska. This thread is titled: "Bush Military Record/Service". And it seems a coordinated attack, yet there is NOTHING NEW at all in it. Errors already shown to be so are repeated.

What's going on? Just a coincidence that the renewed charges come as Kerry has finally released HIS records, and there is an embarrassing two year gap in it? Kerry is the guy who wanted to make comparative military service THE issue of the campaign: "Bring it on", quickly became, "Why does the GOP challenge my patriotism?"

My memory of the period was that officers usually had six year obligations. With the most common service being 4 years active duty followed by two years active reserve (aka, Week-end Warriot duty). I've never heard of anyone who had a three year active duty, two year complete absence, six year inactive or standby obligation.

Kerry's contract clearly calls for him to put in six years, and to be performing 48 drills per year while on active reserve:

http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/jkerry/offcandagr.pdf

And that's not what happened. There may be some innocent explanation, but you guys are total hypocrites for not wanting to know.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 24, 2004 11:01 AM

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Patrick,

I am shocked to find ill-informed factually challenged partisan activity occuring on J. Bradford DeLong's site! Shocked I tell you!

Brad and I have locked horns before, and he beat a hasty retreat. I thougtht I'd come see what he was like on his own (un-moderated) site when I found a link to it whilst blogging about.

I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to find the same old lies and a group of sycophants to proclaim his righteousness.

/sarcoff

I am glad to see that someone is going to the effort to keep the facts in evidence. Keep up the good work.

V/R
Rod

Posted by: Rodney_G_Graves on April 24, 2004 11:46 AM

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What the hell happened around here? The trolls are rabid!

Posted by: heet on April 24, 2004 02:09 PM

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Dogs that won't hunt: Kerry's first purple heart was for a scratch. Fact: The docs took out a piece of shrapnel. They left a piece in from one of the others. He still has it.

Posted by: Eli Rabett on April 24, 2004 07:27 PM

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I'm rechecking the Washington Post story, to see whether it actually says what I thought it did. (Incidentally, was one of those three men who supposedly "actually saw [Bush] on the base" the one who's been exposed as lying through his teeth?)

Meanwhile, it appears that I'm going to have to put Phil Carter's appraisal of the situation on this thread, even at the risk of having Patrick whine that I'm "trying to bury the issue in irrelevant words." (Actually, as always, I'm trying to expose it with relevant ones, which Patrick apparently has trouble reading.)

http://philcarter.blogspot.com/2004_04_01_philcarter_archive.html#108264741967201111 :

"At the risk of being labeled a partisan hack, I decided to compare the evaluation reports from the military records of President George Bush and Sen. John Kerry. Bottom line up front: I found significant differences between the character of the two sets of documents. I feel somewhat qualified to judge these reports, having been a junior military officer subject to similar evaluation schemes. While it's true that these senior officer observations are more than 30 years old, I believe they reveal important details of these men's character, at a time when these men were asked to lead by example and perform our nation's most sacred duty. Therefore, I think it's relevant to today's debate, and I am glad to see the Kerry campaign releasing these records for comparison to those of the president.

"The New York Times reports this morning on the contents of Sen. Kerry's military records, which his campaign has put online. The general theme of these records is that young Sen. Kerry was an outstanding officer, even taking into account the glowing language that's typical of officer evaluation reports. Here is are a couple of illustrative excerpts from his fitness reports:

"From his evaluation as an Ensign on the USS Gridley:

" 'A top notch officer in every measurable trait. Intelligent, mature and rich in educational background and experience, ENS KERRY is one of the finest young officers I have ever met and without question one of the most promising. ... He is an alert and active original thinker with great potential to the Navy. He eagerly accepts and actively seeks out tasks of greater responsibility. He is recommended for accelerated promotion.'

"Comment: There are a couple of things that leap out from this text. First, ENS Kerry was a good officer, and that's clear from this language which goes beyond the praise used in all such reports. Second, he chafed a little bit at the Navy bureaucracy and culture. The comment about his educational background indicates that he was different than his peers. The comment about being an 'active original thinker' who 'eagerly... seeks out tasks' indicates that he took a lot of initiative, and probably did some edgy things as a young officer. I think that's the mark of a good junior officer, because you're supposed to take risks on behalf of your troops at that age. And a final note about Ensign Kerry's pedigree. Officers in the military generally don't have his background, then or now. It says something that he wasn't ostracized or singled out as effete or aristocratic because of his upscale background. These reports show that for the most part, he was one of the guys.

"From a second FITREP on the USS Gridley:

" 'His enthusiasm for the navy and his work is contagious, and his men are ardent supporters of him. His division's morale is one of the best on the ship due to his dynamic leadership. He is a polished diplomat at ease in distinguished company and shows great promise for future assignment as an aide or on a foreign diplomatic post.'

