Excerpts from some recent letters to the editor (continued from page one). Click on the link for the full letter (some may have expired). Click here for a link to your local paper.

"In response to Charles Davis' letter ["Reasons to vote for Democrats," Oct. 2], I would like to encourage all registered voters to vote for Bush next year if:

...You feel that President Bush (who lied to get us into a war to begin with) should be allowed to make decisions that involve young men's and women's lives even though he was AWOL from the National Guard for a year."

Carrie Schaefer, Spotsylvania
Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg VA, 10/19/2003

"In his letter to the Fence Post Oct. 6, Bill Kenyon responds to Jack Denney's Sept. 25 letter. In his letter, Kenyon challenges Denney to tell the Daily Herald's readers about any lies President Bush has told to the American public. If I may be so bold as to respond, I will point out just a few.

...In his autobiography, "A Charge to Keep," Bush said he flew with his Air National Guard unit until 1973. The base commander where he was assigned starting in May 1972, Brig. Gen. William Tunipseed, has said he is "dead certain he didn't show up."

Tom Bartlett-Svehla, Mundelein
Daily Herald, Arlington Heights IL, Oct 12, 2003

"On May 1, President George W. Bush arrived on the USS Abraham Lincoln, in an Air Force flight suit. Recently, KB Toys announced the upcoming release of G.I. Joe-type doll of President Bush in that flight suit.

This depiction of the president as a warrior outraged many Vietnam veterans because there is no evidence that the then-Lt. Bush performed his military duty from May 1972 through August 1973, when he received an early out from the National Guard.

Texas and Alabama National Guard unit records show no evidence that Lt. Bush reported for duty in Alabama in May 1972 or in Texas from late 1972 to August 1973. Gen. William Turnipseed, the commander of the Alabama National Guard in 1972, has no memory of a Lt. Bush ever reporting for duty. None of the Alabama Guardsmen (600 to 700) with whom he would have served remembers him performing Guard-related duties.

The Vietnam veterans from both states will pay $1,000 to anyone providing evidence that Lt. Bush performed his expected military duties in that 15-month period. Anyone interested in the details of this story can go to www.awolbush.com.

In the 2000, the media reported 13,641 accounts of then-Gov. Clinton's draft-related issues, and just 49 such accounts of President Bush's questionable military records. Why does the "liberal" press ignore a newsworthy story about our conservative Republican president?"

Kathryn Brohawn, Lakeland Lakeland, Fl Ledger October 8, 2003

"Regarding President Bush's ratings dropping, it's time to get out the flight suit again! Never mind the fact that he went AWOL when he should have been wearing it. Or the fact that he has bollixed up everything he ever laid his hands on."

Don Franks, South Elgin Daily Herald, Arlington Heights IL, Oct 1, 2003

"I enjoyed reading Bill O'Reilly's thumbnail sketches ("The bottom line on the Democratic presidential candidates," @issue, Sept. 26), but it's a shame that he left out the only Republican candidate. Just to be "fair and balanced," I'd suggest the following:

George W. Bush: C student used family connections to get into Yale, Harvard Business School and dodge the draft. Never completed tour of duty in Texas National Guard but likes to pretend he's a naval airman. Economic policies turned huge budget surplus into record-setting deficit and cost 3 million jobs. Squandered international support for United States in war on terrorism. Heck of a nice guy."

The Atlanta Journal - Constitution - Sep 29, 2003

"...Along these lines, what could be more ironic than Republicans (Republicans!) picking George W. Bush over John McCain to be their presidential candidate in 2000? I wonder what W was doing while McCain was rotting in a North Vietnamese prison camp. (Apparently, Bush was AWOL during one year of Air Guard service, so no one really knows, except W.) The current President has been telling us since 9/ 11 that the country is in a war. I'd rather have a retired general than a draft-dodger conducting it. As you wrote, this will be fun to watch. Go, Wesley!"

Steve Warren
Richmond [VA] Times - Dispatch, Sep 28, 2003

"The Justice Department's full investigation of the alleged illegal leaking of a CIA agent's identity could help solve another longstanding mystery of over 30 years. Perhaps the alleged leak perpetrator could not only be identified but could be of assistance in locating and "leaking" the oddly missing portions of George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard personnel records from 1972-73!"

Mark Wilson, Coppell, Texas
The Dallas Morning News October 1, 2003

"...Whenever we see Bush in uniform, we should remind ourselves that he has disgraced it. He did not complete his required National Guard service for at least 12 months while our nation was at war in Vietnam, according to a Boston Globe article by Walter Robinson (May 24, 2000).

Despite a long waiting list, political preference and family ties got Bush into the Texas Air Guard as a pilot trainee, and he elected not to serve combat duty. The Boston Globe report concluded that the period of Bush's service between May 1972 and May 1973 remains unaccounted for. In short, he was AWOL."

Ginny Ross, Southwest Portland
The Oregonian - 09/26/03

"Our Constitution explicitly states that Congress alone declares war. Instead, they handed the ball to President Bush, a man whose military experience consists of going AWOL from the National Guard for a year."

Charles Mellor, Savannah
Savannah Morning News 9/24/03

"Our Constitution allows me to express my opinion that our current leader is a complete moron, a puppet of a greedy faction. To those too selective in memory, simple research demonstrates that "W" was a severe addict, was reported to have gone AWOL from the National Guard, and was a notoriously bad student/businessman. Is that better than a valedictorian who left us with millions in surplus yet made silly errors in judgment with his personal life? "

Eric Winters, Asheville
Asheville Citizen-Times 9/23(?)/03

"Hmm, tough choice if the Democrats nominate Gen. Wesley Clark to face King George II. First in his class at West Point versus a C student from Yale. A decorated Vietnam veteran versus a rich kid who took his own year-long vacation from the National Guard - called AWOL for us po' folk. The closer you look, the worse Bush compares, so to use his expression, "Bring them on." May the best man win."

Bob Deluca, Calabasas
Daily News, Los Angeles, Sep 19, 2003

"The American people see George Bush as a strong military leader in spite of his record of desertion when serving in the Texas Air National Guard in 1972. That they don't see Bush for the coward that he is only speaks to the level of ignorance in the population."

Bill O'Neill, Massachusetts
Sunday Herald, Glasgow (UK), Sep 14, 2003

"...Are we destined for another year of this? Nothing has disillusioned me more about my career choice than to see in 2000 what the D.C. press corps did to Al Gore (and what they *didn't* do to George W. Bush). Bush was AWOL from his National Guard duty in wartime, a story I saw tackled once, in the Boston Globe, and rarely since -- even when the president landed on the aircraft carrier, "just in time to degrade every notion of heroism, ever" as my colleague Mark Morford wrote. Instead, in 2000 we got a constant stream of minutiae about Gore's supposed mendacity ("Love Story," Love Canal, his dog's medicine, inventing the Internet, etc.). Consider what happened in the Clinton White House, with the unending right-wing pressure that resulted in such disproven smears as Whitewater, Vince Foster and Travelgate. Factor in our current prostration in the run-up to this administration's deficit-feeding tax cuts and a barely questioned war ... does anyone else detect a theme here?"

DAVID de la FUENTE, electronic editor, SFGate.com
Letters Sent to Romenesko, 9/17/2003 5:46:11 PM

"...But so what and why not? U.S. soldiers in Iraq are little more than disposable FU's (fodder units), or rather, WRTFU's, (walking radioactive and toxic fodder units), soon to join their predecessors, 161,000 Gulf War I vets, on disability, or to retire unto early graves.

