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President Top Gun: Affirmatively Missing in Action

New Palast Weblog Begins With A Bang: "Former Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes appears to have made lucrative use of his knowledge of our Presidentís slithering out of the draft as a lever to obtain a multi-billion dollar contract for a client." (more)


Bush to Appear Before Veterans As He Faces Questions About His Own Military Readiness.

Bush continued to attack the Clinton-Gore administration's military readiness before a veterans' group yesterday, proudly wearing the campaign hat of the Texas National Guard. As Governor of Texas he is the head of the Texas National Guard, but being Governor does not allow him to misrepresent the present administration's record. Several weeks ago Bush said 2 of the Army's 10 active divisions were not ready for combat. However, he did not furnish the real reason for that circumstance. According to Steven Lee Myers in Monday's issue of the NYT, the two divisions in question, "the 10th Mountain and the 1st Mechanized Infantry, were briefly classified as unready for war last fall, not because they suffered from budget cuts and low morale, as Mr. Bush suggested, but rather because large parts of the divisions were keeping peace in Bosnia and Kosovo."

Meanwhile, Bush has intimate knowledge about an Army division that really isn't in readiness, the 49th Armored Division of the Texas National Guard, which, as Governor of Texas, he commands. Myers reports that the 49th "has the lowest ranking for wartime readiness that the Pentagon gives, according to military officials. It has been that way for the last three years." Today, Bush plans to appear before veterans groups in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, falsely accusing Gore of a "dereliction" of duty that, he, not Gore, is guilty of. And to add insult to injury, recently released documents of Bush's own military career in the Texas Air National Guard appear to suggest that Bush never did finish his required active duty, even though his campaign claims he must have or he wouldn't have been given an honorable discharge.

A government document describing Bush's service record, obtained by Martin Heldt under the Freedom of Information Act, the "MILITARY BIOGRAPHY OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH" from the Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel center in Denver, Colorado, indicates that Bush finished his active duty and his military servie by serving in Denver, Colorado, between 2 Oct. '73 and 21 Nov. '74. Bush attended Harvard Business School full-time between the Fall of '73 and the Spring of '75, and nothing has ever been said or written about Bush taking trips to Denver during this period. Heldt concludes that, based on the relevant documents, "it would appear that the way Bush fulfilled his duty was not by attending the obligated number of drills, but by having his name added to the roster of a paper unit at the ARPC (ORS) Denver Colorado for an extra six months."

When Bush appears today before veterans' groups in the presence of Generals Colin Powell and Norman Schwartzkopf, he will be afforded an excellent opportunity to explain why he was AWOL from active duty for a year and why his records indicate he never really made up that active duty, but was given an honorable discharge anyway. (Read more here.) --Politex, 9/7/00

JUNIOR AWOL ON DRUGS?

"THE Republican frontrunner for the White House, George W Bush, was suspended from flying as a young pilot for failing to take a medical examination that included a drug test.

"Documents obtained by The Sunday Times [UK] reveal that in August 1972, as a 26-year-old subaltern in the Air National Guard, Bush was grounded for failing to "accomplish" an annual medical that would have indicated whether he was taking drugs....While he has consistently admitted to a "misspent youth", Bush has evaded questions about cocaine or other drug use, implying only that he has not taken illegal substances since 1974, the year after he left the Air National Guard....

"Bush was not required to face drug tests when he first entered the reserve unit as a Yale graduate in 1968. It was only at the end of 1971 that the US Air Force, facing a backlash against drug-fuelled escapades in Vietnam, introduced a screening policy. In April 1972 the Pentagon implemented a drug-abuse testing programme that required officers on "extended active duty", including reservists such as Bush, to undergo at least one random drug test every year. The annual medical exam that year included a routine analysis of urine, a close examination of the nasal cavities and specific questions about drugs....

"Bush was said to have been unable to take the medical because he was in Alabama while his doctor was in Houston. [Last week] his campaign official, however, said Bush was aware that he would be suspended for missing his medical as soon as he left Houston because the air force was unable to process his new status before the August deadline for the test. "It was just a question of following the bureaucratic procedure of the time," he said. "He knew the suspension would have to take place."

"William Turnipseed, a retired general who commanded the Alabama unit at the time, said Bush never appeared for duty. Two commanders at Ellington air force base in Houston said in his record they were unable to perform his annual evaluation covering the year from May 1, 1972 to April 30, 1973. "Lt Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of this report," they wrote.

"...Chris Lapetina, a former marine and Democratic political consultant, said controversy about the medical exam could hurt Bush's chances among several voting blocks, including pensioners and veterans. Many servicemen would be upset if they thought a possible future president had avoided an obligatory military examination that included a drug test, he said. "When someone doesn't take a physical in the military there's got to be very good reason," Lapetina said. "It looks like he made a decision not to take it because the alternative was unpalatable." " --Sunday Times (UK), 6/17/00 (story)

NO RECORD OF BUSH AT GUARD DRILLS FROM 1972-1973.

"During his fifth year as a guardsman, Bush's records show no sign he appeared for duty.

May 24, 1972: Bush, who has moved to Alabama to work on a US Senate race, gets permission to serve with a reserve unit in Alabama. But headquarters decided Bush must serve with a more active unit.
Sept. 5, 1972: Bush is granted permission to do his Guard duty at the 187th Tactical Recon Group in Montgomery. But Bush's record shows no evidence he did the duty, and the unit commander says he never showed up.
November 1972 to April 30, 1973: Bush returns to Houston, but apparently not to his Air Force unit.
May 2, 1973: The two lieutenant colonels in charge of Bush's unit in Houston cannot rate him for the prior 12 months, saying he has not been at the unit in that period.

Under Air National Guard rules at the time, guardsmen who missed duty could be reported to their Selective Service Board and inducted into the Army as draftees." --Boston Globe, 5/23/00

as of 9/17/02, the most complete update on this story is here...

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