Skip to comments.Here Is Why The Boston Globe Guard Piece is a Smear
Posted on 09/08/2004 12:57:31 AM PDT by jaycost
This article is incredible in its dishonesty and distortion. In the pages of National Review Byron York, all the way back in February, demonstrated that Bush did his duty for the guard. He concluded that the case was closed. The Boston Globe has decided today that this is not the case, but in making this decision, they have completely distorted Dubya's guard record in a way that strikes me as being either unconscionably sloppy or unconscionably intentional. What follows is a point-by-point rebuttal of the key passages of the Globe's piece. My hat is off to the incomparable Byron York for providing the basic information for understanding the nature of guard service back in the '70s. I am simply applying the truths he has uncovered to this shameless burn of our commander-in-chief.
I quote the Globe's piece chronologically, although I have skipped the irrelevant portions.
**** GLOBE:...Bush fell well short of meeting his military obligation, a Globe reexamination of the records shows: Twice during his Guard service -- first when he joined in May 1968, and again before he transferred out of his unit in mid-1973 to attend Harvard Business School -- Bush signed documents pledging to meet training commitments or face a punitive call-up to active duty.
REBUTTAL: What exactly were these training commitments? First of all, Byron York indicates that they were on a May-to-May basis. Bush joined the guard in May, 1968 -- and the obligation was that every twelve subsequent months Bush had to accrue a certain number of "points" to remain in good status with the guard. So, for instance, he had to log a certain amount of time from May, 1968 to May, 1969. Remember this point. This is the major way the Globe skews the facts.
**** GLOBE: Yet Bush, a fighter-interceptor pilot, performed no service for one six-month period in 1972 and for another period of almost three months in 1973, the records show.
REBUTTAL: This is totally irrelevant. The relevant point is how much service Bush earned in a one year -- May to May -- period. Guardsmen are awarded points for service, with a minimum 12-month requisite of 50 points. Here is how Bush's points break down: May, 1968 to May, 1969: 253 points May, 1969 to May, 1970: 340 points May, 1970 to May, 1971: 137 points May, 1971 to May, 1972: 112 points May, 1972 to May, 1973: 56 points. You can take six months here and three months there, point out correctly that Bush was not there, and still not even be within a mile of a legitimate or relevant point. This essentially destroys the whole of the Globe's argument. It does not matter if Bush was not around for six months. His obligation was for fifty points in a twelve month period. One of the key features of guard service is its flexibility. I mean, they let him go to Alabama to campaign for a politician, for goodness sake. They were flexible. That is one of their many appeals.
**** GLOBE: The reexamination of Bush's records by the Globe, along with interviews with military specialists who have reviewed regulations from that era, show that Bush's attendance at required training drills was so irregular that his superiors could have disciplined him or ordered him to active duty in 1972, 1973, or 1974. But they did neither. In fact, Bush's unit certified in late 1973 that his service had been ''satisfactory" -- just four months after Bush's commanding officer wrote that Bush had not been seen at his unit for the previous 12 months.
REBUTTAL: "Irregularity" is not the criterion for censure. The criterion centers around a sufficient number of points in a twelve month period. Bush had this, and hence (surprise, surprise) was judged to have completed his service in a "satisfactory" manner. Thus, Bush could go for "12 months" without getting seen and not be censured. In theory, he could have been absent for 23 months without getting into trouble. If he earned 50 points in May 1971, for instance, he would have met his requirements for May, 1971 until May 1972, when the new period begins. Then, he could wait until April 1973 and earn 50 points again.
And, what is more, what does it mean to say that he had "not been seen?" Is this anecdotal? Is this in the Bush records? What is the relevance of this?
I am not sure, by the way, if it is possible to earn fifty points in a month. But I know that Bush earned 56 points in three months. So, in practice, he could miss 18 months without getting into trouble.
**** GLOBE: "He broke his contract with the United States government -- without any adverse consequences. And the Texas Air National Guard was complicit in allowing this to happen," Lechliter said in an interview yesterday. ''He was a pilot. It cost the government a million dollars to train him to fly. So he should have been held to an even higher standard."
REBUTTAL: This statement actually indicates a fundamental truth. For Bush to have improperly received his honorable discharge, the military must be somehow complicit. There must be some kind of conspiracy. Somebody broke the law somewhere. So, out with it, Globe. Who is the dastardly law-breaker?
Note how the Globe leaves the heavy conclusions for third-party sources. They are accusing, but not accusing, Bush. Very clever!
Also, remember this Lechliter guy. His name becomes central later on. The Globe tells us nothing about Gerald A. Lechliter, except that he is "one of a number of retired military officers who have studied Bush's records and old National Guard regulations..."
**** GLOBE: After his own review, Korb said Bush could have been ordered to active duty for missing more than 10 percent of his required drills in any given year. Bush, according to the records, fell shy of that obligation in two successive fiscal years.