Vietnam era/National Air Guard AWOL George W. Bush could care less. The truly obscene, outrageous and malignant profiteers in our war story are outfits such as Halliburton (Cheney's old corporate chums), Brown and Root, Bechtel, the Carlyle Group, including Bush Sr. (and up until 9-11, the bin Laden family), the pentagram Pentagon, weapons manufacturers, et al — we're talking billions upon billions of dollars, funded by the public for Bush's friends' private gain. The most profitable industries on this planet are oil and weapons (and pharms); hence, the neoconservative fixation on Iraq."

Mike Arvey, Boulder
Boulder Daily Camera, 9/17/03

"Katie [Sierra] should have landed on that aircraft carrier in a flight suit because her stand exemplifies the courage shown by our founding fathers when they stood up to the tyranny of King George III. Bush was AWOL and Cheney was ‘busy’ during Vietnam.

I can’t seem to find out what branch of the military their kids are serving in, but I’m sure Chicken George will have a catchy phrase to cover for those rich kids who let poor kids die for them in these useless wars. "

Bruce Greene, Elkview
The Charleston Gazette - September 11, 2003

"Tom Brazaitis (Aug. 24) was very kind and restrained in his assessment of President George W. Bush's Texas Air National Guard service during the Vietnam War. The Boston Globe (May 23, 2000) supplied further details of Bush's service.

Ushered into the Guard by a friend of a friend of his father, ahead of 500 others on the waiting list, Bush served approximately four years of the required six. He was removed from flight status when he failed to take his annual flight physical. He managed to be discharged from the Texas Air National Guard eight months before his six-year term ended, and a month after he enrolled in Harvard Business School. His discharge from the Guard seems to be as suspect as his enrollment was. "

Celine E. Riedel, Avon Lake
Cleveland Plain Dealer, 09/10/03

"...It's just astonishing that people such as [George] Will --- who never served themselves, but who attacked Bill Clinton for following his convictions in protesting the Vietnam War --- gave Bush a pass on his very sketchy, and privileged, tenure in the Texas Air National Guard during the same era. Now they have the nerve to offer their opinion on Clark's record and qualifications."

The Atlanta Journal - Constitution, Sep 7 2003

"Doesn't the author of the Sept. 3 letter "Who will gripe?" see the difference between a highly decorated Navy Vietnam vet speaking politically from an aircraft carrier vs. an AWOL National Guardsman all decked out in jet fighter pilot garb doing the same?"

John Greenman, Mendota Heights
Star Tribune, Minneapolis MN, Sep. 6 2003

"A Sept. 3 letter writer asked, "Will those who complained when President George Bush used a carrier as a backdrop complain now" that John Kerry announced his candidacy for the White House in front of an aircraft carrier?

Sen. Kerry is a Vietnam War hero who won three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star with a Combat V for valor and a Silver Star for gallantry in action.

George W. Bush joined the National Guard to escape active duty and then went AWOL for an entire year.

One deserves the setting and one does not."

Brook Lorntson, Minneapolis
Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Sept. 5, 2003

"Words could not express my outrage when I first saw the promotional advertisement for a new toy "action figure" that portrays President Bush as a heroic Navy fighter pilot in full gear.

Are people aware that Bush was never in the Navy? In fact, during the Vietnam War, he dodged the draft by getting himself into an Air National Guard unit that flew planes it was known would not be used in Vietnam - and then he went AWOL for a year. How does this, as his only "military service," qualify him as a Navy hero? "

Charles K. Quigley, Shorewood
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Aug. 27, 2003

"Jonathan Alter does the truth a disservice when he fails to explain why Howard Dean was not inducted into the military during the Vietnam era. Dean failed his medical exam because of an unfused vertebra, but Alter leaves the impression that Dean wiggled out from under by pulling strings or by faking a malady. Bush, on the other hand, did pull strings to get into the Air National Guard by jumping ahead of others on the list. Later, he spent the last year of his service AWOL in Alabama."

Mary L. Wentworth, Amherst, Mass.
Newsweek, August 25, 2003

"How absolutely ironic to honor George W. Bush as an action figure ("Bush gets all dolled up in flight suit," Times, News, Aug. 13). The image is not from his days as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. Instead of serving a tour in Vietnam, where pilots like John McCain were being shot down and being tortured, political preferences and family ties were used to get Bush into the National Guard (as with Yale). Apparently, he couldn't be bothered to show up for 12 to 18 months of his duty in the Air National Guard..."

Harry Little, Seattle
Northwest Seattle Times, Aug 23, 2003

"The mounting, continuing American death toll in Iraq shows his premature declaration was nothing but administration propaganda and 2004 campaign photo-op. The truth is President Bush was never a naval aviator. He was an AWOL Texas Air National Guard pilot trained to fly a decommissioned aircraft while courageous American pilots and soldiers were dying on the battlefields of Vietnam or suffering as prisoners of war..."

Heidi Behrens-Benedict, Bellevue
Northwest Seattle Times, Aug 23, 2003

"Indeed, where does this tough-guy, "heroic" Bush come from? Clearly not from his own service during the Vietnam War. Like that other post-facto chicken-hawk, Vice President Dan Quail [sic], Bush sheltered under the protecting wing of the Texas National Guard and therefore missed a chance to show his stuff with an armed and dangerous enemy. Moreover, we now learn (not from the Bush entourage) that Bush's two-year [sic] stint in the Guard amounted to only one year actually in service and the second year in what we might call absence without much giving a damn. In other words, he failed to show up..."

Cecil D. Eby, Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor News, 08/24/03

"We have a president who failed to keep his own obligation when he was in the Texas Air National Guard. And he went into the National Guard to avoid Vietnam. Today, members of the National Guard have been in combat in Iraq, and their role is being expanded. Troops are exhausted, on edge, and left wondering when they will be allowed to go home..."

B.C. Wheeler, Lincoln
Boston Globe 8/25/2003

"You remind me of the current President of the United States who is a disgrace to those of us who are members of the oldest military service of this country, the National Guard. The Minutemen of Concord Green did not join the militia and then not show up for muster in order to avoid combat during war time as George W. Bush did during Vietnam."

L. Brock Bennington, Harrison, TN
Chattanoogan, August 24, 2003

"...I could not believe my ears the other morning while listening to television reports. A Bush doll in warrior garb that will be sold at KB Toys. Is this the same G.W. Bush who dodged military service in Vietnam by using family influences to get a cushy Texas Air National Guard assignment, and was AWOL during a good part of the military exercises he was supposed to be in?

What a way to indoctrinate children with false idols. This is no different from the kind of propaganda one would expect from the likes of Fidel Castro or the deposed Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. "

Rafael Emmanuelli, Tampa
St. Petersburg Times, Aug 16, 2003

"...The current Republican hierarchy is filled with politicians who are not veterans. Bill Frist, Dennis Hastert, Tom DeLay, John Ashcroft, Rick Santorum, and Vice President Dick Cheney did not serve. G.W. Bush's shameful draft-dodging stint in the National Guard ended with his being suspended from flying!

This was just the latest in a long line of insults that this chicken hawk administration has hurled at decorated veterans who dared to criticize it. The spineless Tom DeLay owes Sen. Kennedy a public apology, and this country needs a regime change. "

John Kajmo Jr., Bushkill Township
The Morning Call, Allentown PA, Aug 14, 2003

"In a recent column, Mona Charen attempted to get on a high horse about history.

Unfortunately, like most politically motivated columns, it pitted spin against spin, opinionated interpretation against opinionated interpretation. History, apparently unbeknownst to Charen, has to be discussed first by an acceptance of the facts. ...

... President Nixon was a crook, along with his buddy and now American idol, G. Gordon Liddy. Weapons and narcotics were part of the convoluted operation in the Iran-Contra affair. President George W. Bush should have been classified as a deserter, but that magically never happened, despite how long he was absent without leave.

