So, all those people who kept harping on Bush being “AWOL” from the National Guard – your crow has been served. Bush’s military records show conclusively that he met all the requirements for a member of the Air National Guard. Furthermore the White House has even released dental records confirming that Bush did serve in Alabama in 1973. Bill Hobbs, who has followed this story closely from the beginning, also has more details and analysis on the story.
This essentially destroys the arguments that Bush was AWOL. What Bush critics willingly ignore is that the Air National Guard is not like the regular military. You do not live on the base and you do not have to attend every single drill. The only way in which an ANG member can be “AWOL” is if they either fail to attend their yearly mandatory drill or if they do not report when mobilized. Bush’s unit was not mobilized, and he attended all his required drills. End of story.
Furthermore, the gap in Bush’s service record where he served no time is easily explained – he left to work on a campaign. Of course he’s not going to leave the campaign trail on a weekend to do paperwork for the ANG. Anyone who has worked an a campaign could understand why Bush did not serve from May 1972 to November 1972 – he was too busy to do so. The Guard is designed so that one can take time out like that – unless Bush’s unit was mobilized there’s nothing exceptional or scandalous about a Guard member taking a few months off for work. The only thing that matters is that they accumulate sufficient service points to meet their obligations to the Guard – which Bush has already proven that he did beyond any doubt.
A fellow member of Bush’s squadron further shows that the arguments against Bush are based on ignorance of ANG procedures. The ARG is not a "disciplinary unit" as Kevin Drum and others have claimed. It is a standard administrative unit for servicemembers who have either been transferred or retired from the service.
Critics still argue that there isn’t anyone who recalled seeing Bush in Alabama. Yet the commander of that unit said that he wouldn’t have remembered Bush anyhow. In a unit of 800 people, it’s not at all surprising that no one would remember a transferree from Texas who happened to be the son of a backbench Congressman with little national reputation.
As Thomas Lipscomb in the Chicago Sun-Times notes the media has done a very poor job of investigating these charges. George magazine covered the issue back in 2000 and found nothing out of sorts about Bush’s record. Unless someone cares to argue that John F. Kennedy, Jr. was a member of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, it seems that the air has burst from this story.
As I’ve said before, there is nothing to this story, and the issue is over. Bush was not AWOL, his records prove it, and anyone who attempts to argue otherwise has the credibility of people who think the evil Beta Reticulan Grays are using Major League Baseball satellites to beam bad thoughts into their brain. There’s a time when an argument becomes so asinine it’s not even worth bringing up – and the "Bush was AWOL" argument is now one of them. It has jumped the shark, it has gone belly-up, it’s joined the bleeding choir invisible. It is a dead argument!
Now that this dead horse has been beaten into Elmer’s Glue I expect this whole long sorry affair will be at an end…
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has more links on reactions to this story. It’s clear that those who have served in the military see this as less of an issue than the press, most of whom have no clue on how the ANG operates. He also notes how Colin Powell gave Congressional Democrats a "have you no decency?!" moment over this issue. It’s clear that it’s pointless to reason someone out of something they were never reasoned into, and those who still continue to bring up this issue are looking for anything that justifies their preconceptions about Bush being AWOL in some form of fashion.
Of course, these are the same people for the most part who said Clinton’s military service (or lack thereof) should be out of bounds for discussion…
UPDATE: Mitch Berg has more on this subject, showing how the arguments have been refuted one by one. He also notices this:
I got this, of course, from Power Line, who declare “Case Closed”. In a rational world, that’d be true.
But we’ve never been dealing with the rational on this issue – we’re dealing with Terry MacAuliffe and the moonbat left. Truth may not be a defense as far as the media is concerned.
Case in point; John Roberts, in the press converence on Tuesday when the records were released. I caught the audio on the Laura Ingraham show; it was almost like an SNL bit. He was extemporizing, trying to find SOME angle to spin the story against Bush.
Still, erasing the doubts among those for whom the actual truth matters is important. So here’s hoping.
Reading the comments for this entry, it’s clear that’s exactly what is going on. So far there’s been absolutely no facts presented, just the idea that Bush must have been AWOL even though there’s absolutely no evidence to support that contention. Logicians will note the frequent uses of fallacies of exclusion and slothful inductions.
Of course that hasn’t stopped people from arguing that aliens crashed at Roswell or that Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone, and new “evidence” is continually manufactured to “prove” that the truth isn’t there. However, for those of us who aren’t wearing tinfoil hats, its clear that the evidence points to one singular conclusion that shows that Bush indeed did fulfill his military service.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: The Baseball Crank comes up with 14 questions for the AWOL crowd, backed up with several links per point…