Monday, September 20, 2004

Don't Know Much About History

Nor, judging by this piece, does Sara Rimer care much about chronology either:

...a wider examination of [Geo. W. Bush's] life in 1972, based on dozens of interviews and other documents released by the White House over the years, yields a portrait of a young man like many other young men of privilege in that turbulent time - entitled, unanchored and safe from combat, bouncing from a National Guard slot made possible by his family's prominence to a political job arranged through his father.

Putting aside that there is absolutely evidence of his pilot slot being made possible by his family's prominence, and proceeding to further stupidities from the no doubt lovely Sara--there must be some reason she's writing for the Times:

Mr. Bush, while missing months of the Guard duty that allowed him to avoid Vietnam...

Regular readers know how absolutely stupid is the above. What allowed Bush to avoid Vietnam was Richard Nixon's phased withdrawal of American troops under his Vietnamization plan. Plain and simple. There were only about 60,000 Americans left in Vietnam in the summer of 1972.

In Houston, nearly five years out of Yale, Mr. Bush had been adrift, without a career or even a long-running job..... Acquaintances recall him tooling around town in his Triumph sports car, partying with a crowd of well-to-do singles.

Adrift? He was a military pilot for four years, which qualifies as a long-running job by the standards of a twenty-six year old. And I was tooling around my hometown (at nearly the same time) in a sports car, too. That's what single twenty-somethings do. Whether they're "well-to-do", or truck drivers as I was.

.... His entree to the Guard had come through Ben Barnes, then the lieutenant governor of Texas....

Again, this is simply not true. Bush got into flight school by passing an examination in 1968. The unit he signed on with needed pilots--there was a war on. Nobody interceded to get Bush into a unit that was understrength, and sending pilots in harm's way, at the time.

And, Ben Barnes was not lieutenant governor.

After basic training and a year at flight school in Georgia, he was assigned to Ellington Air Force Base outside Houston, where he flew F-102 fighter jets. In March 1970, with his father, himself a World War II Navy pilot, in Congress, the Texas Air National Guard issued a news release announcing that the young Mr. Bush "doesn't get his kicks from pot or hashish or speed," but from "the roaring afterburner of the F-102." As he wrote in his autobiography, "It was exciting the first time I flew, and it was exciting the last time." In a November 1970 evaluation, his squadron commander, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, called him a "top-notch" pilot and a "natural leader."

Funny, someone was claiming that Bush was adrift without a career or even a long-running job, a few paragraphs earlier in the story.

By 1972, though, something had changed...

Do tell. Let's put on our thinking caps.

...the excitement seemed to have waned. Mr. Bush's flying buddy from Ellington, Dean Roome, said Mr. Bush may have been frustrated because the unit's growing role as a training school left young pilots fewer opportunities to log hours in the air. ....


More recently the White House has said that he did not take the physical because Alabama units were not flying the F-102. But his second application to transfer to Alabama - after the rejected transfer in July - was filed in September 1972, at least two months after he had missed his physical.

Perhaps we need a thinking cap with a chin strap. His physical was due by July 31st. He didn't accomplish it, and was suspended from flying August 1. Then, his CO agrees to allow Bush to fulfill his duties with the 187th in Alabama. Which would indicate that Bush isn't on the outs with his CO. Not rocket science, Sara.

....By that time, still without an Alabama unit, he had not attended a required monthly drill for almost five months, according to records released by the White House. Under the law at the time, he could have been sent to Vietnam.

Which would have been the opposite direction the troops were going in September 1972.

....By the summer of 1973, Mr. Bush had decided to go to Harvard Business School.

I've never even applied to HBS, but I'm guessing one doesn't just decide in the summer before you enroll, "Hey, I think I'd like to get an MBA."

According to documents released by the White House, he wanted an early discharge from the Guard but did not have enough service points for 1972 and 1973, since he had missed months of training. Guardsmen were required to earn 48 points each fiscal year, or four points for each weekend drill every month.

Where does the NY Times get these imbeciles? You needed 50 points. And Bush got them by June 30th (using the rules USN&WR wants).

Although missed drills can be made up, regulations at the time said it had to be done within 30 days and in the same fiscal year. As the time for his early discharge neared, Mr. Bush was lacking enough points; according to records for July 1973, he attended drills on 18 days that month.

Which is fiscal 1974, and had nothing to do with his points for the prior year, which is supposedly where the controversy is.

....However the points added up, on Oct. 1, 1973, Mr. Bush was awarded an honorable discharge. By that time he was already at Harvard.

Just like hundreds of thousands of other young men who were getting on with their lives now that the war had ended. Kinda like George H.W. Bush was able to do in September 1945.

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