Vice President Dick Cheney did have meetings with Enron that he still refuses to discuss with the American people. He also had meetings with the Taliban prior to Sept. 11, 2001. We did provide support in the form of chemical and biological weapons to Saddam Hussein. We did provide support to Osama bin Laden. President Clinton did lie under oath - about an affair, not a matter of national security or concern. We did provide support for a number of other ruthless dictators. ...

Edward J. Herdrich, Elgin
Daily Herald, Arlington Heights IL, Aug 7, 2003

"We love our morning Free Press. But why is it that a comic strip, "Doonesbury," proves to be the only source of information about the leaders of the Iraq war? Where were the media before the war, informing us that war hawks like Dick Cheney, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz all avoided the draft in the Vietnam era and that President George W. Bush went AWOL for his last year in the Texas Air National Guard? "

Marie and Bob Fehribach, Sterling Heights
Detroit Free Press, 08/09/03

"...And another Seattle reader complains Alter’s assertion that both Dean and Bush “figured out how to avoid serving in Vietnam.” “Though Bush somehow got a spot in the Air National Guard (and then failed to show up for much of his duty), Dean went to his induction physical and was turned away by the military doctors—it was their call, and not something he did to ‘avoid’ service.”

MSNBC/Newsweek Online Mail Call 8/8/03

"For years, the worst nightmare of the conservatives was that when the baby boomers began to take power, the country would end up with a president who was a draft-dodging, drug-addled deserter who would wreck the economy and bankrupt the government with deficit spending.

When I think of the money and effort the conservatives put into getting Bush into the presidency, I am appalled at the lengths some people will go, just to be right."

Bo Richardson, Bellingham
Seattle Times, Aug 3, 2003

"And on July 2, the day that two more American soldiers were killed, President Bush crowed, "We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation. We got plenty of tough forces there right now." And then he actually taunted the Iraqis to keep up their attacks on our troops, saying, "Bring 'em on!"

Brave words from the man who deserted his F-102 fighter squadron during the Vietnam War, and whose first act as commander-in-chief immediately following the 9-11 attacks was to flee more than a thousand miles away to an underground bomb-proof shelter in Nebraska."

William D. Feeny, town of Middleton
Madison[WI] Capital Times, Jul 12, 2003

"If George Bush wants to be such a warrior president, why did he walk away from serving in the National Guard in 1972?

Vietnam was going strong; he could have flown combat missions instead of flying the coop."

Albert M. Barney Jr., Kunkletown
The Morning Call, Allentown PA, Aug 2, 2003

"Alf Young tells us that Iraq "is not George W Bush's Vietnam". We can all agree on that point. George likes wars but has always been a wee bit squeamish about actually taking part in them. During the Vietnam conflict Bush senior used his influence to shoehorn his son into the Texas Air Guard as a trainee fighter pilot to gain exemption from the real fighting in Vietnam where he might get hurt. Even the Air Guard proved too harrowing for our weekend warrior and he deserted after a year. He was never called to account for his actions. Thirty years on it is heartening to see him still leading from the rear."

Dickie Alexander, 32 Marlborough Street, Edinburgh
The Herald, Glasgow (UK), Jul 19, 2003

"Reading of the combat death and funeral of Tennessee National Guard Sgt. Roger Dale Rowe invoked feelings of sadness and anger. Here's a guy, 55 years old, a grandpa to seven kids, who goes off to Iraq willingly to defend his country.

That's what defenders do for their family and land. They trust their commander in chief's decision to fight. Rowe answered the call and paid the ultimate price.

George W. Bush should be glad there are people like Roger Dale Rowe because when Bush skipped out on his last year of duty in the Texas National Guard, he got away with it. No amount of wearing Navy flight jackets and landing on aircraft carriers is going to wipe away that shameful act."

Chuck Wyrostok, Spencer
The Charleston [WV] Gazette, Jul 31, 2003

"As American soldiers, far from home, fight and die in Iraq for a cause most of them don't believe in, being bombed and ambushed on a daily basis by die-hard Iraqi patriots, the unelected president offers cold comfort and asks them to "hang tough." This is rich coming from a man who went Awol from the Alabama Air National Guard in 1972, as his Commanding Officer, William Turnispeed, put it bluntly. "He never showed up." Also, the 600-700 members of the unit that Mr Bush was meant to serve with, but didn't, do not remember him being there either. Mr Bush must have been "hanging tough" somewhere else at the time."

Peter MacKay, Queenstown
The Southland Times, Invercargill, NZ, July 21, 2003

"...Then Mr. Stearns astonishingly compared our president's "Bring 'em on!" to the slogans of that long list of heroes: Farragut, Patrick Henry, Gen. Patton and others. President Bush, who politicked his way past thousands of applicants into the Texas National Guard, then went "AWOL" from his unit, puffed himself up in the safety of the White House to invite "their gang" to meet "his gang" on the battlefields of Iraq."

Richard Williams, Palmyra
The Patriot - News, Harrisburg PA, Jul 23, 2003 pg A09

"In regard to the article on the News' July 2 syndicated Mini Page, "Presidents who served as citizen soldiers," I was appalled to see President Bush's picture included with other presidents who served in the National Guard. While a member of the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam, he went AWOL, disappearing for 18 months or more, and got away with it."

Roy H. Watson, Lakewood
Rocky Mountain News, 7/21/03

"Cartner said that he looked up draft dodger on the Internet and didn't see George W. Bush. Well, he should have looked up AWOL and Bush's so-called National Guard record and how he was able to dodge the draft by sneaking into the Guard with the lowest score...

He stated, "He [Bush] respects the military and doesn't 'loathe' it." Then, why was Bush AWOL? He sends our troops into harm's way looking for so-called weapons of mass destruction and then turns around and slashes benefits for the veterans?"

Jim McDowell, Roanoke
Roanoke [VA} Times & World News, Jul 20, 2003

"...American soldiers have been under relentless attack from guerilla warriors since Bush, strutting in his Top Gun outfit declared the war over. "Bring `em on," says the commander-in-chief, inviting the enemy to attack our troops as worried families wonder if they'll ever see their sons and daughters again. Did you ever hear of any responsible commander encouraging the enemy to attack? "Bring `em on," says the commander-in-chief, who, when his country called, hid in the Texas Air National Guard and then deserted his unit for 18 months at the height of the Vietnam War.

Bob Zendels, Healdsburg
The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa CA, Jul 19, 2003

"...In the second year of his civilian service in the Air National Guard in Alabama, Bush disappeared. For the whole year, even his commanding general did not know where he was. He fought as a soldier nary a day, yet he had the audacity to show up on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in an S-3B Viking in the full leather-bound regalia of a proud U.S. airman to celebrate a shaky victory in a questionable war. "

Tom Schroth, Sedgwick
Bangor [ME] Daily News, Jul 21, 2003

"...It is regrettable that so many American military personnel have died since President Bush paraded abroad the USS Abraham Lincoln in his flight suit pretending to be "Top Gun." The commander in chief with an AWOL record insulted all present and past military with that performance. What was worse, though, was that he made history when he became the only commander in chief ever to have ordered our military into harm's way needlessly and based on a series of lies."

Patricia A. Lavins, Vero Beach
Palm Beach Post, July 19, 2003

"Bring 'em on," the commander in chief snarled, speaking about Iraqis murdering our troops. Look who is talking tough -- a man who served stateside with the Air National Guard yet went AWOL during the Vietnam War.

