Monday, September 20, 2004

"Nothing Polite Can Be Said About Such Analysis"

This post's title is stolen from a Nobel prize winning economist's famous dismissal of a Senator's question to him during a committee hearing. I immediately thought of it when I saw this Slate piece. From which, I excerpt:

Bush joined the Texas Air National Guard on May 27, 1968. The move was well-chosen and well-timed. Only four Air National Guard squadrons were sent to Vietnam, and none was sent after Bush enlisted.

Yes, but what relevence does that have to Bush's timing in signing up? Wouldn't the events at the time of Bush's decision to become a fighter pilot be what counts, not what happened eventually (and with no input from the then Lt.)? Does Will Saletan even read the articles to which he links:

On 23 January 1968, the North Koreans seized the American spy ship, U.S.S. Pueblo. President Johnson ordered a limited reserve mobilization. Next, the communists' Tet offensive in South Vietnam in February 1968 stretched American military resources thinner. The President ordered another small mobilization. In response to the first presidential order, the ANG mobilized 9,343 personnel on 25 January 1968. Within 36 hours, approximately 95 percent of the Air Guardsmen had reported to their units. Those included eight tactical fighter groups, three tactical reconnaissance groups and three wing headquarters. ....

On 3 May, F-100s from the 120th Tactical Fighter Squadron (Colorado) arrived at Phan Rang Air Base. By 1 June, all of the l20th's pilots were flying combat missions. In the meantime, the 174th (Iowa), 188th (New Mexico), and the 136th (New York) had all deployed to Vietnam with their F-100s. In addition, 85 percent of the 355th Tactical Fighter Squadron -- on paper a regular Air Force unit -- were Air Guardsmen. The Air Guard units were quickly and effectively integrated into Air Force combat operations in Southeast Asia (SEA). Prior to their return home in April 1969, they flew 24,124 sortie and 38,614 combat hours.

The only conclusion that follows logically from Saletan's own source, is that Geo. W. Bush's decision would be, "well chosen and well-timed", only for a 1968 Yale grad who wanted to emulate Dick Bong.

Something that a certain young man (who is the inspiration for this blog) with a pilot's license in hand in 1966, didn't want to do.

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