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Bush’s War Stories Simply Don’t Fly
NY Observer ^ | January 31, 2004 | Joe Conason

Posted on 01/31/2004 7:07:00 AM PST by billorites

George W. Bush lied about his military service record. The lie can be found in his own 1999 campaign autobiography (as written by Karen Hughes), where he dramatically describes his experience as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.

On page 34 of A Charge to Keep, Mr. Bush claims that, after learning to fly the F-102 fighter jet, he was turned down for Vietnam duty because "had not logged enough flight hours" to qualify for a combat assignment. Before going on to recall the "challenging moments" that involved close formation drills at night during poor weather, he adds: "I continued flying with my unit for the next several years."

In light of what journalists and other researchers have learned since the publication of Mr. Bush’s book, his account is unmistakably fraudulent.

The issue is again relevant because Michael Moore, the author and filmmaker who supports Wesley Clark’s Presidential campaign, recently impugned the President as a "deserter." During the final Democratic Presidential debate in New Hampshire, moderator Peter Jennings called Mr. Moore’s statement "a reckless charge not supported by the facts," and demanded that General Clark repudiate his celebrity backer.

As the ABC newsman may (or, more likely, may not) know, the facts about the President’s National Guard stint are complex, disputed and, in many respects, unflattering. To call him a "deserter" was wrong and inflammatory, even if Mr. Moore was joking, as he now insists. Although Mr. Bush may well have been absent without leave, he was never prosecuted for that offense, let alone desertion, and he eventually received an honorable discharge. But to suggest that the Bush record is beyond criticism, as Mr. Jennings did, is both misleading and biased. That bias reflects an enduring double standard on this topic that has protected Mr. Bush ever since he first declared his Presidential candidacy.

The facts, established by Boston Globe reporter Walter Robinson in 2000, explode the lyrical flights of fancy penned by Ms. Hughes.

George W. Bush graduated from Yale in June 1968. After his father’s influential friends contacted Texas Air National Guard officials, they awarded young George a safe berth in Houston’s famed "champagne unit," where sons of the Texas elite avoided Vietnam. His very special treatment included instant admission to flight training and an extraordinary commission as a second lieutenant. According to his former superiors, Mr. Bush performed admirably as a pilot while patrolling the coastal waters of the United States.

But in May 1972, only 22 months after he completed pilot training, he stopped flying. In August 1972, he failed to show up for his annual physical examination and was automatically grounded. According to The Times of London, a conservative newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, Mr. Bush’s campaign spokesman said he knew that he would be suspended if he missed that physical.

He never flew a military aircraft again (or not until his flight-suit photo op last spring, when he briefly took the controls of an S-3B Viking jet before landing on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln). Instead, he left his Guard unit in Houston and went to Alabama to work in a Republican Senate campaign. He claims to have continued to serve in an Alabama Guard unit, but there is no evidence to support that assertion, and much contradictory evidence. The commanding officer of the Alabama Guard Unit told the Boston Globe that Mr. Bush never showed up for duty there. Nor is there any evidence that he sought duty in Vietnam.

In fact, there is considerable evidence that Mr. Bush skipped all duty for a full year, until April 1973. At that point, his two superior officers in Houston noted in writing in an official document: "Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of this report." They erroneously believed that he had been completing his duty in Alabama. Yet he somehow received an honorable discharge eight months before he completed his six-year commitment so that he could begin attending Harvard Business School.

As the Globe noted, the "champagne unit" and others like it back then displayed "a tendency to excuse shirking by those with political connections."

So Mr. Bush’s claim that he "continued flying with my unit for the next several years" is an unabashed falsehood. Yet the spotty coverage of his military record in the mainstream press—aside from the Globe investigation and similar efforts in the Dallas Morning News and the Los Angeles Times—elided that lie. Compare his soft treatment with the media scourging of Bill Clinton, who was held accountable during the 1992 campaign for every word he uttered about his draft record.

What the Jennings episode validates is not Mr. Bush’s strange military career, but the Bush method of press management. Treat journalists like vassals, with nicknames, cheek-pinching and—whenever they forget their place momentarily—sneering disdain. It works brilliantly.

You may reach Joe Conason via email at: jconason@observer.com.


TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bush43; bushmilitaryrecord; bushversuskerry; bushvkerry; deserter; electionpresident; joeconason; kerry; kerrysservicerecord; nationalguard
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To: Night Hides Not
You guys are killing me!!! This is the first time that I've heard being commissioned a 2LT as extraordinary! I would hardly classify my two years as a butterbar as extraordinary.