I wonder whether he would be so bold if his kids were patrolling those dangerous districts. They are the age of lots of young women who face death every day because of the president's unnecessary invasion. Maybe he could loan them top-gun flight suits for photo ops so they would feel they were part of his "mission accomplished" gig.

John Morse, West Palm Beach
Palm Beach (FL) Post 7/19/03

"The Republican Party is in a quagmire with a president who is running scared and therefore spends most of his time campaigning so that he will have millions of dollars to try to convince voters to vote for him.

His military record in the Texas Air Guard will be a big issue in the 2004 election. There was talk on the television show “Crossfire” that he was AWOL while in the Air Guard. This certainly will not set well with American voters."

Jim Lynd, Aumsville
Statesman Journal, Salem OR - July 17, 2003

It was a no-brainer that President Bush’s reaction to the attacks on our troops in Iraq was “bring them on.” He’s not there. He’s not feeling the day-to-day heat and the stress of being away from home and getting shot at and maybe killed. Bush sure is a tough guy. So tough, in fact, that he was in the National Guard during the Vietnam War flying over Texas, and during part of that time was absent without leave. Nobody seems to remember that. People should do some research. So let’s all rally around Bush and support the Iraqis to “bring them on.” And let’s keep our troops in a dangerous position while our government tries to figure out what its next move will be.


One last question: How long are we going to sit around and let our friends, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, aunts and uncles stay in Iraq? What is the magic number of dead American troops that has to be reached before Bush gets tired of telling Iraqis to “bring it on”?

Jason Mayfield, Hanau, Germany
STARS AND STRIPES, July 13, 2003

"THE WORDS OF POLITICAL LEADERS OFTEN LEAVE THINKING PEOPLE BAFFLED OR EVEN ANGERED, BUT GEORGE W. BUSH'S RECENT UTTERANCE ON ANTI-US ATTACKS IN IRAQ SHOCKED ME. Did he actually say, from his position of physical safety and comfort, "bring them on" (Page A19, July 3)?

Perhaps someone should remind him that military duty in Iraq is much more dangerous than the Vietnam-era Texas Air National Guard duty from which he went AWOL.

The thoughtlessness, audacity, and hypocrisy in Bush's latest macho posturing are breathtaking. If my father, son, mother, or daughter were risking his or her life on the hot sands of Iraq, I'd have burst a blood vessel."

DAN CARSEN, Brookline
Boston Globe, Jul 8, 2003

"Bring 'em on," the president taunted from his secure location. And the Iraqis did just that.

I say bring on an investigation into why Americans are dying because of Bush's lying.

--Martin Heldt, Clinton
Des Moines Register, 7/9/03

"No doubt Bush parrots were impressed when Bush sold his interest in the Texas Rangers after taxpayers had paid for a new stadium, or when he divested his Harken Energy stock without filing required notification with the Security and Exchange Commission, or in 1968, when a slot was created for him in the Texas Air National Guard for a sixyear enlistment, which he reneged on by refusing to take a physical in 1972.

Both Mr. Ghighi and Rush Limbaugh believe Bush has integrity, character and is thoroughly honest. Limbaugh says Bush is a real magician. Who else could make a $281 billion surplus disappear and 2.5 million jobs vanish, while cutting funds for the Veterans Administration and Medicare?"

Donald M. Moore, Washington
Journal Star, Peoria IL Jul 9, 2003

"...Our fellow Americans in uniform are being misused and they know it for the most part. Gulf War vets are painfully aware that the Bush family and the Pentagon will do very little for their sick and injured who return to civilian life.

As Scott Ritter, an ex-Marine and a Republican put it, "Bush was a deserter from his unit during the Vietnam War. He doesn't know what it means to support the troops."

Nelson Booth, Fairbanks
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 7/7/03

"One of the most hypocritical sights I've ever seen was George W. Bush in full flight gear strutting around the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln at the end of the Iraq invasion. Given that he was AWOL from his National Guard post for over a year, Bush's actions were insulting to all former and present military personnel.

Now, according to The Army Times, we learn that the White House fought a proposal to double the $6,000 gratuity paid to families of troops who die on active duty, and it wants to roll back recent increases in monthly imminent-danger pay (from $225 to $150) and family-separation allowance (from $250 to $100) for troops getting shot at in combat zones.

The White House budget proposal for 2004 also cuts $1.5 billion of the $9.2 billion military construction request, ensuring that a lot of military housing will remain substandard. President Bush's fiscal year 2004 budget plan even proposes to cut Impact Aid funding by over $200 million, with the entire reduction to come from the portion designed to support the education of children of military personnel..."

Robert Hildebrand, Salt Lake City
The Salt Lake Tribune, 7/6/2003

"Some added information to the less-than-glorious history of George W. Bush getting into the Texas National Guard during the Vietnam War.

According to the Web site www.realchange.org: On May 27, 1968, Bush was 12 days away from losing his student draft deferment, at a time when 350 Americans a week were being killed in Vietnam.

The National Guard had a long waiting list.

Bush has admitted lobbying one Col. Buck Staudt who approved him after oil magnet Sid Adger called Texas Speaker of the House Ben Barnes, who called Gen. James Rose, head of the Texas National Guard to get Bush into the Guard. "

Malcolm McHenry, Naples
Naples Daily News, June 29, 2003

"In the not too distant past, one of America's supposed moral religious leaders ran around with a videotape calling the then- president a liar and a murderer, the tape of an abortion being the evidence.

Well, today that same supposed moral leader is conspicuously absent, as is the majority of Americans regarding the president.

The present president, who went AWOL in the Vietnam days, committed essentially the same crimes Martha Stewart is accused of (see Harken Energy), and lied, twisted and embellished the truth on Iraq, causing the loss of over 3,200 Iraqi civilian lives, plus the 150-plus American and British lives, has been nothing but rewarded and praised for his crimes. "

Fred R. Penix, Hurricane
The Charleston [WV] Gazette, Jun 23, 2003

"...I must say that not since Joseph Goebbels has the government of a major Western nation been able to convince its populace that the dogmatic and ethnocentric geopolitical doctrine of a megalomaniac is somehow unbridled truth.

It is a matter of record that not only did George W. Bush use his daddy's political connections to avoid service in Vietnam but that he also went AWOL from the Texas Air Guard.

Wow. A deserter, a coward and a complete idiot to boot..."

Alexander Powell, Fort Wayne
Journal - Gazette, Ft. Wayne IN, Jun 18, 2003

"Frantic critics of President George W. Bush should immediately cease their panic attacks of the American failure to locate even a single Iraqi weapon of mass destruction. Please regain your composure and your sanity! There is absolutely nothing to fear since any such weapons have been safely placed in the custody of the same people who have possession of George W. Bush's strangely missing complete Texas Air National Guard personnel records from 1972-1973. As long as both are in their custody, the American public (and George W. Bush) have absolutely nothing to fear!"

Mark Wilson, Coppell
Dallas Morning News 6/17/03

"Your article in which House Speaker Doug Mays believes that the numbers of current National Guard members are inflated should come as no surprise considering the fact that our current Fearless Leader Bush was absent from duty in the Texas Air National Guard in 1972. He failed to appear for his annual flight physical in August of that year and was therefor grounded. He was then ordered into an Alabama unit but nominal superiors and some 600 members of the unit never saw the guy.

As Doug Mays says, this looseness in handling numbers has been observed in "several other states." By this, I assume he means Texas and Alabama.

When right-wingers unjustly decry President Clinton as being a draft dodger (he wasn't --- he just had a high draft lottery number), I hope they pause to reflect on the behavior of the AWOL future president. He wasn't a cowardly deserter, just a pampered rich kid who took advantage of higher-up Daddy's friends.