"Comment: Again, we see the indication that he's somehow different than his peers -- more educated, more refined, more diplomatic. The Navy has always been the most genteel service, and it has always had a mini-diplomatic corps within its ranks, so it's not surprising to see those lines on this FITREP. However, the first part of this comment is striking. There are lots of things you can praise about an officer -- technical competence, physical ability, tactical genius, intelligence, etc. To praise his leadership, and to cite his troops' morale in support of that praise, is one of the greatest compliments you can give an officer.

"From two FITREPs for LTJG Kerry while assigned to Coastal Division Eleven:

" 'In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action LTJG Kerry was unsurpassed. ... LTJG Kerry emerges as the acknowledged leader in his peer group.'

* * *
" 'LTJG KERRY was assigned to this division for only a short time but during that time exhibited all of the traits desired of an officer in a combat environment. He frequently exhibited a high sense of imagination and judgement (sic) in planning operations against the enemy in the Mekong Delta. ...'

"Comment: There is more in here about his specific combat exploits, but these two quotes bookend those comments and make the most general observations about LTJG Kerry's character. Again, we see an indication of his leadership ability, which his commanders felt was far above average in comparison to his peers. We also see comment on his performance in combat, which is qualitatively different than performance in peacetime or on a ship that doesn't see direct-fire combat. And again, we get the sense that he chafed against his bosses, based on the comment about 'imagination'.

"From a FITREP for services as an aide to an admiral:

" 'LTJG Kerry is one of the finest young officers with whom I have served in a long naval career. His combat record prior to becoming my personal aide speaks for itself and is testimony to his competence and courage at sea. As my personal aide he could not have been more effective. ... This young man is detached at his own request to run for high public office: to wit, the Congress of the United States. The detachment of this officer will be a definite loss to the service. He is the dedicated type that we should retain, and it is hoped that he will be of further, perhaps greater, service to his country, which is his aim in life at this time.'

"Comment: You can expect a certain amount of praise from an admiral for his aide, but again, such praise would normally be for things like his efficacy, efficiency, and so forth. This is high praise indeed for an officer on his way out the door, and it says a lot that a senior naval officer would be so effusive. Sen. Kerry appears to be the type of young officer the military desperately needed to retain after Vietnam.

"In contrast, President Bush's released military record does not contain the detailed evaluation reports found on Sen. Kerry's website. (I looked on the president's campaign website but could not find a more complete repository of military records.) I think this is due to poor recordkeeping by the TX Air National Guard, AS WELL AS A DESIRE TO NOT RELEASE THESE DOCUMENTS. [Italics mine -- Moomaw.] In addition, then-LT Bush was a pilot, not a leader of airmen, so his evaluation reports are likely to be more sparse anyway. Nonetheless, I think Pres. Bush's records deserve to be compared side-by-side to those of young Sen. Kerry. The Washington Post provides these excerpts from Pres. Bush's evaluations:

"A 1971 evaluation described Bush as 'an exceptionally fine young officer' with 'sound judgment' who 'is mature beyond his age and experience level.' Bush 'is a natural leader but he is also a good follower of military discipline,' it said. A 1970 letter recommending him for a promotion from second to first lieutenant called him 'a dynamic outstanding young officer' who 'clearly stands out as a top notch fighter interceptor pilot.' Bush, it said, 'is a tenacious competitor and an aggressive pilot.'

"Comment: Like Sen. Kerry's evaluation reports, this one is actually pretty good. It's doesn't contain the same detail or concrete indicators of performance. But I think much of that owes to the difference in their types of service. PRES. BUSH WAS ONLY BEING EVALUATED FOR ONE WEEKEND A MONTH AND TWO WEEKS IN THE SUMMER -- THERE JUST WSN'T THAT MUCH TO OBSERVE. [Italics mine again -- Moomaw.] Moreover, Pres. Bush's assignment was to fly and perform limited additional duties, not to lead sailors in a division or swift boat unit. Thus, there were no unit actions for him to be accountable for. (Military leaders are always evaluated on the accomplishments -- good or bad -- of the troops they lead.)

"An article at FreeRepublic.Com also provides an excerpt from a press release touting Pres. Bush's flying ability:

" 'The younger Bush fulfilled two years of active duty and completed pilot training in June 1970. During that time and in the two years that followed, Bush flew the F-102, an interceptor jet equipped with heat-seeking missiles that could shoot down enemy planes. His commanding officers and peers regarded Bush as a competent pilot and enthusiastic Guard member. In March 1970, the Texas Air National Guard issued a press release trumpeting his performance: 'Lt. Bush recently became the first Houston pilot to be trained by the 147th [Fighter Group] and to solo in the F-102... Lt. Bush said his father was just as excited and enthusiastic about his solo flight as he was.' In Bush's evaluation for the period May 1, 1971 through April 30, 1972, then-Colonel Bobby Hodges, his commanding officer, stated, 'I have personally observed his participation, and without exception, his performance has been noteworthy.'

"Comment: This praise is a little fainter, although it's still there. Of course, press releases have little value as evaluative documents, but it does say something that the TX Air National Guard would choose to showcase this officer instead of his peers.