That struck me too. Anyone with a lick of service time knows what a moron Joe Conason is by thusly asserting.

SAYING AGAIN: JOE CONASON IS A COMPLETE MORON. OVER.

101 posted on 01/31/2004 8:49:40 AM PST by Lazamataz
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To: William McKinley
Maybe you forgot the Winter Soldier investigation fraud, but there are enough of us who haven't who will make sure that it all comes back to the forefront. Kerry's military history won't be a positive for him- it will end up being a negative from which he won't recover.

I hope that many of your fellow Vietnam Vets will join you to demonstrate / write letters-to-the-editor, etc. if Kerry wins the nomination. Only Vietnem Vets will be listened to without the leftist media calling them liars.

102 posted on 01/31/2004 8:53:06 AM PST by Freee-dame
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To: billorites
As the Globe noted, the "champagne unit" and others like it back then displayed "a tendency to excuse shirking by those with political connections."

The cincher that the Boston GLUB-GLUB-hic went into this story as a hatchet job.

103 posted on 01/31/2004 8:53:51 AM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: William McKinley
hey Hanio jane [spit] served with honor too. She just served with the NVA. Why she wasn't dragged to the nearest sign post and hung I will never understand.

I know very little about Kerry except that is he a slime ball.

104 posted on 01/31/2004 8:54:33 AM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: Freee-dame
I'm not a vet.

The truth will carry the day. And it is about time for Kerry to be held accountable for his slanders and lies.

105 posted on 01/31/2004 8:56:03 AM PST by William McKinley
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To: jpsb
This is a not a story, nobody wanted to gp (sic) to Vietnam, including me

I must be a "nobody." I volunteered for Nam.

106 posted on 01/31/2004 8:58:16 AM PST by ASA Vet (ylkciuq erom sekatsim ekam ot ytiliba eht si suineg)
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To: jpsb
I don't know how much time for reading you have, but if you have the time track down to the library and check out Stolen Valor : How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History by B.G. Burkett, as referenced in this Kerry related NRO piece.
107 posted on 01/31/2004 8:59:14 AM PST by William McKinley
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To: ASA Vet
I must be a "nobody." I volunteered for Nam.

You stand tall. I am in awe.

108 posted on 01/31/2004 9:02:03 AM PST by Lazamataz
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To: William McKinley
Once Kerry's Vietnam record is examined more closely, quite a different picture will emerge. He only served four months in Vietnam as a Swift boat CO (Dec - March) and initiated a request to leave Vietnam a scant four days after receiving his third "wound." The approval was granted because of an administrative rule that permitted thrice-wounded personnel to request reassignment. Three very minor wounds in four months plus a Silver Star and Bronze Star for separate actions. Makes one wonder. He was also given an early out to run for Congress.

Kerry likes to say he spent two tours in Vietnam, but his "other tour" was a six month stint on the USS Gridley offshore. By that definition, I spent two tours in Vietnam, 8 months offshore and 12 months in-country. I despised Kerry in 1971 for his anti-war activities and do now.

109 posted on 01/31/2004 9:04:12 AM PST by kabar
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To: WFTR; Wolverine
But in May 1972, only 22 months after he completed pilot training, he stopped flying.

    Many people stopped flying at that time. The military had more pilots than they could use, and getting time in the planes was difficult. Many pilots were showing up at the air field at five in the morning hoping to get a plane. If they weren't at the very top of their class, they often didn't get flying time. Many opted to quit being pilots and serve out the rest of their commitments in other ways.

Actually, there is a very good reason he stopped flying. In 1972, they began phasing out the 102s from active service. So there was no reason to stay current on a plane that was being mothballed.

That also answers why he didn't take a flight physical, he wasn't going to fly anymore. His stint was nearly up and he wasn't planning on staying in, so training to fly another plane was out of the question.

110 posted on 01/31/2004 9:04:24 AM PST by TomB
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To: kabar
His activities weren't just anti-war.

He was anti-war by being anti-soldier.

He slandered an entire generation of men who made as much of a sacrifice as he did, or even more of a sacrifice than he did.

111 posted on 01/31/2004 9:07:19 AM PST by William McKinley
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To: ASA Vet
Well ther were a few crazys. Actually once I got thru mos school, I voluntered too, I got real tried of picking up cigarette butts everyday at Camp Lejunn. But I got sent to Gitmo instead. Gitmo was not bad at all.
112 posted on 01/31/2004 9:07:42 AM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: ASA Vet
Thank you for your service.
113 posted on 01/31/2004 9:07:52 AM PST by William McKinley
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To: William McKinley
The truth will carry the day.