His jet landing on the aircraft carrier is a farce of public relations. I hope nobody thinks this guy is some kind of national hero. He is a very, very bad joke. "

Richard Adams, Topeka
Topeka Capital Journal, Topeka KS, Jun 16, 2003

"Wasn't Bush's going AWOL as a National Guard pilot during the Vietnam War deserving of the kind of investigative reporting focused on Clinton's efforts to avoid the draft?"

Charley McKenna, Manhattan New York Newsday June 13, 2003

"Does the Bush administration have egg on its face, a TV political analyst asked, regarding the lack of any weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. That's a timely question when we recall the months-long bugle tune calling us to battle, urging immediate support for the war as the danger of weapons of mass destruction allegedly nipped at our heels. Surrounded by a Cabinet of hawks, flapping their wings in anticipation of testing the arsenal of drones and smart bombs, Bush (our commander in chief who played hooky from his tour of National Guard duty) was salivating at the thought of an easy victory."

Yvonne Dollard, Sarasota
Sarasota Herald-Tribune June 10, 2003

"In response to the letter from Ms. Pennington in Hurricane, no, West Virginians do not love Mr. Bush. I talk to lots of people across the state. Mr. Bush is not well liked in West Virginia, while Sen. Byrd is one of the most respected politicians in this state, and country.

I do believe that it was inappropriate for the president to land a jet on an aircraft carrier, although I disagree with our esteemed senator on why. Every time he cozies up to the military, it is a slap in the face to every veteran of every war this country has fought, including those on the carrier.

Bush has been AWOL (an act of treason) since the 1970s. While my father was serving two tours of duty in Vietnam as part of 23 years service in the Air Force, "W." was running like a coward to his daddy to pull strings to get him out of military service.

"W." ruined the economy, endangered the lives of our military over WMD he can't find, shredded the Constitution, increased hatred of the United States overseas, and alienated our allies. What's to love? "

Natalie Thorpe - Mount Lookout
The Charleston Gazette, Charleston WV, Jun 9, 2003

"And of course, this war was supposed to be about those apocalyptic weapons of mass destruction which have never been found, but that is old news. While Iraq and Afghanistan lie in ruins, many news network cheerleaders are gearing up for Bush's Caligula-like war mongering ambitions for a regime change in Iran. Continuing, ad nauseam: "Top gun" President Bush flies onto aircraft carrier for photo-ops, while simultaneously cutting veterans' benefits in half. The press completely ignores this act of outrageous hypocrisy, not to mention the deafening silence pertaining to his being AWOL from the National Guard for 18 months. Our democracy is unraveling and it won't stop until irresponsible and pathetically compromised news media are held accountable."

Gerry Rempel, Eugene
guest editorial in the Oregon Daily Emerald 6/3/03

"Nationwide, letters to newspapers continue to pour in, vilifying Clinton and his many shortcomings. Such invective does nothing but further divide this nation and keep us from debating serious issues and finding consensus to move forward--not backward.

Would the writer like some Bush-bashing? He mentions Bush's so-called military service. Does he call his daddy pulling strings to get him into the Air National Guard military service? And then no one has any recollection of George Jr. even showing up. Maybe he returned instead to Yale to snort some more cocaine. Now I ask you: What purpose does that invective serve?

Instead, let's debate, for example, whether this president has a clue about this lousy, stagnant economy. And make no mistake about it, this is Bush's economy. The tax cuts of 2001 had no effect, so what makes him think the latest round of cuts will help? He also now has an outright majority in Congress, and this economy is treading water."

J. Michael Condon, Spotsylvania
The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, VA 6/2/2003

"He has shown a propensity toward playing with time and opportunity and other people's money his whole life. Like Dan Quayle, Bush found a fortunate-son style pathway into the National Guard, but was listed as having "not been observed at this unit" for a year in a May 2, 1973, performance report.

In his first year as president, he set the all-time record for most days on vacation for any president in U.S. history. He took the entire month of August off, just prior to the worst security failure in U.S. history. In his second year, he spent more time on the campaign trail (taxpayers billed) than any president in U.S. history. He can't find Osama bin Laden. He can't find Saddam Hussein, Saddam's sons or weapons of mass destruction. What he can find is a press corps willing to pander to his photo-op with no fear the "liberal press" will take that perfect opportunity to question just where he was for a full year of Guard duty, aside from avoiding Vietnam.

In fact, when was the last time you saw Bush grapple with any tough question from the press? "

Molly Brogan, Leo-Cedarville
Ft. Wayne IN Journal - Gazette, Jun 1, 2003

"Which Texas Air National Guard lieutenant spent the last 18 months of his service - April 1972 to October 1973 - in dereliction of flying duties? Also during that period he went from dereliction to one month AWOL to five to six months desertion before two written orders were necessary to get this patriot back to military service and was still derelict by not performing flying duties.

Semper fidelis, Lt. George Bush was not. Ardent boozer, yes, and won't answer drug questions.

There's still an unclaimed cash reward for any Alabama ANG member who ever saw George Bush perform any duty there April to November 1972."

Gary M. Bourret, Rural Bloomington
Pantagraph, Bloomington IL, May 30, 2003

"Do we remember the push-pull polling by Karl Rove and his party to destroy McCain's primary campaign in South Carolina? How about the attacks on the patriotism of a triple amputee Vietnam veteran when he disagreed with the policies of an AWOL ex-Air National Guard pilot? "

Ray Belongie - Fort Lauderdale
South Florida Sun - Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, May 30, 2003

"Bush had the gall to strap on a flight suit and land on a carrier only 30 miles from the coastline. Yes, it was staged and the carrier was positioned so it would look as if they were out to sea. In fact, all his appearances are staged because he is not capable of doing anything on his own.

As far as Bush's military record, he applied to join the Texas Air National Guard less than two weeks before he graduated from Yale. The country was at war in Vietnam, and at that time, an estimated 100,000 Americans were on waiting lists to join guard units across the country.

Thanks to the influence of Daddy Bush, then a Texas congressman, Bush Jr. was sworn in on the same day he applied, knowing fully well that President Johnson would not activate guard units during Vietnam.

Bush took training on an aircraft that was obsolete and being done away with. Yes, Bush was AWOL from the Guard from 1972 through 1973 and in times of war, this is treason."

Roselyn Nelson, Ashford
The Charleston Gazette, Charleston WV, May 29, 2003

"Stayskal suggests having the mendacious former journalist Jayson Blair write Clinton's autobiography. It would be more appropriate for Blair to compose an autobiography of George W. Bush. Given Blair's penchant for putting himself in places he never actually visited, he would be perfectly suited to describe Bush's Air National Guard service. By all accounts, Bush's professed presence for his final year of duty is no less fictitious than anything Blair has written.

Yet somehow the "liberal" media portray Clinton as the draft dodger and Bush as the patriot."

Lynn White, Lakeland
Tampa Tribune, May 27, 2003

"The Bush administration deceived the American public as to why the carrier landing was required, had the ship repositioned to prevent the western shore of America from appearing in the background during the address and kept a thousand or so American fighting men and women away from their friends and families for another night for the chance to have some impressive pictures when the 2004 campaign gears up.

Or was it so that George Bush could claim he’d reported back for duty after having gone AWOL during the Vietnam War? "

Galen Watts, Arbovale
The Charleston Gazette, 5/24/03

"I don't blame Capt. John Spangler (Forum, May 15) for being upset about The Tribune's editorial encouraging reporters to investigate President Bush's military record. Even a cursory investigation reveals astonishing and profoundly troubling results.

Apparently, Bush trained as a pilot and in 1972, then requested a transfer from the Texas to the Alabama National Guard. He had orders to report to the commander, a William Turnipseed, who has alleged that Bush never appeared for duty.

