Where conspiracies never die

By Anthony York

By Letters to the Editor

Published October 24, 2000 7:11AM (EDT)

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Reporters should tell George W. Bush to release ALL of his military records, as John McCain did when the public had questions. The evidence shows that Bush was suspended from flying for failure to complete a medical exam at the time the military started drug testing. In his autobiography he says he gave up flying because the F102 jet he had trained on was replaced; his commander says they flew the F102 for two more years. Bush says in his book he didn't do the medical exam because he couldn't leave Alabama to see his personal doctor; the Guard makes members use THEIR doctors.

There is no conspiracy. Bush lies, has lied and broke his oath to his country. These are serious character defects, even for someone running for dogcatcher.

-- Martha Warner

Your article quotes Keating: "A switch does seem to flip where (Bush) decides not to fly anymore. I think it's worth asking about why he suddenly decided not to fly again. That's a worthwhile question to ask." A more worthwhile question to ask is this: How did a lieutenant in the Air National Guard get to make that decision himself? We're not talking about a career where you get to pick your assignments. In the military, you do what they tell you to do and go where they tell you to go. How does a junior officer get the option to flush thousands of dollars worth of flight training down the toilet on his own?

-- John Griffone

I served in the National Guard for nine years and as I was leaving my unit, they told me I only had five. I had been with that same unit for seven years. Also, we had people that would transfer through the unit for various reasons. As an officer, I had a few of them in my unit. I barely remember any of them and spent most of my time and effort with those in the unit on a permanent basis. Poor record keeping is legendary in the Guard and I can cite many more examples.

-- Chris Zimmer

George W. Bush's record in the National Guard has been heavily reported on the Internet. However, Salon once again gets it wrong by suggesting that the Boston Globe was the first to try to publicize the story.

Soft Skull Press Inc., which republished J.H. Hatfield's controversial biography of Bush, "Fortunate Son," earlier this year, not only knew of the story and tried to make it public, we had Page 76 of Bush's Texas Air National Guard file (which shows that Bush failed to appear for a required physical) up on softskull.com months before the Boston Globe piece appeared. Additionally, even the George magazine piece mentioned in your article was heavily influenced by our research -- both I and publisher Sander Hicks were interviewed by Karthik, and we showed him the file.

It isn't surprising that Salon got it wrong. Salon has been slamming J.H. Hatfield's work since last October, when "Fortunate Son" was pulled off the shelves by St. Martin's, its original publisher. Salon, like the mainstream print media, wishes to have the power to discredit work by fiat, without having to put any effort into research. Thus, all the mumbo-jumbo about a mysterious torn page when Page 76 of the file we have clearly shows that Bush skipped an annual physical, and thus the slamming of Hatfield's controversial thesis about Bush's '72 cocaine arrest.

And people wonder why many people don't believe what they read in the papers, or on the Internet, anymore.

-- Nick Mamatas
Senior editor, Soft Skull Press

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