February 3, 2004

winding down, for a good reason...

The Democrat accusations of Bush being AWOL are pretty silly´┐Żthe term AWOL only applies to active duty, and National Guard attendence is often spotty.

But, in case you are concerned, PowerLine makes an important point. The chronology is important here. When Bush joined, the war was at its height, and pilots from his unit were serving in Vietnam. He would have expected to do likewise.

But the war was winding down. (And the program that rotated Guard pilots into combat was ending.)

...In April 1970, President Nixon announced the withdrawal of another 150,000 soldiers. By the end of 1970, American troop levels had declined to one-half their peak level. By May 1972, when Bush moved from Texas to Alabama and his attendance at National Guard training became spotty, troop levels were down to barely more than one-tenth of their peak. In January 1973, President Nixon announced a peace agreement with North Vietnam, and in March 1973, while Bush was working on the Alabama campaign, the last American soldier left Vietnam.

I have no doubt that by the time President Bush moved from Texas to Alabama, he was playing out the string in terms of his National Guard commitment. At that point, it was obvious that he wasn't going to Vietnam. Demobilization was the order of the day. At the time when the Democrats allege that Bush was "AWOL" and a "deserter," his involvement in the Air National Guard was indeed winding down, for a good reason: the war was over. But he finished out his commitment and was honorably discharged.

Posted by John Weidner at February 3, 2004 9:19 PM
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