Sunday, September 12, 2004

Bush National Guard Duty Incomplete

I really haven't wanted to get into talking about George Bush's National Guard record for several reasons which I'll get into in a minute. But the magazine US News and World Report which is considered conservative just published their analysis of the records provided by the White House and concludes that Bush didn't fullfill his duty. No matter what spin the White House puts out concerning Bush's last two years in the National Guard, US News and World Report shows they really are just fudging numbers.

The reasons I haven't wanted to delve into all the questions concerning the National Guard service start with first my own personal feelings about Viet Nam. I was lucky back then. The war ended just a few years before I was to turn 18 and President Carter had ended the draft when I was closing in on my 18th birthday. I was very glad to have not faced a draft for that war. I had been against it from the time I could understand the meaning of the war, when I was an early teenager. Additionally, I grew up in a religion that was against wars and if I had been drafted I would have been able to get a deferment as a religious conscientious objector.

Viet Nam was in the end a war that nobody in America wanted to fight in. Even from the start young men were attempting every type of avoidance they could think of. Religious reasons, poor health or physical conditions were played up or faked, going to college, marrying and having a baby, and enlisting for a better military position before the draft number came up. Many fled the country, others joined the National Guard for a stateside job. I can hardly blame anyone for not wanting to go fight a war that was wrong. Viet Nam was started with a lie (sound familiar?) with the fake Gulf of Tonkin attack. It was never even a war as Congress never declared war as the Constitution requires, it was called a police action.

So I don't blame George Bush for not wanting to go to Viet Nam. As we now see from the news reports he used influence to get into the National Guard, he was not alone in this as other young men did the same.

The problem with Bush though is that he has not ever come clean and just plain admitted that he was avoiding a bad war. Instead in the past he played up his military record. He had transferred to Alabama and then didn't serve his time properly. All along he could have just played it off as being young and foolish. He has used this same reasoning concerning his drinking days. But I guess he couldn't in his mind, because many military and ex-military personnel probably wouldn't think kindly of him.

I would add here that I was in the military later during the Reagan Administration, and guess what? I was young and foolish. So here again I could have given him a break, I could understand. But Bush has avoided discussing that time in Alabama and the records are not backing up what little he has said.

Why is it politicians avoid telling the truth about their past? Because the other party will use it to lambast the candidate. This is another reason I'm sort of sympathetic to Bush on this. But I guess when it comes down to it, Bush had faced these questions in his early political career and didn't tell the truth then, so now it looks like a coverup.

Essentially I don't really care what he did back then. What I care about is what he has done to this country over the last four years and this I'm appalled at. This is very recent history. I have his record as a president to see the lies, distortions, ineptitude, and most of all the attacks on our Constitution. I don't have to go back 30 some years to see Bush's character, I see it in the last four years clearly. He has been a dishonest failure.

US News and World Report analysis...


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