GLOBE: Do you notice that? The Globe uses the standard "fiscal years" to judge Bush. Do they know that, when it comes to evaluating Bush's service, fiscal years are irrelevant? May to May is the standard to evaluate Bush, and that is not a fiscal year! Does the Globe care? You should care -- this is the key distortion of this piece. It is how they manage to build this absurd argument: they take periods of time that are not relevant and make great hay over the fact that Bush was not present for duty during them. They are quite Clintonian in their deception here, don't you think? The fact is that Bush could be completely in line with guard regulations and, in the period of a given fiscal year, not have earned 50 points.
**** GLOBE: "Korb said Bush also made a commitment to complete his six-year obligation when he moved to Cambridge, a transfer the Guard often allowed to accommodate Guardsmen who had to move elsewhere. ''He had a responsibility to find a unit in Boston and attend drills," said Korb, who is now affiliated with a liberal Washington think tank. ''I see no evidence or indication in the documents that he was given permission to forgo training before the end of his obligation. If he signed that document, he should have fulfilled his obligation.""
REBUTTAL: Bush fulfilled his whole obligation for 1973-74 by July, 1973. His quick accumulation of points actually implies that Bush was finishing up his service in Alabama so that he could go to Harvard without worrying about more guard duty. This is exactly what happened. He got 56 points between May, 1973 and July 1973, which met the guard's standard. This is what led to Bush's honorable discharge eight months early. Note that he was discharged right around the time that he moved to Cambridge, MA (September, 1973). The Globe makes it seem like he was sitting pretty up at Harvard, not doing his duty -- but Bush had already been discharged...honorably...by the time he got to Harvard! This fellow Korb is essentially faulting Bush for not attending guard training after he had been discharged! If this is the kind of standard that the media can apply to a politician, everybody better look out! Here I am, sitting at my home, not doing my guard duty. Uh-oh! I think this Korb guy is going to come after me!
**** GLOBE: "The documents Bush signed only add to evidence that the future president -- then the son of Houston's congressman -- received favorable treatment when he joined the Guard after graduating from Yale in 1968. Ben Barnes, who was speaker of the Texas House of Representatives in 1968, said in a deposition in 2000 that he placed a call to get young Bush a coveted slot in the Guard at the request of a Bush family friend."
REBUTTAL: How is it possibly the case that Bush's service, for which he was honorably discharged, indicates that he received special treatment? The one has nothing to do with the other.
**** GLOBE: "In May 1972, Bush was given permission to move to Alabama temporarily to work on a US Senate campaign, with the provision that he do equivalent training with a unit in Montgomery. But Bush's service records do not show him logging any service in Alabama until October of that year."
REBUTTAL: Again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with waiting until October. Again, his obligation was to garner fifty points between May, 1972 and May, 1973. What is wrong with waiting until October? Forgive me for sounding like a broken record with this May-to-May point, but you see how the Globe is really awful about this time and again, right?
**** GLOBE: And even that service is in doubt. Since the Globe first reported Bush's spotty attendance record in May 2000, no one has come forward with any credible recollection of having witnessed Bush performing guard service in Alabama or after he returned to Houston in 1973.
REBUTTAL: What kind of standard is this? How many thousands of guardsmen were floating around in Houston (4th largest American city today) and Alabama? Why would anybody necessarily remember Bush? The Globe -- which you'll remember features Thomas Oliphant, a man who dismissed the Swift Vets because his organization has such exacting standards of proof -- is here accusing Bush and demanding that they disprove him. What kind of standard is that?
And how about the interjection of that subtle little word..."spotty?" By whose standards is it "spotty?" The Globe's or the National Guard's? Certainly not the Guard's, which is what I thought was the key issue.
**** GLOBE: "While Bush was in Alabama, he was removed from flight status for failing to take his annual flight physical in July 1972."
REBUTTAL: There is nothing wrong with this fact. He still served his time. Byron York notes that they had more pilots at the Alabama Air National Guard than they needed.
**** GLOBE: "On May 1, 1973, Bush's superior officers wrote that they could not complete his annual performance review because he had not been observed at the Houston base during the prior 12 months."
REBUTTAL:...because he transferred to Alabama a year earlier! You'll note that the Globe here shows its hand oh-so-subtly. Why was the evaluation on "May 1, 1973"? Because that is when Bush's "year" at the guard began! You'll also note that this is not the first non-sequitur that the Globe has inserted. This piece is loaded with them (as well as quotations from random sources for the most dastardly accusations...cowards!). I imagine that they want this article to have maximum sallacious impact, despite its utter lack of compelling fact.