AWOL for more than 30 days makes you guilty of desertion, the maximum penalty for which during war time is death. Bush did not even receive a reprimand. If the information is correct, Bush should be serving time in the brig, not in the White House.

Bush has refused to disclose his military service record, while every other presidential candidate gave a full accounting. It is time for Bush to either discredit the allegations or admit that he is hiding a disgraceful performance."

Gene Fitzgerald, Salt Lake City
The Salt Lake Tribune, 5/21/03

"...And I'm sure I don't have to remind you of the recent Bush "bomber pilot" photo-op, which required the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to float around in circles until his arrival and delayed the return home of all those soldiers and sailors by at least a day.

Yet not a discouraging word could be heard from the top-of-the-line TV news commentators, who were narrating the Bush flyover as though it was a runway fashion show. Not once did anyone point out that in his National Guard days he'd actually been suspended from flying for failing to take a mandatory physical — including a drug test — or that after the suspension he never piloted a plane again. ... "

Francis Volpe, Editorial Column
The Sentinel, May 20, 2003

"Veterans might be interested in this, as well as the soon-to-be veterans who were "treated" to the president's visit aboard their aircraft carrier. (This is the same guy, by the way, who went AWOL and didn't finish his last year of duty in the cushy National Guard unit in Alabama, even though he was ordered to do so.)

Here is President Bush's record on issues of real concern to actual soldiers and sailors:

Bush is great at making photo ops that might enhance his chances in the next presidential election, but as a veteran of World War II and a champion of all veterans, present and future, I would suggest you take a close look at this commander-in-chief before you vote for him again."

Richard E. Sndyer, Jamestown
The Modesto Bee, May 16 2003

"Donning a flight suit further demonstrates the disdain for those who serve our country proudly by a man who cannot account for a full 17 months of his purported military service in a National Guard unit, alleged to be a refuge for the offspring of the elite.

How much of this posturing are we veterans of actual military service expected to endure?"

John M. Sovitsky, Fredericksburg
Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg VA 5/14/2003

"It was shameful for a man with the tarnished military record that Bush has to strut about on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and play the role of combat pilot alongside real combat veterans who, unlike Bush, really did risk their lives for this country. It was even more shameful for a journalist to fail to report about Bush's spotty military record."

Jody Bong, San Diego
San Diego Union - Tribune, May 14, 2003

"In brief: In 1968 Bush weaseled his way into the Texas Air National Guard to avoid the Vietnam draft. Since he scored embarrassingly low on the pilot aptitude test, his admission required a little greasing of the system (and we know how oily the Bush family is). Over the first five years of his six-year service, he was AWOL on several occasions and eventually lost his flying privileges after missing a physical (coincidentally after the Guard decided to test for drugs). Finally, a year before his "service" was up, he was relieved to attend Harvard Business School, and from there he would eventually go on to represent major oil industries in one of the most blatant puppet presidencies ever to take place under the guise of democracy."

Steele Taylor, Boulder
Boulder Daily Camera, May 14, 2003

"Odds are the Democrats did not pursue this in 2000 because it would have led to more discussion about President Bill Clinton's draft-dodging. We should revive the story now. Not only does President Bush play up his National Guard career, his latest stunt on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln makes it obvious that he will use the military for maximum political gain in the upcoming election. It is therefore necessary for the country to learn if the president went AWOL back in 1972 and, if true, decide how appropriate it is for a deserter to remain as commander-in-chief."

David Marshall, Sebastopol
The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa CA, May 13, 2003

"Many of our outstanding politicians were war heroes. Eisenhower, McCain, Kennedy and Dole, to name a few, never waved their uniforms to gain a political advantage. Now President Bush takes full political advantage as commander in chief, landing on the Lincoln in uniform when his military service consisted of skipping more than a year of National Guard Service, which kept him out of Vietnam -- hypocrisy not worthy of the commander in chief."

Willard R. Terry, San Diego
San Diego Union - Tribune, May 12, 2003

"Thirty-plus years have passed since our appointed president, George W. Bush, walked away from his Air National Guard Unit.

Now he has returned, landing on the carrier Abe Lincoln in full combat gear! I was wondering if he by chance flew by the Vietnam Memorial and tipped his plane's wings to the 55,000 heroes he deserted?"

James P. Cummings, Nisswa, Minn.
Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 10, 2003

"The flight deck of the Lincoln is not Bush's personal playground, and our warplanes are not his private toys. I can't help thinking that Bush might have gotten over his desire for in- flight thrills had he not gone missing for two years from the National Guard.

His reason for flying aboard the carrier was to tell us that major hostilities in Iraq were over. I hope it didn't spoil the president's fun, but earlier in that day, six soldiers were injured in a grenade attack. Sounds like pretty serious hostilities to me."

Paul Mulcahy, Lake in the Hills
Arlington Heights IL Daily Herald, May 10, 2003

"How is it possible that a man who was AWOL for almost a year and a half from the National Guard during Vietnam and never flew again after refusing to take drug tests could be allowed to appear in public and in our media in a uniform? Yes, I am talking about Bush.

His important friends scrubbed much of the record, but not enough. And this man wants to declare a Loyalty Day? Give me a break."

Shirley Bryant, Muskogee
Tulsa World, May 10, 2003

"There can be no greater affront to the Lincoln's courageous crew, and all military personnel who have risked their lives in hostile conditions, than to be used as a backdrop for a politically motivated photo op by the same George W. Bush who used political connections to dodge the draft and neglect his Texas National Guard stint."

- Douglass Chatfield, Elk Grove

"Tinpot dictators dress up in military outfits, not U.S. presidents, even those with heroic service records. Yet there's our president, strutting before the cameras in a Top Gun jumpsuit.

While war raged in Vietnam, Bush could rarely find time to show up for his National Guard meetings. "

- Kim Weir, Chico

"Having learned nothing from [the USS Greenville] episode, President Bush's willingness to place himself and Navy personnel in jeopardy for a political photo op because "he wanted to" qualifies as "joyriding" and is not behavior one would expect from a wise and mature leader."

- Richard Tobias, West Sacramento

"In 1972, Bush was serving in the Texas Air National Guard. In May, 1972, our future commander in chief sought a transfer from Houston, where he flew F-102s on weekends, to a unit in Montgomery, Ala. There, instead of fulfilling his military obligations, he worked on the U.S. Senate campaign of a friend of his father's. Records indicate Bush failed his annual flight physical in 1972 and never flew again. Officer efficiency reports from 1973 indicate that his supervisors hadn't seen him during 1972.

Why is there no relentless examination of this?"

- Pat Driscoll, Sacramento President, Chapter 87, Veterans for Peace

(All four of the above in The Sacramento Bee, Sunday May 11, 2003)

"IF, AS Ari Fleischer said, George W. Bush decided to fly the jet because he wanted to see what it is like for pilots (''White House defends jet flight,'' Page A7, May 7), perhaps he should have served his time in the Air National Guard instead of going AWOL during Vietnam (after using Daddy's clout to jump the line to get a slot in the Guard in the first place).

If he wanted so badly to wear a neat Top Gun uniform and sit in the cockpit of a killing machine, maybe he shouldn't have deserted his unit in the 1970s."

Mary-Anne Greanier, Plainville, The Boston Globe 5/11/03

"The sinking feeling that the military was being co-opted by the Republican right started during those horrible days after the 2000 election. Absentee ballots from our men and women in uniform were thought to be disproportionately in favor of George W. Bush and the Republican Party. Never mind that Al Gore was a veteran of Vietnam while Bush was an AWOL National Guardsman.

