Skip to comments.Debunking The Bush AWOL Story - From The Horse's Mouth
Posted on 02/06/2004 3:58:26 PM PST by Hon
I just got off the phone about an hour ago with Brig. Gen. William R. Turnipseed. He is the sole source for the four year old story that Bush was AWOL during his National Guard service.
Mr. Turnipseed is very unhappy with the way what he said "casually" four years ago has been twisted by the "Bush haters" (his words) in the media, especially the Boston Globe (who first reported the story) and the New York Times.
In a nutshell here is what happened, according to Turnipseed. Back in 1972 his Alabama National Guard unit received a letter from Bush (who was in the Texas Nation Guard) asking if he while he was in Alabama do some equivalancy training with the Alabama unit.
Turnipseed said that this request was as a matter of routine turned over to his administrative assistant, Lott, who wrote back to Bush, giving him the dates of the next unit drills. Lott told Bush he could report for those dates.
Neither Turnipseed nor Lott can now remember whether Bush appeared for these drills or not. Turnipseed says he himself might not have even been around the base at the time, so he wouldn't know one way or the other. And he says he has always said this.
The points Turnipseed wanted to stress are these: Bush was never ordered to report for duty to his unit. Since Bush was in the Texas National Guard and Turnipseed was in the Alabama National Guard, he couldn't have ordered him even if he had wanted to. But he didn't want to.
He (or his assistant, Lott) simply gave Bush the dates he could report if he wanted to do equivalency training with them. There were no orders given. If he showed up or didn't show up, it wasn't their concern.
Additionally, Turnipseed says that he never once said anything about Bush being "AWOL." He said it isn't even a term used in the National Guard. And anyway, as already noted, Bush's training record was not his concern, but the Texas National Guard's.
He said that since the Texas National Guard gave him an honorable discharge it shows that he fulfilled his training requirements.
Turnipseed said that the media has constantly misrepresented what he said and edited him so as to make Bush look bad.
He also said that he had no idea who Bush was, and that he certainly didn't do him any special favors. Nor would he have.
He said that when he first spoke to the Boston Globe reporter about this four years ago he didn't realize he was talking to a "Bush hater."
Turnipseed is a strong Bush supporter. He said that he has been contacted many times especially recently, by "Bush haters" in the media, who try to get him to say that Bush was AWOL. Once they realize that he won't cooperate they lose interest in talking to him. When they do quote him, they say he is backpedaling--even though he is still saying the same exact thing he told them four years ago.
He has been recently asked to go on with Peter Jennings and NBC's Dateline, but he is concerned that they will edit him in such a way as to misrepresent his story again. I have been in touch with Fox news, in hopes that they will have somebody talk to him and try to present his story fairly.
Bottom line, this whole AWOL story was media spin from the git-go. The Boston Globe reporter simply cherry picked Turnipseed's comments and totally misrepresented him--to make Bush look bad.
And the media are still doing it four years later. They should be ashamed--but they have no shame. They have only their agenda.
That being said, I remember from my days of drilling that when people didn't show up for drills they usually threatened them with 45 days ACDUTRA. I don't remember hearing about anyone EVER being charged with AWOL for missing drills.
Almost thought this was another one of those in a long line of stories about Kerry spouting off his mouth over the unfounded Bush was AWOL charge.
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