Hopefully in the long run, but we just had 8 years of Clinton, showing the power of the leftist press.

And it is about time for Kerry to be held accountable for his slanders and lies.

I sure agree with you here.

114 posted on 01/31/2004 9:08:08 AM PST by Freee-dame
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To: jpsb
And thank you for your service.
115 posted on 01/31/2004 9:08:22 AM PST by William McKinley
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To: kabar
He only served four months in Vietnam as a Swift boat CO (Dec - March) and initiated a request to leave Vietnam a scant four days after receiving his third "wound."

And those three "wounds" put him out of action for a grand total of TWO days.

116 posted on 01/31/2004 9:08:27 AM PST by TomB
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To: AHerald
Flying the F-102 was anything but safe. It was considered one of the most dangerous planes to fly.

I would be willing to wager that 90%+ of the people who fault GWB for his military service have never done anything knowingly that involved as much personal risk as flying combat maneuvers in a supersonic fighter jet.

117 posted on 01/31/2004 9:11:41 AM PST by CMAC51
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To: William McKinley
thanks, I'll read it. The whole Vietnam mess just makes me so mad. I hate to say this but I hope LBJ is roasting in hell for not allowing us to win that damn war.
118 posted on 01/31/2004 9:16:08 AM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: VRWC_minion
Au contraire, mon frere. That same poll shows Kerry doing better than "unnamed Democrat" among independents. There is something other than policy driving that discrepancy.
119 posted on 01/31/2004 9:18:35 AM PST by HostileTerritory
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To: jpsb
For generations, the Democrats have been trying to recreate the 60s. I think it is high time we brought back the debate over Vietnam-- and this time we'll win the war over the war on behalf of our soldiers. We did them wrong-- thanks in large part to people like John F'in Kerry.
120 posted on 01/31/2004 9:20:59 AM PST by William McKinley
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To: TomB
And those three "wounds" put him out of action for a grand total of TWO days.

Exactly. Obviously, Kerry knew the rules and three wounds were his ticket out. I will say the politically incorrect by questioning whether any of these "wounds" were self-inflicted. I would also like to see the citations for his Silver Star and Bronze Star and learn who initiated the paperwork. Kerry is a shameless self-promoter who, in my opinion, saw Vietnam as a way of getting his ticket punched to further his political ambitions. When he returned from Vietnam, he expressed his shame about his military service because it was politically expedient. Now he holds his service up as a badge of honor taking every opportunity to remind everyone that he served. Kerry wants it both ways and always has.

121 posted on 01/31/2004 9:22:00 AM PST by kabar
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To: William McKinley
no problem, the USMC was one of the best things that ever happened to me. The experience turned my life around, I was a punk kid going nowhere. They helped me to become a man.

Bush has nothing to be ashamed of. He could have been called to duty in Vietnam at any time. As far as I am concerned he did his duty. And as others have pointed out his duty, fighter jets, wasn't all that easy or safe.

122 posted on 01/31/2004 9:26:01 AM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: billorites
Just one question for Joe and Michael Moore the Miserable failure: Do they have a DD Form 214?

5.56mm

123 posted on 01/31/2004 9:35:05 AM PST by M Kehoe
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To: William McKinley
I'd like to be part of that debate, but the debate should start with Korea. With Truman and MacAuthor, and the concept of limited war, fighting not to win but to maintain the status quo. I can forgive Trumen, he didn't know any better but LBJ had the Korean lesson to draw upon, MacAuthor on his death bed begged LBJ not fight in Vietnam. the General knew exactly what was going to happen.
124 posted on 01/31/2004 9:35:40 AM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: WorkingClassFilth
"Is there a credible, impartial, source for the entire story on the President's service record? We have all read these stories many times but, to date, I haven't seen anything satisfactory that clears up a troublesome record."
You might wish to take a look at this complete thread, a Free Republic Thread on Bush(43) Service Record which will answer not only the charges that he got into the Texas Air National Guard by pulling strings with an extremely low test score, and that he was "AWOL" from duty. The information on the thread even has photocopies of the Bush(43) service records, dates, times etc so that you can form your OWN opinion by reading the liberal 'charges' and dates, and then matching them up with his government service record. Why not trust you OWN eyes rather than having to find a 'story' which might support Bush(43)? Best of luck, dvwjr
125 posted on 01/31/2004 9:40:59 AM PST by dvwjr
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To: 19th LA Inf
From an old O-club song: "If you fly a 102, don't go up unless it's blue - if it feels one drop of rain, you'll have pieces - not a plane"

Too funny. Cool bit of trivia. Thanks.

