I wanted to discuss a few points that I disagree with in the extended section of this post.
You should read Phil's thoughts on Bush's Guard records. The main point is about Leadership:
...In practical terms, this means doing morning physical fitness training with your soldiers, carrying the same amount of weight as them, ensuring they eat before you do, and putting their welfare before your own. Above all else, it means never asking your soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines to do something that you wouldn't do yourself.
President Bush's 30-year-old service record from the Air National Guard is relevant because it shows us something about his willingness to share the same hardships as the soldiers he now commands today from the White House. The issue has never been whether he was guilty of desertion or being AWOL--two slanderous charges leveled without regard for the facts. The real issue has always been the character of his service, and whether it was good enough to set the example for America's 1.4 million citizens in uniform...
...The second issue that has relevance to today's military is Bush's early discharge. In 1973, the president sought and received an early discharge to attend Harvard Business School. He could have elected to serve longer, or to serve with a unit near Harvard for his last six months. But the Air Force discharged him early, largely because it had a glut of pilots at the Vietnam War's end and it wasn't about to keep a guardsman in that it didn't need if he wanted to get out. Everything about this early discharge looks legitimate.
Nonetheless, this early discharge sends a symbolic message to today's reservist, for whom such an early discharge isn't an option. There are more than 200,000 reservists on active duty today in support of the global war on terrorism. The Pentagon takes a dim view today of reservists who ask to get out while they still owe time to the service. And on this president's order, hundreds of thousands of soldiers have been kept in the military beyond the term of their enlistment contract with "stop loss" policies that prevent their discharge or transfer into the inactive reserves. Thirty years ago, Bush was willing to serve less than his full enlistment in order to pursue an MBA at Harvard. But now that he's commander in chief, he wants to ask more of America's military than he was willing to give when he was wearing a uniform.
Ultimately, these issues boil down to the president's willingness and ability to set the example for the military he now leads as commander in chief. Cumulatively, questions about then-Lt. Bush's drill attendance, evaluation reports, flight status and early discharge add up to questions about the character of his service in the National Guard. Bush did receive an honorable discharge, but such a document is the lowest common denominator of military performance--it takes a lot of bad behavior to earn anything other than an honorable discharge. The American public deserves to know the full truth about the president's military record. It's relevant to his character, and it's relevant to whether he's fit to lead today's military by example.
Personally, this isn't an issue for me. Phil talks about the early discharge looking legitimate. It was legit and by the book. There wasn't a stop-loss on pilots in the Air National Guard then. Maybe, if there had been a stop-loss, and Bush got an early discharge anyway, there would be evidence of favoritism or lack of leadership.
The problem with Phil's opinion is that, after four years of the Bush administration, the character of Bush's Guard service - by all accounts "honorable" - really matters to him. It's almost like there has to be something more that Phil is searching for...How many Officer Evaluation Reports (OERs) will he have to read to see that President Bush's service was indeed honorable or will he just want to see more records if the OERs don't satisfy his image of presidential leadership?
While many military people (vets included) are behind President Bush, Phil does not appear to be one of them.
Within his own contextual references to presidential leadership, I sure hope that Phil voted for Dole instead of Clinton in 1996.
» A Relentless Campaigner and a Man on the Run from Mudville Gazette
Blackfive points out Phil Carter's recent bit in the Trib. (Congrats on getting ink, Phil, though it was pretty lame of them not to link or mention your blog). The Paratroop of Love also notes that no has one responded... [Read More]
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.