The latest documents to suddenly surface about George W. Bush’s National Guard service make it clear that Bush did not quit flying jets in 1972 at the behest of or with the support of his commanding officers, as the administration has implied. Rather he was “suspended” after flatly refusing
to carry out a direct order to undertake a medical examination.
“President Bush failed to carry out a direct order from his superior in the Texas Air National Guard in May 1972 to undertake a medical examination that was necessary for him to remain a qualified pilot, according to documents made public yesterday.”
Furthermore, the documents show that Bush’s commanding officer was under some type of political pressure to “sugar coat” Bush’s evaluation during the time that he was skipping drills and blowing off direct orders.
“In another "memo to file," dated Aug. 18, 1973, (Lt. Col. Jerry) Killian complained that he was under pressure from his superior, Col. Walter B. "Buck" Staudt, to "sugar coat" Bush's officer evaluations.”
We still don’t know why Bush was so intent on avoiding a medical examination back then.
All of this comes on the heels of a Boston Globe story that reveals that Bush failed to meet his committments to the National Guard.
“...Bush fell well short of meeting his military obligation, a Globe reexamination of the records shows: Twice during his Guard service -- first when he joined in May 1968, and again before he transferred out of his unit in mid-1973 to attend Harvard Business School -- Bush signed documents pledging to meet training commitments or face a punitive call-up to active duty. He didn't meet the commitments, or face the punishment, the records show.”
Kevin Drum of Political Animal is right when he notes the ‘night and day’ differences between this story and the Swift Boat controversy:
“This story is a perfect demonstration of the difference between the Swift Boat controversy and the National Guard controversy. Both are tales from long ago and both are related to Vietnam, but the documentary evidence in the two cases is like night and day. In the Swift Boat case, practically every new piece of documentary evidence indicates that Kerry's accusers are lying. Conversely, in the National Guard case, practically every new piece of documentary evidence provides additional confirmation that the charges against Bush are true.”
As I have said before, the difference between Bush and Kerry is that while Kerry’s superior officers were recommending him for medals (even though some are now denigrating those same medals for political purposes), Bush’s superior officers were wondering where the hell he was half the time.
Kerry was an asset to the military. Bush was a disciplinary problem.