[Homestead] Our Maximum Leader's real military record

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Thu Sep 9 14:07:26 EDT 2004


Explains a lot about his lack of commitment to winning a war.

Boston.com 	THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

The Boston Globe <http://www.boston.com/news/globe/>


  Bid cited to boost Bush in Guard


    '73 memo tells of request to 'sugar-coat' report

By Walter V. Robinson and Francie Latour, Globe Staff  |  September 9, 2004

In August 1973, President Bush's superior officer in the Texas Air 
National Guard wrote a memorandum complaining that the commanding 
general wanted him to ''sugar coat" an annual officer evaluation for 
First Lieutenant Bush, even though Bush had not been at the base for the 
year in question, according to new documents obtained and broadcast last 
night by CBS News.

The commander, the late Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian, wrote that 
he turned aside the suggestion from Brigadier General Walter B. Staudt, 
Bush's political mentor in the Guard. But he and another officer agreed 
to ''backdate" a report -- evidently the evaluation -- in which they did 
not rate him at all. There is such a report in Bush's file, dated May 2, 
1973.

''I'll backdate but won't rate," Killian apparently wrote in what is 
labeled a ''memo to file." Initials that appear to be Killian's are on 
the memo, but not his name or unit letterhead.

The August 1973 document, dated as Bush was preparing to leave Texas to 
attend the Harvard Business School, represents the first apparent 
evidence of an attempt to embellish Bush's service record as his time in 
the Guard neared its end.

The four pages of documents also contain an August 1972 order from 
Killian, suspending Bush from flying status for ''failure to perform" up 
to US Air Force and Texas Air National Guard standards and failing to 
take his annual flight physical. The suspension came three months after 
Killian had ordered Bush to take his physical, on May 14, 1972.

The documents also contain what appears to be Killian's memo of a 
meeting he had with Bush in May 1972, at which they discussed the option 
of Bush skipping his military drills for the following six months while 
he worked on a US Senate campaign in Alabama. During that meeting, 
Killian wrote that he reminded Bush ''of our investment in him and his 
commitment."

CBS, on its Evening News and in an in-depth report on ''60 Minutes," 
said it obtained the documents from Killian's ''personal files." 
Anchorman Dan Rather reported that the White House did not dispute the 
authenticity of the documents and said the network had used document 
authorities to verify their authenticity.

The disclosures by CBS follow a report in yesterday's Globe that Bush 
signed documents in 1968 and in 1973 promising to fulfill specific 
training requirements or face a punitive order to active duty. The 
records examined by the Globe, and verified by several former military 
officers, show that Bush did not meet his commitments. Nor was he penalized.

The White House, in response to the Globe report, ascribed political 
motives to two of the analysts quoted by the Globe. A third retired 
officer quoted in the Globe report who agreed with them has been a White 
House consultant on Bush's military records. Last night, Dan Bartlett, 
the White House communications director, asserted in an e-mail to the 
Globe that Bush had no obligation to do Reserve duty in Massachusetts. 
And the White House reiterated its position that, notwithstanding the 
records, Bush fulfilled his military commitment. Bush received an 
honorable discharge.

Former military officers said last night that the four documents 
obtained by CBS, two of which should have been in Bush's publicly 
released file, contain evidence that political influence may have come 
into play as he sidestepped his training requirements in his final two 
years of service, from May 1972 until May 1974.

''These documents represent strong evidence that Lieutenant Bush didn't 
perform after April 1972, regardless of whether he received a paycheck," 
said retired Brigadier General David L. McGinnis, who was a top aide to 
the assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs.

Lawrence J. Korb, an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan 
administration and now a national security specialist at a liberal think 
tank, said after reviewing the CBS documents last night that if Killian 
and Lieutenant Colonel William D. Harris Jr. had written a truthful 
evaluation report on Bush, ''he would have been called to involuntary 
active duty."