"Analysis: In summary, the evaluations of John Kerry clearly stand over those of George Bush. However, I think much of the disparity owes to the difference between the two men's military service. Had Pres. Bush served more time on active duty, or in combat, we would have a more complete record on which to judge his service as a junior military officer. A lot of people don't think this service matters, but I do. It reveals important details of these individual's character at an important moment in their lives. And as I wrote in the Chicago Tribune, it matters for other reasons too:

" 'President Bush's 30-year-old service record from the Air National Guard is relevant because it shows us something about his willingness to share the same hardships as the soldiers he now commands today from the White House. The issue has never been whether he was guilty of desertion or being AWOL--two slanderous charges leveled without regard for the facts. The real issue has always been the character of his service, and whether it was good enough to set the example for America's 1.4 million citizens in uniform.'

* * *
" '... these issues boil down to the president's willingness and ability to set the example for the military he now leads as commander in chief. Cumulatively, questions about then-Lt. Bush's drill attendance, evaluation reports, flight status and early discharge add up to questions about the character of his service in the National Guard. Bush did receive an honorable discharge, but such a document is the lowest common denominator of military performance--it takes a lot of bad behavior to earn anything other than an honorable discharge. The American public deserves to know the full truth about the president's military record. It's relevant to his character, and it's relevant to whether he's fit to lead today's military by example.

" 'The great thing about our system is that it lets you be the judge of these men when you vote in November. Every American will come to his or her own conclusion on this issue, and will decide which man is better fit to serve as America's commander-in-chief. For what it's worth, I still haven't made up my mind, and probably won't before November.'

"Update: Kevin Drum points us towards one key difference in the military records of each man, with respect to their desire for service overseas.

"For what it's worth, I think this reveals something quite striking about the sense of noblesse oblige within each man upon their graduation from Yale and entry into a life of privilege. Ironically, I see great parallels between the choice of young John Kerry and the choice of young George Herbert Walker Bush (aka Bush 41, the current president's father). Both men, with an eye on their future, made a choice to seek dangerous duty overseas in the service of their nation. I wish that more of America's elite graduating today would follow in these men's footsteps by serving their country in uniform, or in other ways such as the Foreign Service and Peace Corps. Service to country is a fundamental duty of citizenship, and it is one that I respect regardless of political affiliation."

Now to that difference noted by Kevin Drum and pointd to by Carter in his update ( http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2004_04/003747.php ):

"George Bush, fresh out of Yale, uses family connections to join the Air National Guard in order to avoid serving in Vietnam. After four years of a six-year term he decides to skip his annual physical, is grounded, and heads off to Alabama, where he blows off even the minimal annoyance of monthly drills for over six months.

"Conservative reaction: why are you impugning the patriotism of this brave man? He got an honorable discharge and that's as much as anyone needs to know.

"John Kerry, fresh out of Yale, enlists in the Navy and subsequently requests duty in Vietnam. While there, according to the Boston Globe, he wins a Purple Heart and then follows that up with more than two dozen missions in which he often faced enemy fire, a Silver Star for an action in which he killed an enemy soldier who carried a loaded rocket launcher that could have destroyed his six-man patrol boat, a Bronze Star for rescuing an Army lieutenant who was thrown overboard and under fire, and two more Purple Hearts.

"Conservative reaction: Hmmm, that first injury wasn't very serious. This is something that deserves careful and drawn-out investigation, and it would certainly be unfair to impugn 'craven or partisan motives' to those doing the impugning [to quote National Review].

"Are these guys a piece of work, or what?"

Two further notes:
(1) Carter initially called any accusation that Bush actually went AWOL "slanderous", but his unqualified approval since then of Drum's comments indicates that he may have changed his mind on that one. I'll contact him.

(2) Kerry did indeed bail out of service in Vietnam early to run for Congress -- a fact which his commanding officer seems not to have begrudged in the slightest because he thought Kerry was so excellent an officer that he would make an excellent governmental leader as well.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 25, 2004 04:08 AM

____

"This young man is detached at his own request to run for high public office: to wit, the Congress of the United States. The detachment of this officer will be a definite loss to the service. He is the dedicated type that we should retain, and it is hoped that he will be of further, perhaps greater, service to his country, which is his aim in life at this time.'"

"Detached at his own request"! Hey, you guys have been telling me Bush couldn't have blown off his commitments to the TANG on his own, but here is an Admiral saying that is exactly what Kerry did.

He missed two years of Ready Reserve duty, substituting for it treasonous meetings with Vietnamese communists in Paris--returning to testify before Congress to the admirable intentions of the communists, whose terms of surrender the U.S. should accept.

I wonder how that Admiral liked the uses to which Kerry put the "pulling of strings" that got him out of two years of his obligation.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 25, 2004 10:32 AM

____

"It seems to me that the press should try to get George W. Bush to tell us why he stopped flying fighter jets two years before his commitment to do so came to an end."

