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February 14, 2004
The Blackest Pot
It's possible, of course, that Reynolds' colleague isn't impressed with Kerry generally, but the implication, given the biographical detail, is that he isn't impressed with Kerry's military service. So in some cases, it seems, quality of service is an issue. Here, Reynolds picks up on the latest conceit of Bush loyalists: Kerry's service in Vietnam wasn't really that impressive, because he didn't serve that long and wasn't hurt that bad.
And, indeed, if you think about it, Bush's service was probably more heroic than Kerry's, because Bush was reading magazines! And for him, reading magazines is probably pretty damn dangerous. And it's not just that - ask William Campenni, and I'm sure he'll tell you the magazines Bush was reading were filled with sharks!
Posted by Greg Beato at 11:41 AM
February 13, 2004
In response to my post below, a few readers sent in links to a story that seems to establish Bush's presence in Alabama on November 7th, 1972. You can read the entire piece at the Progressive Southerner. Here are the passages that suggest Bush was in Alabama on Election Day:
Winton Blount's son Tom, an accomplished architect who designed the Shakespeare Festival Theater in Montgomery, remembers well his encounter with Bush. He recently co-produced and underwrote a telling movie called The Trip, set in the period from 1973 to the early 1980s, about a young gay Texan and his conservative Republican lover. The son known as "Tommy" said he ended up in the same car with Bush, with Bush driving, on election night.
Initially, I interpreted Marks' story as meaning that Bush left Montgomery after November 7th, then returned to the city "a few weeks later," or more specifically, late November. Then it occurred to me that she simply says Bush called her "a few weeks later," and that maybe he didn't actually come back to Montgomery until a few weeks after that. The new records that emerged this week (more on them below) show that Bush is credited with doing Guard duty for six days in early January 1973. So, I figured, perhaps that's when Bush's return trip happened...
As it turns out, though, a recent AP story features Marks too. Here's the relevant passage:
But she said: "He called me after he had left Montgomery to say he was coming back to do his Guard duty. It was either late November or early December (of 1972)."
Why is this important? Read on...
In July 2000, Bush campaign operative Dan Bartlett was pushing the story that Bush had performed Guard duty in Alabama some time after the November 7th election. Here, for example, is a piece that ran in Newsweek on July 17, 2000:
Eager to dispel suspicions, the Bush campaign last week produced someone to stand by the governor's version of events--an old girlfriend, Emily Marks, who got to know Bush in Alabama. Marks said Bush told her he had to go back to Montgomery after the election to make up some reserve requirements. "This corroborates what the governor has been saying," Bartlett said, adding that National Guard records show Bush fulfilled his duty requirements for the year.
By November 2000, Bartlett has firmed up his story a bit. Here is an excerpt from a piece that appeared in the New York Times on November 3, 2000:
On Sept. 5, 1972, Mr. Bush asked his Texas Air National Guard superiors for assignment to the 187th Tactical Recon Group in Montgomery "for the months of September, October and November."
Capt. Kenneth K. Lott, chief of the personnel branch of the 187th Tactical Recon Group, told the Texas commanders that training in September had already occurred but that more training was scheduled for Oct. 7 and 8 and Nov. 4 and 5. But Mr. Bartlett said Mr. Bush did not serve on those dates because he was involved in the Senate campaign, but he made up those dates later…Mr. Bartlett pointed to a document in Mr. Bush's military records that showed credit for four days of duty ending Nov. 29 and for eight days ending Dec. 14, 1972, and, after he moved back to Houston, on dates in January, April and May."
Notice how the story has changed over time? In 2000, "Mr. Bartlett said Mr. Bush had been too busy with the campaign to report in [October and November] but made up the time later."
That statement has a certain logic to it. If Bush were involved in helping to run a Senate campaign, then he probably wouldn't have time to perform Guard duties in the month prior to Election Day. In addition, the semi-legendary torn document that turned up some time in 2000 seemed to confirm this reasoning: the first date on it was a "29," and Bartlett interpreted it as meaning "November 29th."
Now, of course, a new not-torn document, an "ARF Statement of Points Earned," has been found, and it shows that Bush was credited with performing Guard duty on October 28th and 29th, and not on November 29th at all.
In addition, Bartlett's contentions that Bush had performed "four days of duty ending Nov. 29" and "eight days ending December 14, 1972" also appear to be wrong.
A lot of ex-military people have been castigating bloggers for not knowing how to read military documents, and that certainly applies to me. But I wonder - does it also apply to Bartlett? I ask, because when interpreting the torn document, not only did Bartlett get the dates wrong, he also equated "points" with the number of days served. That is, if you got one point, that meant you served one day. For example, on the torn document there is a "4" in the "PTS" column after the initial "29": Bartlett said that meant Bush had performed "four days of duty ending Nov. 29." In addition, there's an "8" in the "PTS" column after the "14": Bartlett said that meant Bush had performed "eight days [duty] ending Dec. 14."
As of 2000, then, Dan Bartlett was claiming that Bush had served 12 days of Guard duty in Alabama in November and December of 1972. In addition to the torn document, he also claimed that the testimony of Emily Marks "corroborate[d] what the governor has been saying."
As it turns out, though, the "ARF Statement of Points Earned" document, along with payroll records released by the White House, show that Bush was credited with 2 days of duty in October, 4 days of duty in November, and 0 days duty in December.
