Friday, February 20, 2004

The Dreyfuss Report is already a must-read. Check this out... but not right before you go to bed. The implications don't make for a pleasent night's sleep.
Up until now, I've been assuming that Bush's AWOL stint in the summer of '72 was just, essentially, laziness. He knew he would suffer no consequences for leaving Texas to go work for Red Blount, so he simply made a half-hearted effort to get approval to be there.

One question is really starting to bug me though. Why did he request transfer to the 9921st in the first place?

Look at the chronology again:

- early/mid May 1972: Bush leaves Texas for Alabama (he was gone by May 15 at the latest).

- May 24, 1972: Bush requests transfer to the 9921st. Transfer is subsequently denied.

(Note the original transfer request called for Bush to be at the 9921st until September.)

- Bush misses his July flight physical, with two years yet to go on his stint, and is grounded.

- September 5, 1972 (just as his transfer to the 9921st should have been expiring): Bush requests assignment to the 187th through November.

For all intents and purposes, Bush's record would be squeaky clean if not for that darn transfer denial. He split Texas in May to go to a non-paying unit for three months (June, July, August), then switches over to Dannelly for another three months (September, October, November).

But why didn't he simply request a transfer to the 187th initially? The argument will go, of course, that Bush didn't have time for drilling during the summer months because of all the heavy lifting he was doing on the Blount campaign. But that seems, well, absurd. The summer prior to a November election is busier than the two months leading up to election day? Huh? If anything the reverse would have made more sense -- serve at Dannelly through the summer, then switch to the paper unit for the fall during campaign crunch time.

It's the fact that Bush left Texas before requesting the transfer that also raises eyebrows though. If one had reason to suspect, for instance, that young Lt. Bush was in the grips of some personal crisis, one could very easily view the chronology as an attempt to cover over his paper trail. But his presence in Montgomery has been pretty clearly established -- Emily Curtis, for one, recalled meeting Bush that summer. So it wasn't like he dropped off the face of the earth.

Some big piece of this puzzle is still missing... maybe lost at the bottom of Bill Burkett's 15 gallon trashcan. If I had to guess, I'd say the point of it all was simply to get Bush the hell out of Houston (even after his three month transfer to Dannelly ended he was still going back there for dental exams and drills and such.) But that's pure specualtion, nothing more.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Calpundit, as usual, keeps blowing holes in the White House version of Bush's Guard service.

He links to this article in the Memphis Flyer (not exactly the Grey Lady, is it?) which, well, read it for yourself. This, to me, is the damning graf:

“I talked to one of my buddies the other day and asked if he could remember Bush at drill at any time, and he said, ‘Naw, ol’ George wasn’t there. And he wasn’t at the Pit, either.’”

The “Pit” was The Snake Pit, a nearby bistro where the squadron’s pilots would gather for frequent after-hours revelry.

You're telling me that Bush was at Dannelly for months in 1972, and didn't go out drinking with his fellow fighter jocks? Not once?

If you'll swallow that one, have I got a deal for you on some surplus Iraqi WMDs...

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

To everyone who still feels that Karl Rove is some sort of evil genius whose every move is pure brilliance, I give you: Fort Polk.

After a couple of days lull, the National Guard story has crept back up the Google News charts (#3 on the US board, with 120 hits and counting). And why? Because Bush went and visited a damn National Guard base!

Morons! They had gotten away with it! Calhoun's testimony, combined with the reams of documents they dumped on the media on Friday, had stifled the story. But in the White House's total arrogance, they couldn't just leave the thing alone for a week or two and let the final embers die down. Nope, they had to slap together a photo op at the last minute just to, I dunno, prove their manhood was longer and veinier than Terry McAuliffe's or something.

And now the story lives on. Vietnam War comes back to bite fortunate sons who didn't serve, says the Salt Lake Tribune (via the Chicago Trib). Political storm about Guard duty hovers over visit, the Chi Trib itself says. National Guard no longer a detour from war duty notes the Miami Herald, trying to derail one of the White House's chosen spin points. Straight to the point goes the Indianapolis Star: What did you do in the war?