In fact they did, and Geo. W. Bush explained it to them; in 1972 the pilots returning from Vietnam created a glut of pilots competing for scarce cockpit hours. Several other TANG pilots have confirmed this, as has "Lawrence" a former F-4 pilot on this blog.

Now, "It seems to me that the press should try to get [John F. Kerry] to tell us why he stopped [participating in his contractual Ready Reserve drills] two years before his commitment to do so came to an end."

That'd be fair, wouldn't it?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 25, 2004 11:01 AM

____

" Comment: There are a couple of things that leap out from this text. First, ENS Kerry was a good officer, and that's clear from this language which goes beyond the praise used in all such reports."

This is laughably naive. U.S. Navy fitness reports are notorious for their insincerity. Bruce likes to get his history from novels, he should read what Herman Wouk said about them in his "The Caine Mutiny"

Btw, Kerry graduated 17th our of 33 officers in a training course in, "Damage Control". He was 7th out of 22 in "CIC Watch Officers", both in California prior to being assigned to the Gridley:

http://www.johnkerry.com/about/Fitness_Reports.pdf

And Kerry, according to Doug Brinkley, hated serving on the Gridley. He transferred to Swift Boats to escape being under the Captain's daily authority.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 25, 2004 11:27 AM

____

Zizka...

First off, I'm neither a Republican nor Democrat - I'm an independant. And I'm coming to the table with an unbiased and open outlook. I'm simply looking at all the facts on both sides for the next election rather than coming in with my decision already made due to some blind party affiliation.

You said "Kerry volunteered for Vietnam, served in combat, and was decorated."

Which I don't deny, nor obscure. Quite the contrary. I said that he received three purple hearts. However, when the whole truth of the story comes out, it's that Kerry was decorated for three wounds that "resembled a fingernail scratch". That's not coming from me, that's a direct quote from his superior office. And furthermore, that after three purple hearts, you can request to be relieved of service and sent home, which is exactly what he did. Not for a major wound, or loss of limb, but three very minor injuries.

I appreciate that Kerry served for our country, but his demanding purple hearts for that kind of injury then requesting to go home leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Furthermore, what does that have to do with the issues at had, as I asked before: economy, national security, health care, and the environment?

"Over the course of Bush's time in office, we've had the worst net job loss since Hoover."

Spin again. Yes, we've had the worst job loss, which you try to obscure by implying that it's due to the current administration, which is blind spin that the liberal left wants the public to believe. However, looking at the full story will tell you that that's simply not the case. Make your own decision, don't blindly listen to the far left or right.

If the liberal left were forthcoming, they would tell the full story - the economy was taking a dive three months before the current administration took office. Hence, they inherited it. The fact that the current administration was able to slow down the job loss, even after it took some time (911 didn't help much) and then turn it around in under three years considering all the circumstances is pretty impressive. Regardless of who's in office, that's quite a task.

"You're not ready for the big time, Todd..."

Oh quite the contrary. You seem a bit upset that I've brought a balanced truth to the story rather than let those like you spin it into their own little story of half truths.

Posted by: Todd Warfel on April 25, 2004 03:10 PM

____

Could Brad please put the posters name at the front of the comment? It would help. Otherwise I have to scan them backwards.
Thanks

Posted by: dilbert dogbert on April 25, 2004 03:14 PM

____

"I appreciate that Kerry served for our country, but his demanding purple hearts for that kind of injury then requesting to go home leaves a bad taste in my mouth." ---Todd Warfel---

"As Lt. Mike Kafka, a U.S. Navy spokesman, told us (Columbia Journalism Review) yesterday, in line with official U.S. Navy documentation, wounded combatants neither nominate nor award themselves Purple Hearts. The Purple Heart is awarded only after a commander determines that a soldier or sailor has incurred a wound inflicted by the enemy and forwards a recommendation to his superiors.

Again, as we noted yesterday, Navy regulations at the time specified that any trooper wounded three times be reassigned outside of Vietnam."

So much for your "balanced truth", hey Todd? That bad taste in your mouth must be from your own bullshit.

Posted by: Dubblblind on April 25, 2004 06:46 PM

____

Phil Carter: "Comment: There are a couple of things that leap out from this text. First, ENS Kerry was a good officer, and that's clear from this language which goes beyond the praise used in all such reports."

Sullivan: "This is laughably naive. U.S. Navy fitness reports are notorious for their insincerity. Bruce likes to get his history from novels, he should read what Herman Wouk said about them in his 'The Caine Mutiny'.".

Me: Well, then, why not stop gibbering at me and grill Carter himself, Pat? He DID spend several years as a military officer himself, you know -- which neither of us has. (Incidentally, anyone who actually quotes "The Caine Mutiny" for any sane information on the proper nature of military authority shows his desperation on the spot.)

I'd also like to see a few more details in that purple passage about "treasonous meetings with Vietnamese Communists", which does raise the little question of why he was never charged by anyone (including Nixon) with treason. The ghost of a certain Senator from Wisconsin seems to possess Patrick now and then. Particularly since Kerry had plenty of opportunities to act treasonously during his duty in Vietnam -- and, to put it mildly, didn't.

