Friday, January 23, 2004

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Is Bush a Deserter?

This question is finally getting a little attention, and its about time. I'm really stunned how little attention has been paid to it by the mainstream media. I'm not out to get W here, but we really need to know the facts about this. I've read a good bit about it, and the best I can say is that it doesn't look good for Bush. But I keep thinking that there must be some anti-AWOL evidence that I haven't seen. Otherwise why would the media have let the story slide so blatantly? (Wow. That sure sounds stupid now that it's outside of my head...) We heard far more about Clinton's "draft dodging" than we ever did about this, and this is a much more serious charge. Anyway, I think we all need to get serious about finding out the truth here, one way or the other.

I just ran across a link at Instapundit, and followed the link, thinking I was going to find out something interesting. Thing about the conservatives is, they tend to sound positive about everything they say (Instapundititis?), and I frequently fall for it. (Don't send me e-mails on this: I hereby acknowledge that liberals have their own irritating quirks--but they never have really mastered that casually dogmatic tone like the righties have... Sure the radical lefties are strident as Hell, but they aren't liberals now, are they?) Anyway, I followed the link, and discovered an astoundingly lame essay that doesn't even come close to showing that the AWOL charges are bogus. Although the essay is titled "Bush A Military Deserter? Calm Down, Michael" and sub-titled "Clark backer Michael Moore calls President Bush a 'deserter' for missing Air National Guard drills 31 years ago. Puh-lease!" The essay does not actually contain an explicit conclusion to the effect that the charges are false. (contra Instapundit, the essay does not really claim that the charges are bogus.) In fact, the evidence proffered is pathetically weak, and even the best of it merely asserts but does not prove that the period of time in question was shorter than some people have asserted. The only evidence there that I hadn't seen before was this:

"Records are lacking for that period. However, The Associated Press quoted two friends who worked with Bush in the Blount campaign as saying they recall him attending Air National Guard drills in Alabama. Joe Holcombe, described as a former Republican county chairman in Alabama, was quoted as saying, 'It was pretty well-known that he was in the Guard while we worked on the campaign.' And Emily Martin, who said she had dated Bush during the campaign, was quoted saying, 'He told us that he was having to do his Guard duty in Alabama while he worked on the campaign.' "

Are we seriously being asked to base our judgment about this matter on this absurdly vague and weak evidence? Statements by Bush's spokesman, and a couple of friends who claim that "it was well-known that he was in the Guard"???
These people don't even say that he fulfilled any of his obligations, just that "he was in the Guard," which is not what is at issue--we know he was in the Guard, but did he show up when he was supposed to? I'm more alarmed after reading this than I was before. If this is the best evidence they can produce, then there's a serious problem here.

Via a link from a comment at Atrios, I find this by Orcinus, but haven't read it carefully.

Instapundit also directs us here. I haven't read this stuff, but I will.


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