September 14, 2004 (updated 9-29-04)
On September 14, George W. Bush spoke to the National Guard Association of the United States at their conference in Las Vegas.
According to AP, Bush "did not mention the election-year tempest over unexplained gaps in his service in the Guard." But he did boast about his gap-ridden Guard service, saying "Nineteen individuals have served both in the National Guard and as president of the United States, and I am proud to be one of them."
Bloggers soon discovered Bush was the only President who joined the Guard to avoid fighting in a war. As the Boston Globe reported on 9-24-04,
Bush's service in the Air National Guard stateside during the Vietnam War contrasts with the experience of his predecessors: Most served in combat, either in the Guard or regular units, and all entered the Guard or its historical equivalents when they were not an alternative to being drafted. None later faced questions, as Bush has, about whether they had fulfilled their commitments as citizen soldiers.
In recent weeks, Bush has tried one way after another to conceal the fact that he avoided combat and the mortal risks associated with military service. During his interview with Bill O'Reilly broadcast on 9-28-04, Bush said "I was on active duty for a little over a year and a half."
In fact, Bush was never on "Active Duty;" he was only on "Active Duty for Training." U.S. law clearly distinguishes "Active Duty" from "Active Duty for Training":
21: The term ''active duty'' means - (A) full-time duty in the Armed Forces, other than active duty for training...
22: The term ''active duty for training'' means - (A) full-time duty in the Armed Forces performed by Reserves for training purposes...
Bush clearly performed "active duty for training." The proof is in the discharge papers he received (DD-214) after his two rounds of training. (Thanks to Paul Lukasiak of the AWOL Project for locating these documents.)
On 8-25-68, Bush was discharged after 1 month and 12 days of basic training. Box 11(a) clearly reads: Release from Active Duty Training
On 11-29-69, Bush was discharged after 14 months and 18 days of undergraduate flight training. While Box 11(a) does not specify training, Box 17 does: it reads ACDUTRA, the Guard acronym for ACtive DUty for TRAining. (Researchers will also note the authority for this training was Section 505, USC 32, proving it was a STATE order from the National Guard, not a FEDERAL order from the Air Force.)
The fact that Bush's "active duty" was actually training is crucial, because to be a true Veteran under U.S. law and the by-laws of the American Legion, one must serve at least one day of true Active Duty.
U.S. law (Title 38, United States Code, Part I, Chapter 1, Section 101, Paragraph 2) reads: The term ''veteran'' means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.
The American Legion membership form reads: I certify by forwarding this application that I served at least one day of active military duty.
Four years ago, Bush impersonated a Veteran. On September 6, 2000, Bush spoke at the annual conference of the American Legion in Milwaukee, WI. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, here is how Bush introduced himself:
"George Bush, Post 77, reporting for duty," Bush said as he took the stage at the Midwest Express Center, wearing the American Legion hat of the post he belongs to in Houston.
Unfortunately Mr. Bush was not entitled to wear that hat; in doing so, he was impersonating a veteran.
Mr. Bush's fraudulent claim to be a Veteran has come under withering and unrefuted attack in the past few weeks from several Internet researchers, including DemocraticUnderground.com, BuzzFlash, Bud Beck, and John Aravosis (see references below).
Until now, no one has found a photo of Bush wearing a veteran's hat. (C-Span also has video of this event, but they refuse  to release it. C-Span viewers may wish to protest this denial of important public information during call-in shows, especially since C-Span recently released John Kerry's 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.)
For the past week, the mainstream media has been obsessed with the authenticity of the memos attributed to Col. Jerry Killian that were found by CBS 60 Minutes and USA Today.
If fraud is such an urgent issue, then George Bush's fraudulent impersonation of a Veteran certainly deserves equal time - especially since Americans cannot vote for 60 Minutes, but they will be voting for President of the United States.
Since this is a defining issue of character, it is important to point out that Bush has lied about his military record repeatedly.
When Bush ran for U.S. Congress in 1978, he produced a flyer claiming to be a member of the Air Force, when he was not.
When Bush wrote his 1999 campaign biography "A Charge to Keep," he claimed that after training, "I continued flying with my unit for the next several years." He flew for 22 months, less than 2 years - then went AWOL.
When Bush was interviewed by Tim Russert on Meet the Press (2-8-04), Bush claimed he authorized the release of his complete record in 2000. He has never authorized the release of his record, particularly his disciplinary records (which have never been seen) and his medical records (which were examined for 20 minutes by a couple of reporters who could not make copies). Bush could authorize the release of his full records in a second simply by printing and signing this SF-180 form.
When Bush was interviewed by Bill O'Reilly on 9-28-04, Bush lied about (a) his family's role in getting him into the Guard ahead of hundreds of applicants, (b) flying for 570 hours, (c) serving 1.5 years of active duty, and (d) fulfilling his duties to the Guard.
No doubt, bloggers will discover others who call themselves Veterans who never served a day of Active Duty. Since when is "others do it" a valid excuse - especially for a President of the White House who wore the veteran's hat while campaigning on a promise to "restore honor and dignity to the White House"? (By way of contrast, the fact that other Presidents have had affairs in the White House did not stop - or even slow - Republicans from impeaching Bill Clinton.)
I also expect critics to blame American Legion Post 77 for accepting Bush as a member. But the American Legion application requires the applicant - not the Post - to certify his or her qualification. George W. Bush committed this fraud, not the American Legion.
I challenge any reader to prove that George Bush is entitled to call himself a Veteran. Bush's military records are available below.
I challenge George W. Bush to apologize to all true Veterans for impersonating a Veteran.
And I challenge the mainstream media to devote as much time to this certain fraud as they have to the still-unproved Killian memo fraud.
I am available for interviews upon request.
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