And, of course, if Kerry could "pull enough strings to blow off his commitments on his own", then Bush obviously could. Sauce for the goose...
___________________________

Sullivan: "Btw, Kerry graduated 17th our of 33 officers in a training course in, 'Damage Control'. He was 7th out of 22 in 'CIC Watch Officers', both in California prior to being assigned to the Gridley."

Me: Oooh, heavens to Betsy. Clearly that proves that his performance in Vietnam itself was dreadful, despite what all those appraisals by superior officers (and his own men) indicated. Kind of like concluding that Ulysses Grant couldn't possibly have been a good general because he showed no particular aptitude for it early in his career.

I really think that rereading that passage from Kevin Drum that I quoted above is appropriate at this point. Sullivan, as always, is grabbing frantically for anything he can get.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 26, 2004 04:45 AM

____

It's probably superfluous of me to note that Carter and Drum agree that Bush's released military records are MUCH less complete than Kerry's.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 26, 2004 05:13 AM

____

"Me: Well, then, why not stop gibbering at me and grill Carter himself, Pat?"

I don't even know who he is. You're the one quoting him, I'm trying to get you to enter into a discussion of material you have produced. As usual, a fruitless attempt.

" He DID spend several years as a military officer himself, you know -- which neither of us has. (Incidentally, anyone who actually quotes "The Caine Mutiny" for any sane information on the proper nature of military authority shows his desperation on the spot.)"

Well, Herman Wouk was a navy veteran of WWII, but, as I pointed out, it is Bruce Moomaw who is constantly quoting works of fiction to make points. I guess when the fiction doesn't support his fantasies, Bruce has higher standards of evidence. Nevertheless, it is well known that high praise in a navy fitness report is standard. All navy officers are like the children of Lake Woebegone. Even more so.

And, what about the missing two years of Kerry's career?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 26, 2004 06:56 AM

____

Sullivan: "I don't even know who he is. You're the one quoting him, I'm trying to get you to enter into a discussion of material you have produced. As usual, a fruitless attempt."

He's not really that hard to find, Patrick. (There is this thing called Google): http://philcarter.blogspot.com/

My "discussion" of him is limited to pointing out that (A) he was an Army officer for 4 years; (B) he's currently studying for a law degree; and (C) HE thinks there's nothing questionable about Kerry's record. So I repeat the obvious: if you think there's something peculiar about Kerry's service record, why not bring it up with him. He knows more about this than I do (or you).

As for "The Caine Mutiny": this, lest we forget, is the book which declares that it's immoral to mutiny against an officer even if he's clinically insane, because maintaining military order is more important. (To quote Dwight Macdonald, "This must be done or otherwise there wouldn't be a Navy. If there were many Captain Queegs there wouldn't be a Navy either, a fact Mr. Wouk oddly fails to mention.") A piece in "Harper's" about 15 years ago stated that it was conspicuously advertised in Hungary's book shops on the orders of the Communist government there for that reason: blind obedience to authority is ALWAYS a good thing.

As for that "missing two years of Kerry's record": we do have his honorable discharge from the reserve ( http://www.johnkerry.com/about/Honorable_Discharge_From_Reserve.pdf ):

"Feb. 16, 1978

"By direction of the president and pursuant to refernce (a), you are hereby honorably discharged from the U.S. Naval Rseserve effective this date.

"This action is taken in accordance with the approved recommendations of a board of officers convened under authority of reference (b), to examine the official records of officers of the Naval Reserve on inactive duty and determine whether they should be retained on the rolls of the Reserve Component...

"The Navy Department at this time expresses its appreciation of your past services and trusts that you will continue your interest in the naval service."

Not bad for an AWOL traitor. No doubt their failure to criticize him was due to the tremendous political clout of his father. (Incidentally, the Chicago Tribune this morning quotes his doctor as confirming that he still has a hunk of shrapnel in his thigh.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 26, 2004 07:25 AM

____

Ignoring Bruce's latest bizarre appeal to authority, and his digressions on the plot of the Caine Mutiny:

" As for that "missing two years of Kerry's record": we do have his honorable discharge from the reserve ...:

"Feb. 16, 1978
....

"Not bad for an AWOL traitor. "

Funny, when I was pointing out that Bush had an honorable discharge from the ANG, the usual suspects were very quick to point out that that was proof of nothing. Several mentioning that John Muhammed, of DC sniping fame, had one too. But, that aside, look at the date of his HD: 1978!

His enlistment contract called for him to have earned it in 1972 (after putting in two years of drills with the Ready Reserve). Now, speaking of sauce for the gander, this morning on GMA Kerry was trapped by Charlie Gibson in a lie about throwing his medals/ribbons away back in 1971--when he should have been subject to naval discipline as a Ready Reserve officer. Desperately looking for an out, he told Gibson:

"...this comes from a President and a Republican party that can't even answer whether or not he showed up for duty in the National Guard...."