126 posted on 01/31/2004 9:48:06 AM PST by AHerald
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To: jpsb
jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")

How about 'worst functional brain on the net)

LOL just kiddin
127 posted on 01/31/2004 9:52:54 AM PST by moonman
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To: steve50
But what about illegal immigration?
128 posted on 01/31/2004 9:54:25 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: billorites
How about that - Joe Conason and Alex Jones have something in common -

- they're both hung-up about GWB's military service record!

129 posted on 01/31/2004 9:57:33 AM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann speaks on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: WorkingClassFilth; All
From the Annenberg Political Fact Check report:

Bush A Military “Deserter?” Calm Down, Michael
Clark backer Michael Moore calls President Bush a “deserter” for missing Air National Guard drills 31 years ago. Puh-lease!

130 posted on 01/31/2004 10:02:50 AM PST by AHerald
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To: 1rudeboy
But what about illegal immigration?

I'm against it, how about you?

131 posted on 01/31/2004 10:07:18 AM PST by steve50 ("There is Tranquility in Ignorance, but Servitude is its Partner.")
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To: billorites
Apparently, the 'left' considers looney sources like Alex Jones (of www.infowars.com fame) to be a 'credible' - they are beginning to cite him as 'legitimate' source of information!

From: www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=9684


#27   
Ms. Andi  1/23/2004 10:21AM PST 


#21 Necklace of shoes

Unbelievable isn't it. I thought I was on a Kucinich thread. 

The fact they sited Alex Jones/infowars.com (Austin's
favorite loon) as a legitimate source had me in stiches. 

...


#27, #33

Alex Jones is still at it? I thought he'd be in an asylum 
by now. 

For those of you not familiar, Mr. Jones had/has a cable
 access show wherein he would routinely play "Star Wars"
 films behind him on the blue screen while he ranted on and
 on about the "evil empire" at home. This was during
 Clinton's reign and I can't imagine it's gotten any 
 better.

 Austin was too damn hot, the UT a bureaucratic nightmare,
 the vaunted "music scene" just empty warehouses full of
 garage bands, the vaunted "coffee house" scene just a bunch
 of old gas stations selling cheap java and the townsfolk a
 curious mixture of yuppie scum and hippie freakdom when I
 lived there. [OT--Do the Zendiks nutflakes still have a tv
 show, too? Picture Mr. and Mrs. Charles Manson and the Rev.
 Jim Jones orchestra with a half-hour slot, folks. 
 Charming.] It may have a few nice restaurants and a mild 
 winter, but otherwise to hell with it. Charles Whitman had
 a vision. At least the drugs were cheap but I guess that's
 because of the short trip to Mexico. Avoid. 



132 posted on 01/31/2004 10:35:33 AM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann speaks on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: moonman
Not funny! Over the years I have been nominated for numerous "net" awards and discovered many new and interesting things about my "family history".
133 posted on 01/31/2004 10:41:19 AM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: billorites
One of the idiots that runs this web site were going on and on about GWB's service record a couple of days ago - this woman named Joyce (Joyce Riley?) who can talk 90 miles an hour was literally going on and on and on a couple of days ago an Alex Jones's shortwave broadcast ...

Reality, it seems, is of no concern to these people when one has an agenda to promote against the New World Order and other suitable bogey men that appear to be the 'root' of all evil.

     www.thepowerhour.com/news_frame.htm

In particular, they have a link to a piece titled:

