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 Thursday, August 26, 2004

  George W. Bush Lied About His Military Experience.

Tell that to the founders of "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth"

Read here full article by David Corn in The Nation

Below edited article by David Corn:

Did George W. Bush had overstated his military experience?

In his campaign autobiography, he wrote that he had completed his pilot training in 1970 while assigned to an air base in Houston and "continued flying with my unit for the next several years."

But as the Boston Globe revealed, he stopped flying during his final 18 months of service in 1972 and 1973. Bush had been grounded after failing to take a flight exam, and had won permission to train with a unit in Alabama where he did no flying. There are no records proving he showed up for duty in Alabama, but Bush has insisted he did.

There was another instance when Bush clearly did not speak truthfully about his military record.

In 1978, Bush claimed he had served in the US Air Force. Bush's congressional campaign ran a pullout ad in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that declared he had served "in the US Air Force and the Texas Air National Guard where he piloted the F-102 aircraft."

Bush had never served in the Air Force.

He had only been in the Air National Guard.

But when AP asked Bush if he had been justified in claiming service in the Air Force, Bush, then the governor of Texas and a presidential candidate, said, "I think so, yes. I was in the Air Force for over 600 days."

Karen Hughes, his spokeswoman, maintained that when Bush attended flight school for the Air National Guard from 1968 to 1969 he was considered to be on active duty for the Air Force and that several times afterward he had been placed on alert, which also qualified as active duty for the Air Force.

All told, she said, Bush had logged 607 days of training and alerts. "As an officer [in the Air National Guard]," she told the AP, "he was serving on active duty in the Air Force."

But this explanation was wrong.

Says who? The Air Force.

As the Associated Press reported:

"The Air Force says that Air National Guard members are considered 'guardsmen on active duty' while receiving pilot training. They are not, however, counted as members of the overall active-duty Air Force.

Anyone in the Air National Guard is always considered a guardsmen and not a member of the active-duty Air Force, according to an Air Force spokeswoman in the Pentagon.

A National Guard member may be called to active duty for pilot training or another
temporary assignment and receive active-duty pay at the time, but they remain Guard members. It may be a question of semantics."
Two spokespersons for the US Air Force confirmed that an active-duty member of the Air National Guard is not considered a member of the US Air Force.

Captain Cristin Lesperance of the US Air Force media relations office, said:

"If a member of the Air National Guard is in pilot training, they would remain on the Guard books. They would be counted as Guard, NOT as an active-duty Air Force member."
Bush was hyping his military record way back in 1978.

But he repeated and defended the misrepresentation in 1999 while campaigning for the White House.

And, no doubt, Kerry's critics would consider any remark Kerry made twenty-six years ago fair game.

Admiral Roy Hoffman, a founder of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, recently said that his group is not politically motivated: "It would make no difference if John Kerry were a Republican, Democrat or an Independent, Swift Boat veterans would still be speaking the truth concerning John Kerry's military service record."

But are any of Kerry's accusers willing to criticize Bush for falsely representing his service?

Kerry, who volunteered to go to Vietnam and won five medals, has made his Vietnam service a central element of his campaign for the presidency. So there is nothing improper about examining his account of his Vietnam days, as long as such scrutiny is done in an honest and accurate fashion.

But Bush overstated his own military record (which involved no combat, no derring-do, no wounds, and no enemy fire) for political purposes, and when he was caught doing so he stuck to a phony story.

Yet no firestorm ensued.

Will Republican funders now underwrite a group called Air Force Veterans for Truth that will demand that Bush withdraw his claim of membership in the Air Force?

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