The facts are sitting right there in plain sight. Bush left Texas in the summer of 1972 despite having been specifically turned down for a transfer to Alabama. He didn't get a valid order to report for duty in 'Bama until the end of October. The longer the story stays alive, the better the chance someone in Big Media is going to spell that out for folks. And the White House are now the ones keeping the story alive!

Morons. Hee hee!
Time for a Wednesday morning headline sweep!

The pundits got their wish:

Chink in Kerry’s Armor -- ABC News

Kerry, Edwards Look Ahead; Dean Weighs Options -- Fox News

Edwards Proves His Point With a Strong Late Surge -- New York Times

Glimpses Of A Brawl Ahead -- Hartford Courant

Wisconsin important again as Edwards gets wish for boost -- Kansas City Star

New challenges face energized Edwards campaign -- San Francisco Chronicle

The Rule of Two has finally clamped down on the Dem race. Of course Dean hasn't actually, y'know, quit or anything, but that's just nit-picking. The obits on his campaign have already been written:

Dean prepares exit strategy -- MSNBC

Give Dean his due for rousing Democrats -- Chicago Sun-Times

Dean Goes Offline -- Slate

For Dean, Loss Marks End of Road -- Los Angeles Times

Dean's chance to be a hero -- Boston Globe

I especially like the inherent tension between the Chicago Sun-Times and Boston Globe. According to the S-T, Dean has already performed a valuable service for his party; according to the Globe, the only valuable service he can perform is getting the hell out of the way of the real candidates.

It just points out that the 'official' version of the Rise and Fall of Scary Yelling Man hasn't quite congealed yet in the minds of Big Media. They didn't know what to make of him then; they don't know what to make of him now. Even Slate, who you might think would be closer to the ground on his campaign, completely misses the boat. Even if his candidacy ends, Dean will very definitely not be offline. His presence, and his supporters, will haunt the ether for quite a while yet, spinning politics in unexpected ways.

Just ask Rep. Ben Chandler, D-KY.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

That's a first, or at least damn unusual. CNN just called Kerry the winner in Wisconsin, even though Edwards currently has more votes.

There we go. Kerry just surged into a commanding 26 vote lead with 23% reporting. Color me unconvinced by that projection...
Dear Lord. Wolf Blitzer is still blaming Dean's fade on his Iowa concession yowl. Just because your personality is paper-thin, Wolf, doesn't mean the political landscape is too.

And at 12% reporting, it's Edwards up by less than 1000 votes in Wisconsin. Wow.
Spotted on Pandagon.

The third-last paragraph in the full article, I find, is the interesting one. Compromise intelligence efforts in the War on Terror just for the purpose of petty political revenge? Why, this government wouldn't so such a thing, err, twice, would they?

Now the real question is, will anyone in Big Media make the connection to l'affaire Plame...
As part of their afternoon loop, CNN has been running a piece about how Gitmo isn't as bad as a Russian hellhole. Why, it's better than a resort, says the mother of a prisoner used to rancid food and filthy linen (or at least according to the translation of her recount of his letters). Well, isn't that just spiffy.
I've been flat on my back with the flu... hence the radio silence.

It does look like the White House strategy with regard to the AWOL story seems to have worked though. They diverted the press attention towards October 1972, then the double-whammy of the doc dump and Lt. Col. Calhoun's (chock full o' holes) testimony convinced the press that the story was played out.

UPDATE: When I say that Calhoun's testimony is "chock full o' holes", I don't mean that I think he's lying (although given that the pay records available contradict him, it's certainly possible). I just don't believe that his story does anything to discredit the AWOL story -- instead, it actually supports it. The National Guard denied Bush's transfer to Alabama in May '72. Calhoun reports that, based on an informal call from Bush's Texas base commander, he allowed Bush to 'do drills' in his office all through that summer. I'd call that one eyewitness to the fact that Bush was absent from his assigned unit without leave...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?