September 1, 2004

Patiently untangling lies...

William Campenni, a retired colonel in the United States Air Force/Air National Guard, explains why the sneering questions about Bush's Air Guard service on Kerry's web site don't actually add up to anything. It's the sort of explanation only a person familiar with how things worked at the time can provide. (Whereas anyone can twist "not observed" to look like "not present." Dems should be ashamed of this stuff.)

...First, pay records document Mr. Bush's appearances on base, as verified by Col. Lloyd and Mr. Bush's point credit statement. So why would these other reports be at variance? They are not. Regulations require that an Officer Efficiency Report (OER, now an OES) be completed annually by their reporting official, or whenever there is a change of reporting official of 90 days or more. They evaluate performance. They don't document attendance. "Not Observed" is an Air Force term of art, meaning "I didn't have this guy for more than 90 days, so I can't evaluate him." If you were there 73 days, the reporting official would have to check "not observed," even if he had lunch with you daily. With this criterion, Alabama officials would not report on you, and with six months away in the middle of the year, probably neither would the Houston officials. Sadly, the corroborating officials are now deceased...
One thing I wonder is whether the Bush campaign pondered whether to provide this kind of info months ago, and then decided it was better to be "misunderestimated?" If so, it was a master-stroke, and the current floundering of the Dems is richly deserved.
...We who served in the Guard in that era are proud of our service. Even with obsolescent equipment and condescending attitudes from the regular forces, we were ready to go. Many a guardsman volunteered for Vietnam, but were turned down for often petty reasons, or offered pointless assignments far from the war zone. As verified by at least three witnesses, George Bush was one of those Vietnam volunteers.

    A final comment: With a single phone call, Mr. Bush could round up a flight of wingmen to follow him around as his "Band of Brothers." Choosing not to exploit his squadron mates is indicative of his character and class. Poet and wartime pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote in "Night Flight" that "Like his love, a man keeps his courage dark."

    John Kerry should read it in the original French.

"Character and class" is right. But mostly, Bush is a regular guy. Americans don't make a big deal about their military service. I've only once in my life met someone who bragged about fighting in Vietnam. He turned out to be a flake and a pathological liar.

(thanks to Besty Newmark)

Posted by John Weidner at September 1, 2004 7:45 AM
Weblog by John Weidner