Scoop Link: Why Bush Left The Texas National Guard
INTRODUCTION: The article linked below from The Nation newspaper addresses directly the substantive issues raised in the recent CBS memos expose. In this respect it differs from the vast bulk of recent coverage of the Bush AWOL TANG issue which has dealt almost exclusively with the authenticity of the CBS memos. Importantly the article linked below does not in anyway rely on the CBS memos but comes to arguably far more damning conclusions about the conduct of the US Commander in Chief. - Scoop Co-Editor Alastair Thompson.
Why Bush Left Texas
By Russ Baker
Tuesday 14 September 2004
Growing evidence suggests that George W. Bush abruptly left his Texas Air National Guard unit in 1972 for substantive reasons pertaining to his inability to continue piloting a fighter jet.
A months-long investigation, which includes examination of hundreds of government-released documents, interviews with former Guard members and officials, military experts and Bush associates, points toward the conclusion that Bush's personal behavior was causing alarm among his superior officers and would ultimately lead to his fleeing the state to avoid a physical exam he might have had difficulty passing. His failure to complete a physical exam became the official reason for his subsequent suspension from flying status.
This central issue, whether Bush did or did not complete his duty - and if not, why - has in recent days been obscured by a raging sideshow: a debate over the accuracy of documents aired on CBS's 60 Minutes. Last week CBS News reported on newly unearthed memos purportedly prepared by Bush's now-deceased commanding officer. In those documents, the officer, Lieut. Col. Jerry Killian, appeared to be establishing for the record events occurring at the time Bush abruptly left his Texas Air National Guard unit in May 1972. Among these: that Bush had failed to meet unspecified Guard standards and refused a direct order to take a physical exam, and that pressure was being applied on Killian and his superiors to whitewash whatever troubling circumstances Bush was in.
Bush himself has publicly admitted to being somewhat wild in his younger years, without offering any details. He has not explicitly denied charges of drug use; generally he has hedged. He has said that he could have passed the same security screening his father underwent upon his inauguration in 1989, which certifies no illegal drug use during the fifteen preceding years. In other words, George W. Bush seemed to be saying that if he had used drugs, that was before 1974 or during the period in which he left his Guard unit.
It is notable that in 1972, the military was in the process of introducing widespread drug testing as part of the annual physical exams that pilots would undergo.
In 1971 Bush took his annual physical exam in May. It's reasonable to conclude that he would also take his 1972 physical in the same month. Yet according to official Guard documents, Bush "cleared the base" on May 15 without doing so. Fellow Guard members uniformly agree that Bush should and could have easily taken the exam with unit doctors at Ellington Air Force Base before leaving town. (It is interesting to note that if the Killian memos released by CBS do hold up, one of them, dated May 4, 1972, orders Bush to report for his physical by May 14 - one day before he took off.)
SEE FULL STORY HERE…