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?
"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."
The public out of state does not understand; and the Globe article will assuredly be circulated in some form by the A.P. and others.
The analysis is very helpful and should be actively utilized when possible. Thanks, jaycost.
I wish I had been more accurate in my original post...the Globe is still distorting by using "fiscal," but not in the way I had indicated.
It seems to me that their use of "fiscal year" is just to refer to a consecutive 12 month period. So when they say "two consecutive fiscal years" it seems to mean that they just mean 24 continuous months. They give us no temporal qualification of that term, nor do they bother indicating that the Air National Guard had a particular fiscal year in mind when it comes to Bush, nor do they mention the fact that for those particular fiscal years there is evidence that Bush served.
They are being intentionally vague with that term, vague in a way that distorts the truth, which is that Bush served honorably as far as the guard is concerned. What the Globe has done is taken the uncontested facts -- i.e. Bush served these following sets of days... -- and reinterpted them to reflect negatively upon him, reinterpreted them in a way that, for the guard, is wholly irrelevant. The only way they could have done this is if they had thrown out the fiscal year that is appropriate to evaluating Bush's service: April 30 to May 1.
Your work on this is outstanding. Wish we were able to get the message out.
The whole National Guard is another "issue" where the Dems are working both sides of the street: On the one hand, they sneer that National Guard service is just a dodge to get out of Vietnam; on the other hand, they express utter indignation that Bush may have ducked out of part of his National Guard service (however hard they have to work to trump up the charge). They seem to have pre-sawed off the branch they're clinging to.
Maybe jaycost is resting after
his sleepless night working this.
But I will say, the supposed make-
ups not performed immediately shot
on Bush by the piece you cite is
absurd & here's why:
I don't know what's correct here,
but TAKE IT UP WITH THE NG,
not Bush. Let's see what held in
the Guard back then & there. They
honorably discharged him.
Also, the entire military had a
GLUT of pilots b/c of Nam pilots
coming home. They didn't need him,
& his plane was phased out. So why
would they jump him for no quick
makeups??? Air Force manuals or
Take it up with them, not him.
These slime only want to hurt
this man. Anything to hurt him.
ping to #26 & this thread
John Kerry was not terminated as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve until Feb 16 1978 (in fact Kerry's 12-year service was exclusively with the USNR).
Where is the missing three years of John Kerry's Ready Reserve and Standby Reserve documentation from the Reserve Manpower Center, Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, Maryland, circa Dec 1969 to Dec 1972?
Very interesting. Thanks
It's so nice to see a newbie who knows the proper way to jump into authoring a thread. Extraordinary!
I am also sure it is true, and I bet President Bush would stipulate that 68Kerry would have been a better President than 68Bush.
THAT WAS THIRTY-SIX YEARS AGO.
In the intervening 36 years, Kerry has shown us what kind of a President he would be, as has President Bush.
Of course Kerry and his flacks want to run against 68Bush.
So what? Let's run against 04Kerry.
68 Kerry (and 68Bush) have been gone for a long time.
And this one too:
Byron York's article is here:
Thank you, lonely person.
Great entrance..Sterling. Welcome to FR. :))
This is maddening....If Bush#41 managed to get Dubya in the Guard where he would be safe, then why did Dubya volunteer to be a fighter pilot...not exactly a safe cushy job to avoid VN....
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