Tuesday, September 07, 2004


SEPT 2 -- For the last three days, and last night in particular, the speakers at Bush’s convention have been eviscerating John Kerry, suggesting time and time again that Kerry is some sort of peacenik who would role over and die in the face of a touch foreign battle. The distortions of Kerry’s record are extraordinary. Many of the speakers have expressed complete indignance at how John Kerry handled his service in Vietnam and his protests of the War afterward. They have suggested that somehow the U.S. Navy was so stupid and misinformed that it mistakenly gave Kerry the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and Three Purple Hearts. They have suggested that a decorated Veteran like Kerry was being unpatriotic when he told Congress in 1971 that the civilian leaders of the military – Nixon, Kissinger, and their underlings – were selling his fellow soldiers down the river in Vietnam and Cambodia. And they have suggested, over and over (as Karl Rove did yesterday on CNN) that Kerry claimed to have witnessed the list of atrocities he quoted to Congress in 1971, a list featured prominently and totally out of context in the latest “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” ad. This last suggestion is a bold-faced lie. The full footage of that testimony shows Kerry reporting to congress that these were the atrocities related to him by other Veterans at a veterans meeting in Detroit; it further shows him imploring Congress not to scapegoat veterans (as the Pentagon has recently done in the case of Abu Graib) but to hold the Civilian Leadership responsible for putting its young men in a completely untenable position in an unwinnable war. “How do you ask a man,” Kerry asked poignantly of Congress, “to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

Now, I don’t begrudge George W. Bush his decision to dodge the draft – I certainly would have. But in releasing the hounds on John Kerry he has certainly welcomed a comparative analysis. As Bush himself was forced to say recently, John Kerry’s service was obviously “more heroic.” But that is not the end of the story. Here is some further news:

A closer examination of a photograph included in President George W. Bush’s Air Force records, released by the White House earlier this year, shows then-Second Lieutenant Bush wearing an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award which he never earned.

Additionally, Lieutenant Bush would not have been authorized to wear the ribbon temporarily, the Air Force Personnel Center said in an email.

American media, having focused for more than three weeks on Swift Boat veterans’ attacks on Sen. John Kerry’s Vietnam service, has yet to report the story.

Punishment for wearing an award one hasn’t earned is punishable by bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and/or confinement for 6 months under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.


Additionally, a new, remarkably damning and credible article in Salon magazine sheds light on why Bush left the Texas Air National Guard in the Spring of 1972. The Widow of George H.W. Bush’s closest political confidant during the 60s and 70s, Jim Allison (he was Bush Sr.’s Karl Rove) says, “The impression I had was that Georgie was raising a lot of hell in Houston, getting in trouble and embarrassing the family, and they just really wanted to get him out of Houston and under Jimmy’s wing.” She also reveals that Bush never wore an Alabama National Guard uniform, and that she saw Bush urinate on a car after the wake of the failed Senate campaign he sporadically worked on. Allison’s account corroborates a Washington Post investigation in February that found no credible witnesses to the service in the Alabama National Guard that Bush maintains he performed, despite a lack of documentary evidence. Asked if she’d ever seen Bush in a uniform, Allison said: “Good lord, no. I had no idea that the National Guard was involved in his life in any way.” Allison also confirmed previously published accounts that Bush often showed up in the Blount campaign offices around noon, boasting about how much alcohol he had consumed the night before. Bush left the house he’d rented in Montgomery Alabama trashed – the furniture broken, walls damaged and a chandelier destroyed, the Birmingham News reported in February. “He was just a rich kid who had no respect for other people’s possessions,” Mary Smith, a member of the family who rented the house, told the newspaper, adding that a bill sent to Bush for repairs was never paid.

These are the Vietnam ear experiences of our president. His conventioneers have spent the last three days ridiculing John Kerry’s war service in Vietnam, wearing “purple heart bandaids” on their cheeks. His closest advisers, including Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, have given credence and support to the accusations of the so-called “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” that John McCain has called “dishonest and dishonorable,” that the U.S. Navy disputes tooth and nail, that are not supported by a single piece of documented evidence, and that have been exposed time and again as politically motivated lies. Today, we have verifiable reports that this group has been forging the signatures of Swift Boat veterans -- who never signed up for their organization and don’t believe their accusations – on their accusatory letters. The forged signatures may account for up to 25% of their “membership.”

You can read the entire story of Bush’s dubious use of National Guard money and time here (Just click on “free day pass” at the bottom of the page to read the whole article):



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