Now, remember, in 2000, Bartlett wasn't saying, "Hey, we found a document that we don't quite understand, but there's a 29 on it and we think that means November 29th, so we've come up with a story that seems to match that scenario."
Instead, he explicitly stated that Bush was too busy to do Guard duty in October and early November. Here, again, is the relevant passage from the Times piece:
If he was too busy to serve on October 7th and 8th and November 4th and 5th, how was he not too busy to serve on October 28 and 29th?
Also, in 2000, Bartlett was sure that Bush left Montgomery after the November 7th election, then returned to the city at least a few weeks afterward to make up the Guard duty he missed. And the reason he was so sure is that Emily Marks confirmed his story.
But given what the new ARF Statement and the payroll records released by the White House document, Emily Marks' story no longer makes any sense. She contends that Bush was in Montgomery in "late November or early December." The new documentation shows that Bush was given credit for doing Guard Duty on November 11th through the 14th, and then not again until January 4th.
So Bush might have been in Montgomery in late November or early December doing Emily Marks duty, but according to the latest records, at least, he wasn't doing Guard duty.
Liberal Washington press corp, I command thee: Ask Dan Bartlett if the story he so confidently dispensed in 2000 now makes any sense at all? Ask him how Bush was too busy on the Blount campaign to do duty on October 7th and 8th, but not too busy to do it on October 28th and 29th. Ask him how the testimony of Emily Marks, who says Bush was in Montgomery at a time when Bush didn't actually get any credit for doing Guard duty, supports Bush's contentions that he did Guard duty in Alabama. Thank you!
Posted by Greg Beato at 10:17 AM
February 11, 2004
Was Bush AWOL?
No, not from the National Guard...
What I'm wondering is: was Bush AWOL from Winton Blount's U.S. Senate campaign?
The reason Bush left Texas in the spring of 1972 was to work on Blount's campaign in Alabama. In 2000, when questions arose about whether or not Bush actually reported to the Alabama National Guard while he working on the Blount campaign, as he said he did, the Bush 2000 campaign team looked for evidence to corroborate his story. They found:
1) A torn document that allegedly showed Bush serving on various dates. According to the Bush campaign and the New York Times, the "29" on the torn document meant November 29th.
2) A woman named Emily Marks who claimed that she and Bush dated that summer in Montgomery, Alabama, and that she remembered him returning to Montgomery in November to fulfill his Guard duties there.
Marks makes an appearance again this week in a Washington Times article. Here's the relevant passage:
In 1972, Election Day was November 7th. In 2000, when the torn document was generally interpreted as showing that Bush had performed his Guard duty on November 29th, 1972, Marks' story made sense.
That is, Bush left Alabama after the election on November 7th, then returned a few weeks later and performed Guard duty on November 29th.
Now, however, a recently uncovered complete version of the torn document shows that the first date of service listed on it is not November 29th, as previously believed, but actually October 28th. According to this version of the document, Bush served on October 28th and 29th, and then again on November 11th through the 14th.
So the question becomes: how could Bush leave Alabama "after the election" on November 7th, stay away "for a few weeks," then be back in Alabama on November 11th?
To me, the only way Marks' story makes sense now is that Bush went AWOL from the Blount campaign, leaving Alabama before the election, on, say, October 30th (i.e., right after he served his two days of Guard duty on the 28th and the 29th.) Then, after the election was held and the "heavy fire" of the campaign had subsided, Bush returned to Alabama in mid-November to complete his Guard duty on the 11th through the 14th.
Or is it possible the Bush campaign simply helped Marks "remember" a story that seemed to correspond with what they initially thought the torn document showed (i.e., that Bush was in Alabama in late November)?
It's easy to create conspiracies out of the scraps of history, of course, but it seems worth looking into...
Posted by Greg Beato at 10:28 PM
February 10, 2004
Exposed breast bad! Adultery good! Also, how come Paris Hilton doesn't know who I am? Goddamn whore...
Posted by Greg Beato at 07:41 AM
February 08, 2004
Here's Glenn Reynolds, on how the Associated Press is allegedly spinning President Bush's remarks to Tim Russert on Meet The Press:
President Bush: Yes.
Russert: ...said he is absolutely convinced we will capture Osama bin Laden before the election.
President Bush: Well, I appreciate his optimism. I have no idea whether we will capture or bring him to justice, may be the best way to put it. I know we are on the hunt, and Osama bin Laden is a cold blooded killer, and he represents the nature of the enemy that we face...I know there is a lot of focus on Iraq, and there should be, but we’ve got thousands of troops, agents, allies on the hunt, and we are doing a pretty good job of dismantling al Qaeda better than a pretty good job, a very good job. I keep saying in my speeches, two thirds of known al Qaeda leaders have been captured or killed, and that's the truth.
At the same time, an expanded version of that initial AP report also exists, and it reads:
He chuckled when told that a Republican lawmaker had predicted Osama would be captured before the presidential election. "I appreciate his optimism," Bush said. "I have no idea whether we will capture or bring him to justice. ... I know we are on the hunt."
And this is actually a pretty good synopsis of what Bush said in the interview, given that AP writers work under space constraints that prevent them from including entire transcripts in their pieces. Will Reynolds acknowledge the existence of this more complete version of the story? So far, he hasn't. Advantage: Instapundit!
Posted by Greg Beato at 02:32 PM
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