16 May 2005

George W. Bush, A.W.O.L.!

If you believe that the President of the United States is Chimpy McHitlerburton, stop reading now.
Read any further and you will just be more confused!

I wrote in an earlier post that CBS's actions to cast a shadow on President Bush's record in the Air National Guard were what pushed me into reading blogs actively. CBS produced a memo which purported to prove President Bush was not present during a "rating period".
If you have never seen the memo in question, you can find it here:


The transposing memo you see there is the "smoking gun" that "Little Green Football's" Charles Johnson found. The clear version of the memo is the one Charles printed out on his computer using Microsoft Word.
The fuzzy one is the one that was supposedly written in 1973 by someone in President Bush's chain of command! As you can see, they are exact duplicates, with the exception that the fuzzy one has been run through a copier several times in order to artificially "age" it! Experts say producing it in 1973 would have been impossible!

Now let me tell you why I think all this was so much "manure" from the start!

In 1971, yours truly was a Flight Commander, supervising the work of 15 Warrant Officer flight instructors. Each had two students.
Supervising 15 Instructors, writing their evaluations, and keeping track of training records on 30 students was pretty much a full time job.

Then.......the Army made my life "interesting"!

Each of these Warrant Officers got an official letter from The Department of the Army notifying them that if they wanted to get out of their obligation to the Army and leave active duty, all they had to do was send the Army a post card with their name, address, service number, and a statement indicating their desire to get out early, and they would be out of the Army in three weeks! The Army was cutting back, and wanted to de-emphasize the active duty forces and drastically cut the military budget!

Six of my instructors took the Army up on its' offer!

And in three weeks, I was no longer commanding 15 Warrant Officers. I had only 9 instructors to teach 30 students!
So Greybeard, being a trained instructor in his own right, went back to actively teaching students himself!
Supervisor and 9 employees now had three students each!

My point here?
The Viet Nam War was winding down. The Army was trying to reduce its' costs. Reductions-in-force were taking place. What I have described here took place in the active duty Army. The Guard and Reserve programs weren't even on the radar screen!

I left active duty and became a Reservist in 1974. My Reserve unit was NOT a well oiled military machine! With little emphasis on the Reserve programs, even calling this unit "military" would have been a stretch! To take time away from the unit, all you had to do was consult with the Commander, and make arrangements to make the time up later, at HIS convenience!

During his run for the Presidency in 2000, CBS accused George W. Bush of being Absent Without Official Leave..........AWOL.

But I can imagine the scenario unfolding like this:

G.W. Bush goes to his Commander and says, "I have a friend down in Alabama that needs my help in his campaign for Senator, and I'd like to take some time off to go lend him a hand. I'll make up the time I use later in whatever way you need me most".

This sort of thing was commonplace in 1971-'76.
Commanders had a great deal of latitude in this arena, and were glad to give you the time off when they knew they could use you later for some odd job.......to help prepare for a difficult upcoming inspection, for instance.

But you'll still hear the Dan Rather types claim that "W" was A.W.O.L..
They don't want to hear a rational reason why young George may have been legitimately excused from his duty!

Their attitude?
"Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up!"


Anonymous said...

Another fine example of how people hear one side of this story and, no matter how much iformation comes to light later down the road, they still believe the person who introduced it -- because he's been on television for 30 years and can't be fallible.

Good article.

Jim Howard said...

This is almost two years after the blog post, but I just found it, and it is a hot button for me. I entered active duty in 1974, and I can confirm that the Air Force was in a state of great turmoil back in the 70s. Record keeping was almost entirely manual, omissions and mistakes were commonplace.

One thing to add to the points you so clearly spell out is this. Lt. Bush's unit was transitioning from the F-102 to the F-101. The focus of the unit's leadership was on this transition. Lt Bush did not have the retainablity to be eligble for transition training. The squadron really didn't need Lt Bush at all, making accomidating his desire to work on his friend's political campaign that much easier for the unit leadership to support.