    The Military Records of George Walker Bush

134 posted on 01/31/2004 10:59:52 AM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann speaks on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: ASA Vet
My brother-in-law volunteered for Nam and he died there. Hats off to you and those who fought and those who died serving our country.
135 posted on 01/31/2004 11:50:02 AM PST by Zipporah (Write inTancredo in 2004)
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To: WorkingClassFilth
Thanks for looking- that was what I had handy, somewhere around here ( FR ) should be that New York Times article debunking this slander, I just couldn't locate it quickly.
136 posted on 01/31/2004 2:09:53 PM PST by backhoe (--30--)
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To: William McKinley
Thanks for the NRO article - it was excellent and very useful.
137 posted on 02/01/2004 6:16:39 AM PST by WorkingClassFilth (DEFUND PBS & NPR - THE AMERICAN PRAVDA)
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To: kabar
I tend to agree with your thinking. While I won't assume the nature of Kerry's wounds to be self-inflicted, given his known lying, his current deceits and his political nature, I won't rule out less than 'heroic' incidents either. It would be very interesting and educational to examine F'ing's service records and determine the actual substance of his tales.
138 posted on 02/01/2004 6:25:04 AM PST by WorkingClassFilth (DEFUND PBS & NPR - THE AMERICAN PRAVDA)
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To: dvwjr
Excellent! Thanks - as always, FReepers are the best source of credible information!
139 posted on 02/01/2004 6:31:19 AM PST by WorkingClassFilth (DEFUND PBS & NPR - THE AMERICAN PRAVDA)
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To: DouglasKC
Excellent! I think you should create a thread for that info so it can be found in searches. Good job.
140 posted on 02/01/2004 6:42:20 AM PST by hobson (Don't sweat the petty things. Don't pet the sweaty things.)
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To: jpsb
Kerry has a two decade record of voting against the military, national defense, and defense intelligence. His voting record is awful. He also has numerous ties to radical protest groups. His military record is honorable, but so was John McCain's, and Bush beat him too.

BTW - Joe Conason is such a liar.

141 posted on 02/01/2004 9:37:03 PM PST by KC_Conspirator (This space for rent)
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To: ilosetoo
SPOTREP - W!
142 posted on 02/01/2004 9:42:47 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: litehaus
"con man"

Yes he is .. and this statement: "issue is again relevant because Michael Moore". Bush being a deserter is relevant because Michael Moore said it was .. is this guy on drugs ..?? If Bush were in public life, he could SUE that stinking Moore and all the rest of the dems who are trying to smear our President - it's called SLANDER!
143 posted on 02/01/2004 9:46:53 PM PST by CyberAnt ("America is the GREATEST NATION on the face of the earth")
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To: joesnuffy
This is so ignorant. You don't get "appointed" to fly a plane .. people who get that position have to be extra smart. If Bush was so stupid like the dems said, how could Bush get "appointed" to such a position. Secondly, there is always a waiting list to get into pilot training (because it's so expensive, they only take the best candidates). Since Bush's record says he was an admirable pilot .. I think it would be safe to assume Bush could pass all the tests to get into pilot training.

"Champagne unit" or not .. Bush still had to be able to fly the damn plane, for heavens sake! If you believe Conason .. you're on the wrong website.
144 posted on 02/01/2004 9:58:58 PM PST by CyberAnt ("America is the GREATEST NATION on the face of the earth")
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To: AHerald
Not many fighters since then have had delta wings. It was an idea that came and went - fast.
145 posted on 02/01/2004 10:14:16 PM PST by 185JHP ( "The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.")
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To: ilosetoo
Who are you quoting in number 15? Or did oyu write it? No attribution.
146 posted on 02/01/2004 10:19:41 PM PST by BunnySlippers (a href="http://www.michaelmoore.com" target="_blank">miserable failure)
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To: jpsb
You coonsider pilot training something without risk? Pres Bush went through the same pilot training that every other AF pilot did in those days as he was on active duty. If his Dad truly wanted to get him out of dangerous duty, he certainly would not have been flying.

147 posted on 02/01/2004 11:59:55 PM PST by PhiKapMom (AOII Mom -- Support Bush-Cheney '04)
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To: jpsb
Old news, we all know that the elites do not send their sons to fight and die in our wars. That job is left to the peasants.

Excuse me, but you really are full of crap. President Bush the former and the current president both served their country honorably, doing dangerous jobs. GHWB was, in fact, shot down over a small Japanese island where cannibalism was practiced. So much for your half-assed theory in the case of the Bush family. Try something else.

148 posted on 02/02/2004 12:11:19 AM PST by DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet (Four hours is too long for a Democrat to sit in the Oval Office, let alone four years. Vote W '04)
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To: jpsb
I think Bush is toast. Kerry I think, won the Medal of Honor, a service record doesn't get any better then that.

ROTFLMAO

149 posted on 02/02/2004 12:12:09 AM PST by DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet (Four hours is too long for a Democrat to sit in the Oval Office, let alone four years. Vote W '04)
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To: billorites
Joe "Conningsome" bump. ;-)
150 posted on 02/04/2004 8:14:47 AM PST by an amused spectator (articulating AAS' thoughts on FR since 1997)
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