Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard of USA Today have an unusually hard-hitting and lengthy piece (for that paper) on the Bush/AWOL/coverup story. It also includes a colorful description of our drunken, partying, lazy-at-work future president.
Bush’s military records show gaps in drill attendance from May 1, 1972, to April 30, 1973, when his Texas supervisors could not account for his whereabouts and said so in his last written evaluation. During that time, Bush lived briefly in Alabama, where he worked for the Senate campaign of Winton “Red” Blount. He returned to Texas to work in a Houston program for troubled youth.
C. Murphy Archibald, who worked on the Blount campaign, said that in the fall of 1972, Bush frequently was late for work on the Alabama campaign and often bragged about how much he drank the night before.
“I was bowled over by the competence of this guy Allison, but perplexed by how he had brought this young guy along who seemed to have so little interest in the campaign,” Archibald recalled. On most days, Archibald said, Bush arrived at campaign headquarters around noon or 1 p.m. and left around 5:30 or 6 p.m., leaving assigned duties unfinished.
…Requests for his military records under the Freedom of Information Act have hung in limbo for months. The White House counsel’s office has become involved in answering the requests even though they were filed with the Pentagon. In recent months, Pentagon officials have been ordered not to discuss the matter with reporters.
…Gerald Lechliter, a retired Army colonel and a member of Veterans against the Iraq War, compared Bush’s publicly released records with military procedures manuals from that era. He concluded that Bush’s superiors failed to follow proper procedures when he missed required training and when he failed to take his flight physical.
Bush’s officer performance report for 1972 “was a clear and unmistakable indication that his performance had declined from the annual 1971 report,” Lechliter wrote in an analysis of the records. “The report was the kiss of death before he left for Alabama that year.”