Added Korb: ''For the commanding officer to suggest that his [Bush's] 
evaluation be sugar-coated is a clear indication of the political 
influence Bush had." Korb said the alleged suggestion by Staudt was also 
a ''violation of military ethics." An effort by the Globe last night to 
reach Staudt was unsuccessful. Harris, like Killian, has died.

On ''60 Minutes," CBS also aired an interview with Ben Barnes, the 
former Democratic speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, 
expressing regret that he helped Bush land a Guard slot in 1968 at the 
request of a Bush family friend. Barnes's intercession was first 
reported in a legal deposition he gave in 1999. Bush has denied there 
was political influence.

In his first public interview on the subject, Barnes, now a fund-raiser 
for Senator John F. Kerry, said he helped Bush and many other 
politically connected young men avoid military service in the Vietnam 
War to further his own political career, and that he now regrets his 
actions.

''I don't think that I had any right to have the power that I had, to 
choose who was going to go to Vietnam and who was not going to go to 
Vietnam," Barnes said. ''In some instances, when I looked at those 
names, I was maybe determining life or death, and that's not a power 
that I want to have." He added: ''I'm very, very sorry."

Yesterday, the White House dismissed Barnes's interview. ''The bottom 
line is that there's no truth to this," Dan Bartlett, Bush's 
communication director, told CBS.

The White House spent much of yesterday on the defensive on the issue. 
After the Globe report, Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic 
National Committee, labeled Bush's National Guard service ''a very big 
issue," since it calls into question his credibility.

''These new documents show that the president did not serve honorably," 
McAuliffe said. ''How about you [Bush] for once owning up to your own 
record and tell the American people exactly what you were doing when you 
were supposed to be serving?"

Jim Dyke, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, dismissed 
McAuliffe's comments as ''false," ''reckless," and ''silly."

The White House made no such characterizations of the four pages of 
documents written by Killian, whom Bush described as a friend in his 
1999 autobiography, ''A Charge to Keep." Dated during the controversial 
final 17 months of Bush's assignment to Ellington Air Force Base in 
Houston, the four pages begin with Killian's written order dated May 4, 
1972, for Bush to report 10 days later for an annual flight physical 
required of all pilots.

The Aug. 1, 1972, document removing Bush from flight status for 
''failure to perform to USAF/TexANG [US Air Force and Texas Air National 
Guard] standards" and failing to take the flight physical suggests that 
Bush did not comply with Killian's May order. The August document also 
calls for the convening of a ''flight review board" that would have 
assessed Bush's status. There is no record that such a board was 
appointed. In that memo, Killian also recommended that the unit he 
commanded, the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, replace Bush as a 
pilot with someone from a waiting list of pilots who had served in Vietnam.

The Aug. 18, 1973, memo might draw the most attention from the White 
House. Another ''Memo to File," it starts, ''SUBJECT: CYA" -- a 
venerable military acronym for ''cover your ass."

General Staudt, it begins, ''has obviously pressured [Colonel Bobby W.] 
Hodges more about Bush. I'm having trouble running interference and 
doing my job." He wrote that Lieutenant Colonel Harris ''gave me a 
message today . . . regarding Bush's [annual officer efficiency report] 
and Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it."

But, Killian wrote, ''Bush wasn't here during the rating period," and he 
didn't have any ''feedback" from the unit with whom Bush said he trained 
in Alabama. ''I will not rate," Killian wrote.

In the CBS news magazine report, Robert Strong, a friend of Killian who 
ran the Texas Air National Guard administrative offices during the 
Vietnam era and who reviewed the documents for ''60 Minutes," said he 
believed that Killian took his responsibilities as a pilot very 
seriously, but that in Bush's case, Killian found himself ''between a 
rock and a hard place."

In trying to satisfy commands from a superior to give a favorable 
evaluation to a soldier who had underperformed but had powerful 
political connections, Strong said Killian faced an impossible situation.

Globe staff reporters Rick Klein and Michael Rezendes contributed to 
this report. 

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