An analysis of the war president's military record


Geraldine Sealey
September 8, 2004 11:44PM (UTC)

The New York Times' Web site has posted the 32-page analysis of George W. Bush's Guard records by Gerald Lechliter, a retired Army colonel and self-described registered Independent, who in columnist Nicholas Kristof's assessment has "made the most meticulous examination" of Bush's records.

Lechliter concludes that Bush received "unauthorized, i.e., fraudulent, payments for inactive duty training, even if he did show up for duty." His other findings:

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"The memorandum from Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Albert C. Lloyd, who affirmed for the White House that Bush met his retention/retirement year point requirement, is an obfuscation, or outright deception, that disregarded Bush's failure to meet the statutory and regulatory fiscal year satisfactory participation requirement.

"Bush's superiors in the Texas Air National Guard failed to take required regulatory actions when Bushed missed required training and failed to take his flight physical.

"Despite seemingly laudatory comments, Bush's May 1972 officer performance report was a clear and unmistakable indication that his performance had declined from the annual 1971 report. The report was the kiss of death before he left for Alabama that year.

"Bush did not meet the requirements for satisfactory participation from 1972 to 1973."

In his report, Lechliter explains why he thinks Bush's military record is fair game. "The nature of his service is an important issue in this 2004 presidential election because it received scant coverage in 2000 and because it strikes at the heart of Bushs credibility. In 2000, Bush ran on bringing back 'dignity and honor to the White House (WH)' and being a 'compassionate conservative.' Since 9-11, he has wrapped himself in the flag to push forward a domestic agenda that is anything but compassionate and well to the right of center; embarked on a perilous new national security strategy of 'preemptive war' and invaded Iraq; and even has used the uniform to garner political support, the first for a President in my lifetime, although there have been others who had more illustrious military service. Bush himself brought on the renewed scrutiny of his military record by stressing his role as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. armed forces, declaring himself a 'wartime president,' and using the word 'war' more than 30 times in the course of an interview on 'Meet the Press' that lasted less than an hour."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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