Doesn't the fact that he got an honorable discharge indicate that he served honorably?
No. Radio talk show host Don Imus told listeners about getting in trouble, including punching a sergeant, while in the Marines. His superiors told him they'd give him an honorable discharge on one condition - that he promise not to re-enlist. Sometimes, Imus points out, honorable discharges are given just to get rid of people. John Allen Mohammed, convicted of murder in the DC-area sniper shootings, was disciplined numerous times while in the National Guard, including several days in prison for assault. He, too, received an honorable discharge.
Secondly, Guard Commanders in the '70s were given wide latitude on discharges. Honestly, who is going to give a dishonorable to the son of a prominent Republican politician who has just been elected chairman of the Republican National Committee?
Third, that discharge paper actually includes evidence that according to the letter of the law, Bush is in fact guilty of desertion.
What about the one witness who has come forward - John B. "Bill" Calhoun - testifying to George's service?
Calhoun has said he saw Bush 8-10 times between May and October of 1972. (Or was it four to six times?) But as the Washington Post has pointed out, "Calhoun remembers seeing Bush at Dannelly at times in mid-1972 when the White House acknowledges Bush was not pulling Guard duty in Alabama yet; his first drills were in October, according to the White House. White House press secretary Scott McClellan on Friday was at a loss to reconcile the discrepancy..."
Dozens of other pilots have been interviewed and have no recollection of Bush, even those who were aware he was supposed to show up, and were on the lookout for him. From TIME Magazine:
"Paul Bishop, a retired Air Force colonel who says he never missed a weekend drill in 27 years with the 187th, told TIME the physical layout of the unit's hangar made it 'virtually impossible' for Bush to have met with Calhoun and for none of the unit's 800 other reservists to have seen him."Also, consider this letter from a retired USAF personnel specialist:
I spent most of my 20 plus years of active duty in the Air Force in the Military Personnel field. Whenever a person with political connections was assigned to a base. ie, the son or daughter of a congressman or senator or other high government official, it was mandatory to immediately brief the base commander of that fact. The records of the newly assigned individual were flagged with a light pencil notation in the upper right hand corner. The notation were the letters 'PI", an acronym for Political Influence. Those individuals were handled with kid gloves, as the old saying goes. They could get away with some very serious offenses.
So when I hear someone stating that Bush did show up in Alabama but the base commander did not know that the son of a congressman had been assigned to his base, I know that is a damned lie.
Clarence [last name withheld]
Bush's girlfriend at the time - and some Blount Campaign workers - say George left for Montgomery, telling them he had to pull Guard Duty.
There's a reason that hearsay is rarely admitted as court evidence - it doesn't establish anything with any degree of reliability. I told my boss last week I had to leave early to go to the doctor, and all my coworkers heard me say that. Funny, though, the doctor's office has no records of me showing up - and they've looked everywhere. What do you think really happened?
They've shown he went to the dentist in January of 1973 in Alabama.
So...this proves exactly what with regards to performing military duty? And he could get his teeth checked, but couldn't take a physical to get back on flying status? Why not? If that was January of 1973, and the Senate campaign was over in November of '72, why was Bush not pulling duty back at Ellington AFB in Houston?
They've released all the files.
If those are truly all the files in existence, either a dog somewhere has a curiously selective taste for microfiche, or the records have been tampered with - and that's a felony. No evidence of the Flight Inquiry Board that would have been convened when he was suspended from flying. No DD214. No Officer Effectiveness Report (OER) from 1973. No flight logs, among a pilot's most important records. No attendance sheets, photographs, or unit rosters. None. And still zero evidence of any actual duty between May 1972 and April 1973.
He didn't need to take the physical - the Alabama unit didn't have the same kind of planes.
Every pilot was required to get a physical on or around their birthday - in Bush's case, July 6th. When he missed this physical in 1972, he was suspended. Bush did not receive approval to transfer to the 187th Tactical Recon Group in Alabama until September 29th, 1972. So a Guardsman who decides to go live in another state a few months from now can voluntarily disqualify himself off a unit's pilot rolls? That's ludicrous. What's more, Bush's unit in Houston (111th Fighter-Intercept Squadron) continued to fly the F-102 until 1974. When he got back from Alabama, why didn't Bush re-qualify himself and resume flying? Was it due to an alcohol or drug conviction that made him untrustworthy to handle nuclear weapons?
They released pay stubs showing he was paid occasionally during that period.
Ever get paid for work you didn't actually do? (Richard Cohen did.) And let's consider one thing. Those pay stubs show Bush on duty the weekend of May 1-3, 1973, at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston. Yet that very same weekend, on May 2, his two superior officers at Ellington signed a report saying they could not complete his annual evaluation because "Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of report." Kind of odd that they would sign their names to that evaluation on the very same day when Bush supposedly was reporting to them. Did Bush take pay for duty that he did not in fact perform?
It was 30 years ago - what does it matter today?
What matters today is that Bush, and his minions, continue to lie about it. Bush himself wrote in his autobiography that he "continued to fly with my unit for the next several years" - probably the biggest falsehood ever included in a presidential biography. If Bush continues to lie about this, how can we trust that he's telling the truth about anything else?