And he repeated the charge a few minutes later: "a President who can't even show or prove that he showed up for duty in the National Guard."

Two blatant lies. Bush has provided the proof, in the form of pay records, and THREE Alabama ANG veterans--two officers and an enlisted man--who remember him on the base in 1972. (As I've pointed out to Bruce several times, and about which he is in deep denial.)

So, how about it, Bruce; can Kerry "show or prove" he met his contractual obligations to the military the way Geo. W. Bush has?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 26, 2004 08:01 AM

____

Well, Dubblblind, first of all, you seem to be having a problem staying on topic and reading what was written. Why don't you go back and read what I wrote.

Are you claiming that I said Kerry awarded himself a purple heart? Because I don't see that anywhere, neither written, nor implied.

I never claimed that Kerry awarded himself a purple heart. I wrote that he requested the purple heart after he received a wound that his CO was quoted as saying "resembled a fingernail scratch." This is inline with the process that the Lt. you quoted stated. Furthermore, his CO said if he wanted to pursue it, he could.

What I do know is that his CO stated it looked like fingernail scratch. Are you saying his CO was lying?

Second, you even state that those who are injured three times were relocated out of Nam, which is exactly what I said happened to Kerry. So, what's you point?

Posted by: Todd Warfel on April 26, 2004 01:45 PM

____

Er, Patrick. The debate is entirely whether he threw his own MEDALS away. Kerry never denied -- then or now --that he threw his RIBBONS away, for which you say he was also "subject to military discipline as a Ready Reserve officer". Oddly, he never got any. I wonder why?

So how about it, Patrick: Nixon was absolutely furious with Kerry and determined to get him at all cost. If there was some significant dirt in Kerry's Ready Reserve service record, why didn't we hear about it from the Nixon White House?

As for those witnesses that Bush was on the Alabama Guard base, well:

(1) First, that Feb. 15 Washington Post story I mentioned earlier, which I've just reviewed ("Few Can Offer Confirmation of Bush's National Guard Service"):

"Although documents released last week show that Bush performed some Guard duties in October and November of 1972, a time he was in Alabama, and dental exams show he was on the base in January 1973, none of the documents shows where on the base he worked or what his tasks were.

"Only one person has vivid recollections of serving with Bush at Dannelly field. John B. 'Bill' Calhoun, 69 -- whose name was provided by a Republican ally of Bush's -- said he saw Bush sign in at the 187th eight to 10 times for about eight hours each from May to October 1972.

"But Calhoun remembers seeing Bush at Dannelly at times in mid-1972 when the White House acknowledges Bush was not pulling Guard duty in Alabama yet; his first drills were in October, according to the White House. White House press secretary Scott McClellan on Friday was at a loss to reconcile the discrepancy.

"Other recollections are anecdotal. Marks Curtis and Nee Bear, who also worked with Bush on the Blount campaign, remember Bush mentioning National Guard duties while they were in Alabama, though it was not a big topic of conversation. 'He told us that he had Guard duty and that he would be unable to do some things, from time to time, in the campaign,' Bear said."

(2) The second man who remembers seeing Bush on the base is James Copeland, the base's disbursing accounting supervisor, who does remember seeing him twice during the entire period. However, to quote the Feb. 16 Decatur Daily:

"While Copeland said he thinks claims that Bush was AWOL are baseless, he said one thing puzzles him.

" 'All Bush would have to do to get proof of his Alabama service is pick up the phone and contact military records,' he said. 'It seems a little odd that he hasn't done that.'

[Since then, it's been announced that all Bush's records of Alabama Guard service were removed from Alabama and transferred to the Guard base at Houston -- the one which refused, without explanation, to respond to a request from the Guard's national headquarters for an appraisal of Bush's overall performance record.]

"Copeland also is puzzled by dental records that Bush produced as evidence of his duties at Dannelly.

" 'We had no dentist at Dannelly Field,' Copeland said. 'The only dentists were at Maxwell (Air Force Base).' "

(3) The third eyewitness is Joe Lefevers, who told the Newark Star-Ledger that he had seen Bush once. Unfortunately, the same article says:

"Bush did not receive military pay from May to September of 1972, according to the documents, and the former commander of the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron said Tuesday that Bush didn't show up during those months.

" 'He never did come to my squad,' said retired Lt. Col. Reese Bricken, who lives in Montgomery. 'He was never at my unit.' "

"After reviewing documents provided by the paper, Bricken added, 'He was looking for a place to hang his hat, but he never came by.' "
________________________

A scan of Google -- which, by the way, took only a few minutes; you really ought to try it sometime -- reveals no further elaboration of all this. So: Calhoun, who claims Bush showed up frequently, is a methodical liar. Copeland and Lefevers together can vouch for him appearing three times on the base, and his pay records do indicate that he showed up occasionally -- but the same press stories quoting them also indicate peculiarities in his story that he showed up there regularly. Which still leaves us with the question of whether he showed up nearly as often as he was supposed to -- and, if he did, why the peculiarities.

