Wednesday, September 08, 2004
The (not-so) final word: Today's Boston Globe article on President Bush's National Guard service during the Vietnam era is Exhibit A in a double standard in the mainstream media.
Let's set aside for a moment that Bush has ordered the Pentagon to make available to the press all of his military service records and Sen. John Kerry has not. Let's also set aside the fact that the mainstream media doesn't seem to care about that disparity in transparency.
The Boston Globe has determined that there is something to the "Bush was AWOL" charge -- or as they put it "fell short on duty" -- and demonstrated this by putting their "Spotlight Team" on it.
One of the individuals quoted by the Globe reporters is Gerald A. Lechliter, a retired Army colonel, who has dissected Bush's service records piece by piece and determined that Bush didn't do his duty in the military.
The following analysis of President Bush’s (“Bush”) military records and the controlling legal authorities shows the following beyond any reasonable doubt:
v The pay records released by the White House this past winter prove Bush received unauthorized, i.e., fraudulent, payments for inactive duty training, even if he did show up for duty.
v The memorandum from Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Albert C. Lloyd, who affirmed for the White House that Bush met his retention/retirement year point requirement, is an obfuscation, or outright deception, that disregarded Bush’s failure to meet the statutory and regulatory fiscal year satisfactory participation requirement.
v Bush’s superiors in the Texas Air National Guard failed to take required regulatory actions when Bushed missed required training and failed to take his flight physical.
v Despite seemingly laudatory comments, Bush’s May 1972 officer performance report was a clear and unmistakable indication that his performance had declined from the annual 1971 report. The report was the kiss of death before he left for Alabama that year.
v Bush did not meet the requirements for satisfactory participation from 1972 to 1973.
So, what have the Globe and Lechliter done? They've looked at all the documents, determined that they are not to be taken at face value and reinterpreted them as they see fit.
The rules say that Bush has to accumulate at least 50 points a year to meet his National Guard service requirements. Every year he is in the Guard, including while serving in Alabama, he earns more than 50 points -- but he doesn't earn them the right way. So, Bush was AWOL. It's irrelevant, they claim, that Bush received an honorable discharge -- he didn't deserve one.
Now, I'm not saying that their analysis is right or wrong -- Bush isn't running on his National Guard service so it really doesn't matter.
However, when it comes to Sen. John Kerry's service, the official records are the final word when it comes to accuracy.
If the official after action reports say that John Kerry's PCF was taking fire as he scooped Jim Rassman out of a river, then first-person accounts to the contrary are "unsubstantiated" and "false." Why? Because official papers say so.
If it's not a "smear" to question Bush's military record, then it's certainly not a "smear" to question Kerry's.
If Bush's military records are subject to reinterpretation 30+ years later, then Kerry's military records should be subject to reinterpretation 30+ years later.
Is the mainstream media carrying water for the Kerry campaign? I'd have to say so.