...the blatant politicization of the military may be the most poisonous legacy that Bush leaves this nation. We must reverse this trend."

Timothy Kirk, Needham, The Boston Globe 5/11/03

"Yet when Bush had the opportunity as a Texas Air National Guard member to be trained as a pilot and potentially fly in battle during the Vietnam conflict, he went AWOL. Unlike Bush, during and since Vietnam, hundreds if not thousands of Reserve and Air National Guard pilots have responded to their call to duty, served their country and, unfortunately, many lost their lives in the process. Therefore, in many ways I find it very disrespectful to all who served bravely for Bush to play dress-up and emulate a pilot now, when he had his chance during Vietnam."

R. Johnson, Wheeling
Chicago Sun - Times, May 9, 2003

"All carrier landings are inherently dangerous. By staging an unnecessary one, Bush recklessly endangered himself and shipboard personnel. Worse still, he delayed by a day the reunion between troops and families -- for the sake of a campaign photo opportunity.

Most sinister was his appearing in military costume. The bedrock of our Constitution is that the military is under the control of a civilian government. Even Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy, who had authentic military careers, never appeared in uniform as president. For Bush, the chronically AWOL National Guard pilot, to swagger around in a flight suit was not only the height of arrogance and a direct assault on the Constitution, it was un-American."

PARKER DeWITT, Palm Springs
The Press - Enterprise, Riverside CA, May 9, 2003

"It should be pointed out that the "Top Gun" Mr. Bush avoided a year of the National Guard term that kept him out of active combat in Vietnam and that Mr. Bush's triumphalistic assertion that getting rid of Saddam removed "an ally" of Al Qaeda is not supported by evidence. In view of Mr. Bush's exaggerations, innuendos, fabrication of facts and use of manipulated intelligence to justify his war on Iraq, it would have been more appropriate for him to have descended onto the carrier's deck in a hot-air balloon."

The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa CA, May 9, 2003

"Now that you've printed Paul Krugman's column stating that our commander in chief is a deserter who let others do his fighting for him during Vietnam, how about assigning a reporter to find out if that's true? Your readers deserve to know just who their president is and it would be doing us all a valuable service. If you have the nerve, that is.

RIK ELSWIT, San Francisco

Editor's note: A Boston Globe investigation published May 24, 2000, found no evidence that President Bush fulfilled his National Guard service in 1972- 73.

San Francisco Chronicle, 5/8/03

"Has the president no shame?

Robert J. Havel, Longwood, Orlando Sentinel May 6, 2003

"In 1972, I lost my first husband, a Marine Corps pilot flying from the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea in the Gulf of Tonkin. He remained in MIA status for eight years before being declared dead officially by the Department of Defense in 1980.

I could not help being reminded of this 30-year-old tragedy while taking in this week's quintessential photo op of President Bush alighting from a fighter jet in full flight gear onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln ("Bush flies high," Page A-1, May 2). It affected me on a deeply personal level.

Ellen Remore, Old Tappan
The Record, Bergen County NJ, May 7, 2003

"Despite this gross absence, Bush was never reprimanded. His nervous commanding officers probably thought that wouldn't have been prudent, considering their bad boy's privileged pedigree. Instead, they let him off the hook so he could attend Harvard Business School, unencumbered by any further military obligations.

CORD MacGUIRE, Boulder, Boulder Daily Camera

"It is ironic that Mr. Bush would have his picture taken in military garb while fraternizing with the troops, considering he sat out the Vietnam War in the Texas Air National Guard.

HARRY GOUREVITCH, Washington, The Washington Post Wednesday, May 7, 2003

"The Friday issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer showed President Bush on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, wearing a military flight suit. It should be remembered that, while supposedly on active duty himself in the Texas National Guard, Bush did not report for that duty between May 1972 and October 1973. I can think of no greater insult to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces than the "photo op" you displayed as news.

Gregory Gadow, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 4, 2003

"Remember Bill Clinton, who disgraced the Oval Office by having a lover and avoided the Vietnam war? The national news media and hostile politicians highlighted these topics for nearly eight years and continue to do sop.

Lets compare how these same people portray George W. Bush, the non-president. He is referred to as a God-fearing Christian, trustworthy, honorable man of integrity. Goodness, this guy is almost Christ-like, right?

Now the rest of the story. Bush desertd his Air National Guard unit during the Vietnam war, thus avoiding going to Vietnam, for which he received no prison term and was awarded an honorable discharge for his bravery. He denied being a deserter because he remembers being present for duty.

Military records indicate that Bush is a liar. But the more troubling thing is that he is also a hypocrite and pretends that he is above lying. As a liar he reinforces our assumptions abouty politicians. As a hypocrite he reinforces our assumptions about his character.

Why have his military records received almost no scrutiny by the media? The news media has the same access to Bush's military records that we do, but continue to do the American public a great disservice with this Bush cover-up.

Don't take my word for it folks, do your own research. Bush's militrary records have been obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Lee Parker Weidman MI.

"President Bush won't face questioning by the press, but he personalizes the end of Iraq War hostilities with the most self-serving photo-op ever, of him in a pilot outfit flying onto an aircraft carrier at sea in a fighter jet.

But why stop there? Why not solemnize the completion of his very own war by issuing a presidential amnesty for himself for deserting our armed forces during the Vietnam War? Truly, the greatest redemption story since Easter.

Mike Finley, St. Paul, Minn. Star-Tribune May 3, 2003

"It is ironic that a president who was reported to have been missing from his National Guard duty for more than a year landed on an aircraft carrier yesterday decked out in full military garb.

It is obvious that we will see these pictures over and over again as he runs for reelection.

Aaron Tepp, St. Paul, Minn. Star-Tribune May 3, 2003

"As popular as he is, not one person to my knowledge has come forth and said, "I served with Lt. George W. Bush in the Alabama Guard." An Associated Press article dated June 25, 2000, which I cut out of The Chronicle, says in part that they were looking for people who served with him to verify his story that he did.

Of all the men who served in that Alabama Guard Unit when Lt. Bush was supposed to be assigned there, you would think at least one would come forth so that President Bush could have a photo op with that person. "

Richard Renew, Martinez, Ga.
Augusta Chronicle April 29, 2003

"When I see a public policy of aggression made from the safety of government offices by chicken hawks with no real military background, I will speak my mind. Vice President Cheney had not one, but five military deferments and President Bush has an unexplained gap of 18 months in his National Guard tour of duty.

BARBARA JEZIORO, Buffalo, Buffalo News, Apr 13, 2003.

"According to his commanding officer, as reported by the magazine, Bush never showed up for duty, nor can anyone confirm he ever served in the Guard again.

Sarah Albright, Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Press Apr 2, 2003

"I would like to ask just exactly what President Bush has done to make everyone believe that he is a strong Christian man.

Would it be his outstanding stint in the Texas Air National Guard, where he was admitted the same day he applied even though there was a year-and-a-half waiting list?

Would it be the fact that he was reportedly AWOL for an entire year with no penalty? Would it be the fact that he reportedly stopped taking the required yearly physicals when drug testing became mandatory? Would it be the millions of dollars he made through inside information and political contacts of his father? Would it be his DUI arrest, alleged drug use and partying frat boy image?

Kevin Lusk, Asheville, Asheville Citizen-Times 4/10/03

"President George W. Bush successfully evaded service in Vietnam by taking refuge in the Texas National Guard, where, to be charitable, his record could hardly be termed inspiring. (Check it out yourself.)

Richard Clark, Salt Lake City Tribune April 09, 2003

"I am a Purple Heart Vietnam veteran who has participated in some of the Portland peace rallies. I do not consider myself a coward. I served in Vietnam in 1970. By then, it was accepted that the Vietnam War was not a good war. I did not relish going there; however, like most of our soldiers, I considered it my patriotic duty to answer my country's call.

