Sunday, September 12, 2004

Can we settle this Bush/National Guard thing once and for all?

It's become so obvious that George Dubya walked away from his TANG commitments that even U.S. News and World Report (that bastion of liberal indecency) has shredded Bush's lame excuses. What's amusing is that, faced with overwhelming documentary evidence that Bush bailed on his Guard contract, we have that 'White House officials did not respond to the analysis last week but emphasized that Bush had "served honorably"'.

May I make a humble suggestion?

It's become thoroughly annoying to hear admin spokesweasel Scott McClellan state, over and over, again and again, repeatedly, that "the President must have fulfilled his commitments, otherwise he would never have received an honorable discharge," constantly hiding behind the meaningless honorable discharge issue to deflect any criticism. But there's a simple way to deal with that -- take the whole honorable discharge thing off the table entirely.

Some enterprising member of the WH press corps can challenge Li'l Scottie to show, using official documentation, that Bush did in fact fulfill his obligations to the TANG according to the terms of his contract when he joined. Now, what would this involve?

First, it would require documenting the obligations of a member of the TANG at that time, which should be fairly easy to do. The rules and regulations are available to anyone, and even the aforementioned USNews article spells out some of it -- that it was a six-year obligation, that a member was required to attend "at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year beginning July 1," that there was a fairly restrictive time limit for when you could make up missed drills, and so on. None of this would be open to interpretation and, thus, it wouldn't give McClellan the chance to blow it off with his patented "I don't agree with your characterization." If it's in the regs, it's in the regs. Period.

And, second, once the obligations have been irrevocably established, see if Bush satisfied them. Even the White House is implicitly admitting that he didn't as, in the USNews report, they're asking to change the rules on when the counting should begin, among other things.

So what's so strikingly brilliant about the above strategy? Three things:

1. You can't shuck and jive your way out of the clearly-documented obligations of a member of the TANG back then. It's all spelled out in black and white.

2. Similarly, whether Bush fulfilled those obligations should also be documentable or not. Again, black and white. Either he satisfied those requirements, or he didn't.

3. Finally (and most importantly), it avoids the issue of the honorable discharge entirely so that that can't be used as a weaselly defense yet again. If Scottie tries to hide behind the discharge again, he should be reminded (forcefully if need be) that the question had nothing to do with the discharge and only with whether Smirky McFlightSuit satisfied the requirements of the TANG as clearly documented when he joined.

Thoughts? Have I missed anything?

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