Now on to another issue. If you're cranking up to say that Kerry was reluctant to serve in Vietnam because he was a coward, you're spouting nonsense -- he risked his life casually and repeatedly in Vietnam, and he dearly loved aerobatics before enlisting. No one can accuse him of being a physical coward. If he engaged in dishonest conduct in connection with Vietnam, it was in enlisting to fight in a war which, in reality, he somewhat opposed as immoral BEFORE entering it -- and even there the evidence is that he wasn't certain about that fact before enlisting, and only became firmly convinced of it because of what he saw while he was there:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/02/opinion/main603542.shtml

http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/interviews/int2004-03-10.htm

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 26, 2004 05:05 PM

____

Correction on one point: since Lefevers (like Copeland) can't remember what month or even what season they saw Bush in, the fact that Reese Bricken didn't see him from May through September is irrelevant.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 26, 2004 06:27 PM

____

Addition: yes, the fact that Kerry has now been caught lying through his teeth about what he did with his medals is depressing as hell; it starts to look as though we have three dishonest morons running for president instead of just two. The main hope for the Democrats now is that Bush's own glaring lies -- which have had far more disastrous consequences so far -- will finish catching up to him, as they seem to be doing in Iraq. If the place explodes any time in the next few weeks, Kerry's medal lie will become backpage news. How thrilling.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 27, 2004 01:09 AM

____

CJR - "wounded combatants neither NOMINATE nor award themselves Purple Hearts."

TW - "I wrote that he requested the purple heart"

The point is Kerry did not request (nominate himself for) a Purple Heart as you contend.

CJR - "Navy regulations at the time SPECIFIED that any trooper wounded three times be REASSIGNED outside of Vietnam"

TW - "...you can request to be relieved from service and sent home. Which is exactly what Kerry did."

The point is regulations specified that Kerry be reassigned outside of Vietnam and that he did not request it as you contend.

CJR - "The Purple Heart is awarded only after a commander determines that a soldier or sailor has incurred a wound inflicted by the enemy and forwards a recommendation to his superiors."

TW - "What I do know is that his CO stated it looked like fingernail scratch. Are you saying his CO was lying?"

The point is the recommendation for a Purple Heart is procedural and comes from a commander who has determined (Kerry did not make a determination on the severity of the wound for the commander) that a wound was inflicted by the enemy, and has nothing to do with whether his CO (now) wishes to characterize it as a "fingernail scratch".

Your insistence on trying to lay blame on Kerry for things that were not of his doing just wont wash and reveals the fact that your claim to be "balanced and truthful" is disingenuous. In other words you are nothing more than a bullshit artist.

Posted by: Dubblblind on April 27, 2004 05:22 AM

____

"A scan of Google -- which, by the way, took only a few minutes; you really ought to try it sometime "

You never learn, do you. I'm the guy who provided the stories FOR YOU, several weeks ago, that you're just now stumbling upon. And you are wrong:

"-- reveals no further elaboration of all this."

http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/news/040216/bush.shtml

The headline for the above being:

"Former Dannelly worker: Bush not AWOL"

From the article itself:

---------quote---------
Retired Master Sgt. James Copeland...:

"Maybe the Bush family was well known in Texas, but we didn't know who he was here. He was just another guy in a flight jacket," Copeland said Sunday.

Copeland, who lives in Hartselle, retired from the Air Force on Jan. 31, 1980. He was the disbursement accounting supervisor, a full-time position, for Dannelly Air National Guard Base in Montgomery from Oct. 28, 1971, to Oct. 27, 1975. His office was less than 100 yards from the hangar where Bush performed drills.

[snip]

Copeland, 65, remembers meeting Bush on two occasions. He does not remember the precise dates. On one occasion, Copeland said, Bush and Lt. Col. John "Bill" Calhoun came to Copeland's office with a question about Bush's pay. Copeland is not sure, but he believes the question had to do with where to mail Bush's checks.

[snip]

The other time Copeland remembers meeting Bush was at the base canteen. Bush was there drinking coffee or a soft drink, Copeland said.

Copeland stressed that Calhoun's account of Bush's service in Montgomery would be accurate because Calhoun was in a position to work with Bush during every drill. Calhoun told The Associated Press last week that he saw Bush every drill time, which was one weekend each month.

Not only was Calhoun in a position to know of Bush's service, Copeland said, but Calhoun "was an ethical and honest officer."

--------endquote--------

Meaning that this from Bruce:

" So: Calhoun, who claims Bush showed up frequently, is a methodical liar."

Is exposed as a baseless slander. Not only did the retired Master Sargeant respect him, so did the base commander.

Back to Bruce:

" Copeland and Lefevers together can vouch for him appearing three times on the base, and his pay records do indicate that he showed up occasionally "

Which is what Bush was required to do. He wasn't on active duty, he was merely fulfilling his "week-end warrior" duty. Unlike John Kerry, who clearly blew off his contractual obligation to drill 48 times per year in 1970 and '71.