**** GLOBE: Although the records of Bush's service in 1973 are contradictory, some of them suggest that he did a flurry of drills in 1973 in Houston -- a weekend in April and then 38 days of training crammed into May, June, and July. But Lechliter, the retired colonel, concluded after reviewing National Guard regulations that Bush should not have received credit -- or pay -- for many of those days either. The regulations, Lechliter and others said, required that any scheduled drills that Bush missed be made up either within 15 days before or 30 days after the date of the drill.
REBUTTAL: This is the critical point of the piece. Actually, given the fact that Bush received the requisite points in the appropriate time periods (regardless of how the Globe chooses to reinterpret the calendar), this is the only relevant point of the article. It seems to imply that Bush had to earn 50 points in a 12-month period in a certain way that he actually failed to do. Thus, the lead should be: "Bush served his time, but not in the right way" and the focus should be on this fact. But I doubt that this is actually a fact. Given that the Globe puts this at the end of their piece, given that they put it in the mouth of this Lechlither guy (they quote no relevant military regulations and they quote nobody else to back this assertion), given that they seem unaware that this is the critical point, and given that the rest of this piece is such a low-brow smear that it could have been cooked up by MacAuliffe himself -- all of this indicates that this is a highly contestable point.
CONCLUSION: Bush fulfilled his commitments to Air National Guard. Obviously, this service was not setting the world on fire. Relative to the combat our boys were seeing over in Vietnam, this was easy duty. But he did his duty. The Boston Globe seems intent on convincing us otherwise. Why do you think that is?
Good show. And welcome to FreeRepublic.
Welcome to FR.
I'm going to use this thread as rebuttal when needed.
To cut to the chase, the Boston Globe is in the tank for Kerry, as one of their reporters is working in the Kerry campaign, not as a journalist covering Kerry, but as a political hack running around as a surrogate defending Kerry on the campaign trail.
Boston Globe articles are no big deal anymore. The public understands that Globe reporters are little more than partisan DNC operatives. Outside of Boston nobody even reads the thing and it's only use is for lining bird cages.
Well done and welcome to FR! :-)
A fiscal year would be as opposed to a calander year, IOW, from May to May in this instance.
Thank You. I actually have kept my eye on freerepublic for many years, but never really posted. This site was especially useful during the 2000 election. I love this place!
Glad you finally jumped in and that you got used to FR first. WELCOME HOME. :-)
Former Dannelly worker: Bush not AWOL [another eyewitness steps forward]
Posted by ambrose
On News/Activism 02/16/2004 4:19:13 PM PST · 101 replies · 73+ views
THE DECATUR DAILY ^ | 2.16.04 | Eric Fleischauer
Former Dannelly worker: Bush not AWOL By Eric Fleischauer DAILY Staff Writer email@example.com · 340-2435 Retired Master Sgt. James Copeland does not care so much whether people think President Bush went absent without leave in 1972, but one thing he hears bothers him plenty. "Maybe the Bush family was well known in Texas, but we didn't know who he was here. He was just another guy in a flight jacket," Copeland said Sunday. Copeland, who lives in Hartselle, retired from the Air Force on Jan. 31, 1980. He was the disbursement accounting supervisor, a full-time position, for Dannelly Air National...
Memories place Bush in Alabama if records don't ["Why are you still whipping this dead horse?"]
Posted by ambrose
On News/Activism 02/13/2004 10:23:44 PM PST · 11 replies · 44+ views
Atlanta Journal Constitution ^ | 2.14.04
Memories place Bush in Alabama if records don't By DAVE HIRSCHMAN in Montgomery , MONI BASU in Atlanta The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 02/13/04 The search for proof that young Lt. George W. Bush worked weekends at an Air Force base in Montgomery, 32 years ago has taken on a strange, forensic quality. Family photo (ENLARGE) Lt. Col. John "Bill" Calhoun said he saw the future president each drill period when both men were serving in the National Guard in Montgomery. EMAIL THISPRINT THISMOST POPULAR Dusty dental records and copies of old pay stubs provided by the White House are...
Doctor Recalls Treating Bush
Posted by Hon
On News/Activism 02/15/2004 2:00:58 PM PST · 64 replies · 30+ views
Montgomery Advertiser ^ | February 15, 2004 | Jessica M. Walker
A retired Air National Guard physician recalls giving President Bush a physical in 1972, his son said Saturday, adding another memory to the small but growing pool of recollections of Bush's military service in Montgomery. The memories of Bush's service contradict a dearth of paperwork surrounding his time assigned to the Alabama Air National Guard, but a retired Air National Guard personnel officer said the lack of records could very well be the result of shoddy record-keeping, as opposed to deliquence on Bush's part.
