CNN brings us this incredible and timely story:
(CNN) -- A retired officer with the Alabama Air National Guard says he witnessed President Bush serving his weekend duty in 1972 -- an account that could be significant given Democratic questions on whether Bush fulfilled his service obligations during the Vietnam War.
Speaking on the phone Friday from Daytona Beach, Florida, John B. "Bill" Calhoun said he commanded Bush and that Bush attended four to six weekend drills at Dannelly Field in Montgomery. He said Bush was with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Alabama in 1972.
The drills consisted of eight-hour days on Saturday and Sunday, Calhoun said.
Where to start with this one?
In 2000, the Boston Globe, The New York Times, and the Washington Post briefly looked into this story. Retired general Turnipseed(I'm not making that up) and his executive officer were interviewed, and both stated that Bush never reported for duty in Alabama. Turnipseed went so far as to say, since he did his flight training in Texas, he would have remembered meeting a young lieutenant from Texas.
Neither one of them remembered meeting Bush, neither one remembered Bush reporting for duty, and neither one of them thought to say, "Hey, you might want to talk to a guy named Calhoun. He would've been Bush's CO."
So these stories come out and get a very gentle and limited treatment from the Bush-friendly press. Forty nine stories in all, or something like that. A very minor contraversy compared to the more shocking scandals at the time, such as "Has Al Gore switched to earth tones? And, if so, is he a total lying scumbag, or what?"
So it's possible that Calhoun wasn't even aware of the issue, and that's why he didn't say anything in 2000. Right? Wrong!
"What I do know about Bill is that whatever he says is the truth," [Calhoun's ex-wife] added. "This issue came up in the 2000 election. ... Bill did mention in 2000 that he contacted someone and said, 'If you need me to come forward, I will.' And they said, 'We're hoping that won't be necessary.'
So Calhoun noticed the issue. And he didn't call his local paper and give them the scoop of their lifetime. He didn't call or write the Washington Post. Instead, he called the Bush people, who are never very concerned with image(they're more substance focused), and said, "If you need me to come forward, I will."
And the Bush people, in the eleventh hour of a presidential campaign, with a potential landmine about to go off under their feet, say, "We're hoping that won't be necessary."
And you can understand their reasoning: "We could just nip this thing right in the bud and put the allegation that our presidential candidate was AWOL during a time of war, or we can just sit back and see how this crazy thing plays out. I mean, it's not like anyone took a picture of him in a sweater, or anything. What the heck? Tell him we'll call him if we need him."
And though the rumors persisted, and occassionally popped up in newspaper stories, and though there were websites devoted to the issue, and though there were even rewards offered for a guardsman who could remember serving with Bush in Alabama, nobody in the Bush administration bothered to give Calhoun a call, and Calhoun never bothered to mention it to anyone.
Keep in mind, this is the Bush administration that spared no evidence, no matter how flimsy, on the need to invade Iraq--the African uranium, the aluminum tubes, the al-Qaeda operatives meeting with Iraqi intelligence in Prague. All of which turned out to be bullshit, but they offered it without hesitation, and sometimes over the objections of the CIA, the State Department, foreign governments, and the U.N. weapons inspectors.
But when it came to a potentially campaign ending scandal, and they had eye-witness testimony, they preferred to just let it slide and see what happened.
And when the issue resurfaced during the Democratic debates, did anyone bother to pick up the phone and say, "Calhoun, we need you"? Nope. And when it began appearing in the major newspapers and on network television, did anyone say, "Call Calhoun"? Nope. And when Tim Russert sat in the Oval Office and asked Bush about his guard service, did Bush say, "Tim, you can call Bill Calhoun. He'll tell you I showed up"? Nope.
Instead, the Bush people released a dental record.
But now that Calhoun has stepped forward, he can surely point us in the direction to put this issue to rest. Right?
Calhoun said he does not have any photographs or documents to prove Bush showed up for duty, but his ex-wife, Patsy Burks, said she remembered Calhoun's account.
Well, Christ, ex-wives are better than any ol' stupid piece of paper. Just how good is the ex-wife evidence?
"What I do know about Bill is that whatever he says is the truth," she added.
There you have it, folks. A classic case of "It's true because we say so." And that's good enough for me. Especially after that whole Iraq thing.
Course, that still doesn't explain why, when Bush left Alabama in November of '72 and returned to Houston, his superior officers in the Texas Air National Guard were unable in March of '73 to evaluate Lieutenant Bush because, according to them, Bush had not been observed for the past year as he was in Alabama. In other words, even though he had been in Texas for five months, his superior officers hadn't seen him and were under the impression that he was still in Alabama.
I mean, why would Bush, who was so conscientious about reporting for guard duty in Alabama, suddenly become so lax when he returned to his home post in Houston? I guess he was just plumb tuckered out from all the guard duty he pulled in Alabama. All those eight hour days can take a toll on a guy, and, back then, Bush liked to "sleep in" until about noon, if you know what I mean.
It also doesn't explain why Calhoun, who was young lieutenant Bush's CO, didn't put a boot up Bush's ass to make him go get his physical. Bush had the time to go get his teeth cleaned, even though his personal dentist was back in Houston. Surely Bush had the time to go get a physical so that he could do the one and only thing the government was paying him to do--fly airplanes.
I guess back then commanding officers didn't really care too much what the men under their command did, as long as they put in some eight hour days. It's not like there was a war on or anything. It's not like Calhoun should have been distressed that some of the pilots under his command were being disciplined and were unfit to fly because they hadn't bothered, after getting their teeth cleaned, to get a simple physical.
It's not like this story isn't a total crock of shit.