During that same time frame, a rich kid, also from Texas, graduated college and was about to lose his deferment. The rich kid's dad, a U.S. representative, pulled some political strings and got the kid accepted into the Texas Air National Guard -- jumping over several hundred others already on the waiting list.

After going through initial training, the rich kid was put on "special assignment" and spent most of the remainder of his two years of active duty working on the campaign staffs of two U.S. Senate candidates...

Ron Chassie, West Linn, The Oregonian 4/8/03

"...It is frightening to realize that this entire war has been orchestrated by draft dodgers.

Through his father´s connections, President-select Bush bypassed the National Guard´s 100,000-name waiting list to get instant admittance to the Texas Air National Guard, thereby avoiding combat in Vietnam.

Thanks again to his father´s connections, he became an instant second lieutenant.

Even with these benefits, Bush has been unable to account for a year of his service.

Meanwhile, Vice President-select Dick Cheney used student deferments to avoid serving in the military. (And to think the right-wing crazies had a conniption over Bill Clinton.)..."

Gary Bennett, Emmett; April 5 2003 Idaho Statesman

"...Bush has said he moved to Montgomery in May 1972 and attended drills with an Alabama Guard unit. However, no records show that Bush ever did such duty. Retired General William Turnipseed, who commanded the Alabama unit back then, said in a 2000 interview that Bush never appeared for duty there.

In May 1973, a half year after Bush returned from Alabama, Bush's two commanders in Houston said he had not been seen at his unit in 12 months. There is no record that Bush showed up for the periodic drills required of part-time guardsmen during that year.

In the fall of 1973, Bush was reassigned because he disobeyed orders to show up for a mandatory flight physical and was, therefore, unable to fulfill the last two years of his six-year obligation as an Air National Guard jet fighter pilot. No records of a mandatory military board of inquiry are known to exist.

It's good to be the king."

Dana Hatcher, Greensboro, NC; News-Record April 5, 2003

"This war is being waged by a president who used his privileged family status to avoid service in Vietnam. He went AWOL as a member of the Air National Guard during that war and faced no consequences. Now this unconstitutionally installed chicken-hawk president has the audacity to send our armed forces overseas to die, not for freedom, but to create lucrative opportunities for corporate America in a post-Hussein Iraq."

Hudson Dodd, Bellingham, Mar. 26- Apr. 1 Seattle Weekly

You may have noticed that I never described George W. Bush as a "dim-witted, coke-snorting, AWOL-half-the-time, unelected daddy's boy." If I did, I am sure letters would come pouring in calling me unpatriotic or, even more silly, "a liberal."

John Osborne, Tracys Landing, March 22, 2003, The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

"Clinton is a draft dodger? Tell me where George W. Bush was in his last year of National Guard Duty. Or why he served his last year in Alabama when he is from Texas. Or why Phil Gramm blocked Clinton's attempts to cut off funding to groups that siphoned money off to terrorists. Or how loudly you would be screaming if Clinton instead of Bush had his picture taken with the professor who raised money for Hamas. One-sided theorists are silly. You just sound like a syncophant who doesn't waste time with facts.

— Sam Greenfield, New York, New York, SeattleTimes.Com March 18, 2003

"The Bush administration tells us that Saddam Hussein and the al- Qaida will work together to attack us, but Osama bin Laden has once again called on the Iraqi people to overthrow the "infidel" Saddam. They tell us that Iraq is our enemy and a great threat to our safety, but reports of those who have traveled there say the country is in terrible shape and the population is living as refugees in their own country. Perhaps, if George Jr. hadn't gotten out of his National Guard Unit and had served some time in Vietnam, he would realize what a complete horror modern war is - and he might not be so anxious to have his war."

Dean Williamson, Santa Fe, The Santa Fe New Mexican 3/9/03

"When I was in the Army during World War II, if you went absent without leave, you would be either shot or do a lot of time in Leavenworth. How come George W. Bush didn't get shot? Vietnam was going hot and heavy at the time he went AWOL."

Don Franks, South Elgin, Arlington Heights IL Daily Herald 3/3/2003

"Our president can never feel the pain of the soldiers he has placed in harm's way because he is still AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard. He never served in combat like his father. He was never activated to serve in any capacity.

"...Recently, our economy has taken a hard hit and as usual the most needy of our veterans are being asked to make the big sacrifice. Disabled veterans are being turned away by the Veteran's Administration. New drugs are denied to veterans seeking care. Hiring freezes and budget cuts have left hospitals and clinics with little choice but to turn down care for all but the most severely disabled veterans. Our military hospitals are also hard hit and can only give limited care to active-duty soldiers and their families. They do give excellent free care to members of Congress, the president and past presidents and their families.

"Will the returning soldiers of the war on terror and the war in Iraq fare any better? Not if President Bush has any say in the matter. He and his friends have been trying to get rid of the VA ever since Richard Nixon and refuse to see it as a cost of war. Many of us can't buy health insurance at any price or hold a job that might include benefits. Our returning sons and daughters may be in the same boat.

"Tell your representatives and president to keep the doors of the VA open."

David L. Rothgeb, Bradenton, Bradenton, Fl Herald 2/23/03

"However, we veterans are most impressed by the sacrifices of Vietnam-era veteran George W. Bush, who lost his memory for nearly a whole year concerning where he was and what he was doing from mid-1972 to mid-1973 when he was supposed to be serving in the Texas Air National Guard."

Chris Riser, Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2/17/03 (at bottom)


"Why did the Republican Party forsake a great American hero and go with a person who was and is a deserter, a person who has failed at everything he’s ever tried, and always had his father or the Bush name to bail him out?"

- S.L. McKechnie, Billings [MT], the Billings Outpost


"President Bush didn't want to go to war when he joined the National Guard, then went AWOL for two years. Why should he be permitted to send our brave young fighting men to war when he wouldn't go himself?"

- Max Payne, Ducktown, Tn., Chattanoogan.com 2/7/03


"Notable US administration officials Dick Cheney, Andrew Card, Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, Paul Wolfowitz, John Ashcroft and Karl Rove all came of age during the Vietnam war. Each and every single one of them found a way to avoid service.

Each of these men has, in the last several months, gone out of their way to push hard for military solutions to political problems. Foremost on this list, however, is a certain George W Bush, who was eased into a National Guard posting in Texas in 1972, and who by all accounts failed to even show up for this duty for some 17 months.


Stand behind the young soldiers and wave a flag for them, as they are mere cannon fodder for this fascist clique."

- George C. Custer, Bangkok Post 2/10/03


"The irony is, of course, that our county is about to go to war led by a man who deserted his own military post during a time of armed conflict back in the early '70s. Bush failed to report for his Air National Guard duty during part of 1972 and 1973.

Do we really want to send our American servicemen and -women into armed combat, knowing some of them will not be coming back, when the commander-in-chief is still AWOL? I wonder, Is this not an impeachable offense?"

Gil Christner, Los Angeles, Newsday.com 1/30/03


"If Kerry gets the nomination, Americans will have a clear choice - a decorated Vietnam veteran turned antiwar protestor who will think carefully before sending our children to war or a guy who went AWOL during Vietnam."

DAVID HYDE, Cambridge, Boston Globe Dec. 10 (?) 2002


"I'd like my Republican friends to explain why a Democratic president can be impeached over petty lies about consensual sex, while it's fine for a Republican to desert his post during the Vietnam War, continue to lie about it and get away with it."

Will Easton, SF Chronicle 10/11/2002


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