Life during wartime.
I see that those who are defending President AWOL have moved into the third stage of “caught with my flightsuit around my ankles” grief.
First there was denial:
Russert: The Boston Globe and the Associated Press have gone through some of the records and said thereâ€™s no evidence that you reported to duty in Alabama during the summer and fall of 1972.
President Bush: Yeah, theyâ€™re â€” they’re just wrong. There may be no evidence, but I did report; otherwise, I wouldn’t have been honorably discharged. In other words, you don’t just say “I did something” without there being verification. Military doesn’t work that way. I got an honorable discharge, and I did show up in Alabama.
Then there was anger:
MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, Greg, you’re asking me to kind of break down hour-by-hour what he was doing during 1972 and 1973. What these documents show is that he was serving in the National Guard and he was paid for that service. And they show that he was serving in the National Guard and that he met the requirements necessary to fulfill his duties.
Q But his equivalent duty, does that he mean there was a base there he was flying out of? Is that what he recalls?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’d have to go back and double-check, but he remembers serving during that period and performing his duties, both in Alabama and in Texas.
And these are — look, these are questions we addressed all during the campaign. The issue that came up recently was some were trying to make an outrageous, baseless accusation. If I recall, some were using the comment, “deserter” or “AWOL.” I mean, that is outrageous; it is baseless. The President of the United States fulfilled his duties, he was honorably discharged. And now there are some that are not — are clearly not interested in the facts. They’re clearly more interested in twisting the facts to seek a partisan political advantage in the context of an election year. And that’s just really unfortunate that some would stoop to such a level. (You really need to go read the whole press conference with McClellan. He gets worked by the press.)
FROM ALL THE NOISE the pundits have been making, youâ€™d think this was 1976, not 2004.
The Democrats have been attacking George W. Bushâ€™s record of service in the Air National Guard, claiming that he was AWOL in 1972 and 1973. As it turns out, his drilling records for those years have surfaced, and he did miss some drills.
Iâ€™m also a reservist, and I missed four drills in 2001 (after 9/11) and twelve more last year. What was my excuse? I wanted to spend more time with my family. No problem, I just made them up later.
So did George W. Bush, according to his service records. And his excuse was much better than mine: he was working on a Senate campaign. This sort of thing happens all the time in the reserves. If you canâ€™t make your unitâ€™s regularly scheduled drill session for whatever reason, you simply drill with another unit, or make the time up later. Itâ€™s called “flex-drilling” or “rescheduling drills,” and every reservist does it at one time or another.
This should put an end to the controversy â€“ but of course it wonâ€™t.
Smash is right about one thing. This isn’t going away….