12/13/2005: Thought for the Day:
The tale of President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard is a key to who he is, to his character, to his understanding of how the world works, to his core. Much of what you need to know about the President's privileged youth, his access to special treatment, his empathy (or lack of it) for less advantaged individuals is contained in this story. The fact that the President and his supporters have covered up the less-than-heroic way he got into the Guard when others were being sent to Vietnam and how he got out more than two years early when he didn't feel like showing up anymore is further evidence that this is a guy who just doesn't get it when it comes to how other Americans lived and served and died during Vietnam.
New documents at the book's web site show that Guard officials in the early '70s refused other reservists even minimal "early outs." They also lay out clearly the life or death scramble that young Texans and their families were in while trying to get their children into the safety of the state National Guard during the Vietnam war. For Bush, there was no struggle, just a stroll... into the job he wanted, the assignment he wanted and the unit closest to home.
The truth about Bush's service in the Guard is an embarrassing complication for a commander-in-chief who is in the process of sending current Guard troops to serve in Iraq right now, doing the kind of duty that the President was protected from during Vietnam.
To this day, through four political campaigns in Texas and nationwide, the President has not adequately explained the more than year-long gap in his service record when he went to Alabama -- against his commander's wishes -- to work on a political campaign, and later why he left the Guard more than two years earlier than he promised.
--Mary Mapes [in a dKos interview]
Len on 12.13.05 @ 06:23 AM CST