Monday, February 09, 2004

Here come the bombshells:

Kevin Drum uncovers an untorn copy of the fabled torn document, FOIAed to Bob Fertik in 2000, just after the election.

But wait, there's more. Mark Levine, host of the "Inside Scoop", also has a large collection of Bush military records. The key ones: this makes it clear he wasn't serving in Texas during the last two years of his reserve stint; instead he left for Alabama to work on a political campaign. He did so before his transfer request was even made, which was a bit of a boo-boo since it was apparently denied.

When July '72 rolled around, Bush missed his annual flight physical, resulting in him being suspended from flying duty. What happens next is where it gets fuzzy. Drum's new find shows that Bush started collecting 'ARF' points after he failed his physical. Bush requested transfer to Alabama again, which was granted, and then eventually requested early discharge to go to Harvard, also granted.

Now the one big hole I see in Drum's "disciplined and assigned to Denver" theory is that Bush was still requesting to be transferred and discharged from his old Texas unit. There may be some sort of Guard rule I'm unfamiliar with that makes that logical, but it seems odd from here.

That leaves the big question: where was Bush earning the points on the untorn doc? His second transfer was for three months beginning September 1972. The first two entries on the untorn doc would have been during this period; the rest when he was presumably back in Texas, although there is no evidence that he showed up for duty in either Alabama or Texas.

And remember that whatever that duty was it would have been no more than paper-pushing, since he couldn't fly.

So here are the issues that need to be cleared up, or at least should be the Dems' focus:

- Bush split for Alabama the first time before even bothering to apply for a transfer, and didn't return to Texas when the transfer was rejected. Regardless of anything else, that validates the AWOL slam.

- the discrepancy between his ARF Retirement Credit Summary (which shows no points after May '72) and the two ARF Statements of Points Earned, which cover October '72 through '73. Are those points not retirement credits? If so, what are they?

- if they are retirement credits, what activities was he performing to earn them? He couldn't fly, and hadn't been trained to do anything else.

Many questioned to be answered, and nobody in Big Media seems willing or able to do it.

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