"-- but the same press stories quoting them also indicate peculiarities in his story that he showed up there regularly."

What do you mean "regularly"? He had limited obligations, as did Kerry. But Bush met his, according to records (as you have just conceded, Bruce). Not so Kerry.

" Which still leaves us with the question of whether he showed up nearly as often as he was supposed to"

Have a clue. He earned the required number of points to have a "good year" toward retirement, as you have conceded.

" -- and, if he did, why the peculiarities."

There are no peculiarities with Bush. But there are with Kerry; his enlistment contract called for three years of active duty and two of Ready Reserve in which he would have had to drill 48 times per year in 1970 and 1971. Where is there any evidence Kerry met that latter obligation?

If this is what you mean:

"Although documents released last week show that Bush performed some Guard duties in October and November of 1972, a time he was in Alabama, and dental exams show he was on the base in January 1973, none of the documents shows where on the base he worked or what his tasks were."

That's simply false. The Decatur Daily story clearly says: "His office was less than 100 yards from the hangar where Bush performed drills". And Calhoun has also identified where Bush performed; in Calhoun's office.

You are routed, Bruce. As usual.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on April 27, 2004 07:52 AM

____

Kerry was AWOL from Navy Reserve service

April 25, 2003
John Kerry signed an agreement as part of his naval officer commission to serve at least 3 years on active duty and the remainder of his obligated 6 year service in the Ready Reserves. Ready Reserves are those who must attend drills.
This is the agreement he released with his military records:
http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/jkerry/offcandagr.pdf
You will note that Kerry obligated himself to at least 3 years active duty, and the remainder of a 6 year obligation in the READY (not Standby) Reserves.
He further agreed that while in the READY Reserves (from discharge to 1972) he would perform no less than 48 drills per year and up to 17 active duty days per year, or alternatively 30 active duty days per year.
None of the released records shows any record of his performing these Ready Reserve obligated days in 1970, 71, 72, after which he was transferred to the Inactive Reserves. (This is as of 22 April - he may have released more since then). The only Performance of Duty form released covers 1966. There should be one for every year.
Nor is there any excusal from drilling status in his records, or alternatively, pay and attendance records indicating that he performed any drills in 1970-72 as required of a Ready Reservist.
It was George Bush's alleged non-performance of his obligated reserve duty that caused all the furor last February, yet Kerry apparently can not show his performance of his obligated Reserve duty.
The Kerry campaign has said that his separation from active duty put him in the inactive, non-drilling Naval Reserve so he could run for Congress. This is NOT true, as follows:
This following website record shows his transfer from the Ready Reserves to the Standby (Inactive) reserves did not occur until March 1972, NOT upon his release from Active Duty to run for Congress (1969/70).
http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/jkerry/trnsfr2stndyrsrv.pdf
And this following form indicates the official transfer from the Ready Reserves to the Standby (Inactive) Reserves did not formalize until July 1972.:
http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/jkerry/servicercrd.pdf
Contrary to what Kerry's minions say, the wording on his Release from Active Duty (to run for Congress) does NOT put him in the INACTIVE RESERVES - it puts him in Inactive Duty status, which includes Ready Reserves with attendant drill obligation. BIG difference - and the confusion is understandable. The legal specifics are Title 10 duty (Active Duty) Green Card) vs.. Title 32 duty (Inactive Duty) Red Card).
Had he been placed in the INACTIVE RESERVES in 1970 upon his release from AD, as Kerry's people suggest, there would not have been the 1972 Transfer to the Standby Reserves form that I show above - he would have already been there.
Also, if the timing of these records is correct, as a drilling Ready Reserve naval officer, in 1970-72 he was somewhat restricted by military regulations in what comments he could make in public regarding statements on the military leadership and the National Command Authority. Yet this is the period of his most public protests and anti-war demonstrations. In fact, his hairdo in the 1970-72 period would not meet Navy standards, and he would be sent home from drill if he had ever attended one.

Posted by: Karen on April 27, 2004 06:20 PM

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I think Bush should not be president and I do not trust Cheney and Rumsfeld. I don't know about Kerry, but I think i will vote against bush. These people give me a really bad feeling

Posted by: online bingo mom on April 30, 2004 03:33 PM

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I think Bush should not be president and I do not trust Cheney and Rumsfeld. I don't know about Kerry, but I think i will vote against bush. These people give me a really bad feeling

Posted by: online bingo mom on April 30, 2004 03:38 PM

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Posted by: online casino on June 23, 2004 06:25 AM

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I am tired of hearing about Kerry not being a war hero. Everyone has witnessed he is a liar about his military service. It seems strange to me that every one was witness to everything he did in Nam. He must have had the biggest boat in Nam. Yet no one can account for Bush and where he was nor do they seem to care. OUR MEDIA SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES. I hear how tough Bush is but I have never been more freightened of a human as I am of him. He acts like we are a kingdom and he is the king. No he is more like Hitler. How scarey.

Posted by: Sharon Kurzawski on August 5, 2004 12:01 AM

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