Joppa man: Bush served in Guard in '72
Posted by Conservative Coulter Fan
On News/Activism 02/21/2004 9:57:49 AM PST · 11 replies · 20+ views
THE DECATUR DAILY ^ | Eric Fleischauer
Not only was George W. Bush fulfilling his National Guard duties in 1972, he was already showing the conservative political ideology that is now the bane of many Democrats, according to a Joppa man. Joe Holcombe, 71, was the office manager for Winton "Red" Blount in his unsuccessful race for the U.S. Senate in 1972. Bush was the county coordinator for Blount's campaign, Holcombe said. The Blount family and the Bush family were good friends, Holcombe said. Blount lost to Morgan County native and U.S. Sen. John Sparkman. Bush joined Blount's campaign "a little before or a little after the...
True. It's so patently transparent with regards to motive that it's comical and pathetic. This is a latest sequel to a tired story that's been resurrected more than Jason in the Friday the 13th films.
The federal government's fiscal year is October 1 to September 30. Are you referring to the fact that in general a fiscal year can refer to any two sets of calendar years in a row? In other words, two fiscal years simply means 24 consecutive months, right?
I was, I see now, inaccurate in my original post. Thank you for pointing out the error on my part. But this still means the Globe is distorting because they do not tell you to which fiscal year they are reffering. We might give them the benefit of the doubt that they are not distorting the truth, that they are referring to the proper fiscal year (May to May) if it were not for the fact that we know that for the proper FY's in question, Bush had enough points (and therefore served during each one).
I am glad to see the Bush campaign is on top of rebutting these lies. Unlike the Kerry campaign who has not yet to refute anything the Swift Boat Veterns had to say. All Kerry's camp did was to smear the 200 plus veterns.
The author of the Boston Globe hitpiece is Walter V. Robinson....found GUILTY OF LIBEL in 1987 for an "article" he wrote about a Republican politician.
"the jury found that the defendants had published false, defamatory statements with knowledge of their falsity or while having serious doubts about their truth..."
Robinson was found guilty along with the paper he wrote for, The Boston Globe, and yet the Globe has kept him on all these years and elevated him to an editor.
Robinson was also the originator of the "Bush's missing year in the NG" smear. He wrote the first article that alleged this in 2000. http://www.boston.com/news/politics/president/bush/articles/2000/05/23/1_year_gap_in_bushs_guard_duty/
It's used in accounting. Corporations go by fiscal years & I think their fiscal years can be any day of the year, though they might be limited to picking the first of one of the months.
May 1st, 1971 thru April 30th, 1972 would be a fiscal year. The next fiscal year (using that same fiscal year) would begin on May 1st, 1972 & end April 30th, 1972.
The Globe claims to have gone by the regs in place at the time covered, yet they've come to a different conclusion than you did. From just about everything I've seen come out of them, I'd trust your eval more than theirs.
I suspect that this will quickly be picked up by the "gang of 500" in the press. The NY Times has a column on it today. CBS is doing something on it on Wednesday. The AP had a story today that seems to go against the Globe piece. That probably won't matter. It will only be a matter of time before it creeps its way through the press, with only Brit Hume and ever-reliable Fox shining a light on it.
Nevertheless, I am optimistic that this story will not go anywhere. First off, the Globe's piece is pure trash. I doubt that anything except their conclusion will be repeated. The press is biased toward the left, but I think this piece is so lousy that many editors in many (though not all) newsrooms will blush at the thought of going with this further. So, that will reduce the time it can resonate in the echo chamber. There is also, of course, the fact, that there are no more documents to find, no stories to write about how Bush is still hiding documents, etc. There is no more news here. Second, I am optimistic that this time the Bushies are on top of this story -- I have this feeling mostly because I believe that Bush-Cheney '04 will deal with it rather than leaving it to the awful White House Communications office. They are horrible, and are one of the reasons the story lingered so long back in January. That they did not put together a compelling Bush guard narrative replete with evidence from the documents themselves -- rather leaving it up to people like Byron York -- is precisely why this story came back. My sense, though, is that because the Globe is only using documents Bush-Cheney has already had for months, they will be quick with a response (hopefully the one from Bartlett in the Globe is due to the fact that he really did not know what they Globe was going to print...because his quotation is really, really weak!).
At any rate, as much as I hate to admit it, I think the general public is already a tad skeptical about Bush's guard service, and that this skepticism is already built into the polls. I have seen a few people make the point that Bush did his duty by defending this nation in the last three years. I think many people whose votes are still up for grabs probably feel that. Quick and decisive response from the Bushies can settle this quickly (and provide a nice strategic contrast with the feckless Kerry campaign).
In the meantime, let me just say how annoyed I am at the Boston Globe. I was planning on going to bed hours ago. Their lousy reporter is what compelled me to stay up late. Go Boston Herald!
The point is that there were politically powerful people in both parties in Texas, and if Dubya's father had wanted to help his son get into the Guard, then he certainly wouldn't have had to go to a Democrat to get it done.
Obviously, he gives good head.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.