Tuesday, September 14, 2004
"...Bush did not comply with Air Force regulations...."
Nation & WorldVia Brad DeLong.
The service question
A review of President Bush's Guard years raises issues about the time he served
By Kit R. Roane
Last February, White House spokesman Scott McClellan held aloft sections of President Bush's military record, declaring to the waiting press that the files "clearly document the president fulfilling his duties in the National Guard." Case closed, he said.
But last week the controversy reared up once again, as several news outlets, including U.S. News, disclosed new information casting doubt on White House claims.
A review of the regulations governing Bush's Guard service during the Vietnam War shows that the White House used an inappropriate--and less stringent--Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty. Because Bush signed a six-year "military service obligation," he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year beginning July 1. But Bush's own records show that he fell short of that requirement, attending only 36 drills in the 1972-73 period, and only 12 in the 1973-74 period. The White House has said that Bush's service should be calculated using 12-month periods beginning on his induction date in May 1968. Using this time frame, however, Bush still fails the Air Force obligation standard.
Moreover, White House officials say, Bush should be judged on whether he attended enough drills to count toward retirement. They say he accumulated sufficient points under this grading system. Yet, even using their method, which some military experts say is incorrect, U.S. News 's analysis shows that Bush once again fell short. His military records reveal that he failed to attend enough active-duty training and weekend drills to gain the 50 points necessary to count his final year toward retirement.
The U.S. News analysis also showed that during the final two years of his obligation, Bush did not comply with Air Force regulations that impose a time limit on making up missed drills. What's more, he apparently never made up five months of drills he missed in 1972, contrary to assertions by the administration. White House officials did not respond to the analysis last week but emphasized that Bush had "served honorably."
Some experts say they remain mystified as to how Bush obtained an honorable discharge. Lawrence Korb, a former top Defense Department official in the Reagan administration, says the military records clearly show that Bush "had not fulfilled his obligation" and "should have been called to active duty."
Bush signed his commitment to the Texas Air National Guard on May 27, 1968, shortly after becoming eligible for the draft. In his "statement of understanding," he acknowledged that "satisfactory participation" included attending "48 scheduled inactive-duty training periods" each year. He also acknowledged that he could be ordered to active duty if he failed to meet these requirements.
Slump. Bush's records show that he did his duty for much of the first four years of his commitment. But as the Vietnam War wound down, his performance slumped, and his attendance at required drills fell off markedly. He did no drills for one five-month period in 1972. He also missed his flight physical. By May 2, 1973, his superiors said they could not evaluate his performance because he "has not been observed."
Albert C. Lloyd Jr., a retired Air Force colonel who originally certified the White House position that Bush had completed his military obligation, stood by his analysis. After a reporter cited pertinent Air Force regulations from the period, he complained that if the entire unit were judged by such standards, "90 percent of the people in the Guard would not have made satisfactory participation."
Some other experts disagree. "There is no 'sometimes we have compliance and sometimes we don't,' " says Scott Silliman, a retired Air Force colonel and Duke University law professor. "That is a nonsensical statement and an insult to the Guard to suggest it."
The regulations must be followed, adds James Currie, a retired colonel and author of an official history of the Army Reserve. "Clearly, if you were the average poor boy who got drafted and sent into the active force," he says, "they weren't going to let you out before you had completed your obligation."
TEXAS GUARD SECRETARY SURFACES: SAYS CBS DOCS 'FORGERIES', BUT STANDS BY ACCUSATIONS AGAINST BUSH
The DRUDGE REPORT has found Lt. Col. Jerry Killian's former secretary who claims that the Texas Air National Guard documents offered by CBS in its 60 MINUTES II report filed by Dan Rather last week are indeed 'forgeries'.
"I did not type these particular memos. I typed memos like these," Knox told the DRUDGE REPORT from her home in Houston.
"I typed memos that had this information in them, but I did not type these memos. There are terms in these memos that are not Guard terms but that are Army terms. They use the word 'Billets'. I think they were using that to refer to the slot. That would be a non-flying slot the way we would use it. And the style... they are sloppy looking."
But Marion Carr Knox stands by the accusations contained in the allegedly fraudulent documents that Bush skirted a medical and flight exam without suffering institutional repercussions.
"The information in these memos is correct -- like Killian's dealing with the problems."
"It was General Staudt, not then Lt. Colonel Hodges [who succeeded Staudt], that was putting on the pressure to whitewash Bush. For instance he didnt take his flight examination or his physical. And the pilots had to take them by their birthdays. Once in a while there would be a reason why a pilot would miss these things because some of them were commercial pilots. But they had to make arrangements to take their exams."
Knox speculated as to how she thought the forgeries were created saying, "My guess is that someone in the outfit got hold of the real ones and discussed it with a former Army person."
Knox worked for the Guard from 1957 until she retired in 1979, and she was Lt. Col. Killian's secretary during the time President Bush served in Texas.
Contacted by the DRUDGE REPORT, Lt. Col. Killian's son Gary, who also served in the unit during the same period, responded: "I know Marion Carr. I remember her as a sweet lady who reminded me then of a dear aunt."
"But if Staudt had put pressure on my dad, there would have been a blow-up -- instantly. It was one of the reasons they got along so well. They had a mutual respect for one another."
"As has been pointed out by so many others, then Col Staudt had been out of the unit for 18 months. And I stand by my previous comments regarding my dad's admiration for Lt. Bush and his regard for him as an officer and pilot -- which was exemplary."
Knox told the DRUDGE REPORT that she did not vote for Bush in 2000 because he is 'unqualified' for the job, and does not intend to vote for him in 2004, either.
"Bush was not the only person of privilege who had a spot in the Guard. Senator [Lloyd] Bensen's nephew was in headquarters. There was a big jewelery store, Gordons. Their son was in the Guard. The owner of Batelstein's, a posh department store in the area, his son was in. The other kids couldn't get in like that. Hugh Roy Cullen's grandson was also in. He was a big oil man."
Knox, however, did have some kind words about then Lt. Bush.
"[Bush] was always pleasant and gentlemanly to me," she said. "I never noticed him not being respectful. I thought he was a nice young man and that he must have had very nice parents to produce a son as nice as he seemed to be."
Knox has been following the story since last week when the 60 MINUTES II broadcast aired, and on Friday she contacted the HOUSTON CHRONICLE wanting to tell her side of the story. Since then the DALLAS MORNING NEWS has also contacted her.
"What really hecked me off was when it was somebody on TV, associated with the White House, who said that all of this information was lies. And I got excited at the time because I knew that I had typed documents with this information because a person like Bush stood out from the others -- because of his association with his father."
Asked about reports that Lt. Col. Killian's wife and son saying he didn't type, Knox stated, "He didn't need to. He had me."
Knox explains that the August 18, 1973 date typed on one of the "forged" documents proves that they were faked. Group Commander Staudt, who allegedly had been putting pressure on Killian, retired in 1972.
To the best of her recollection, Knox explains that Staudt must have put pressure on Killian in 1972 -- the year he retired.
"If my father was going to type a CYA memo, which he didn't," Gary Killian responded. "He would have typed it himself because he wouldn't have wanted anyone to see it. But it's academic because Colonel Staudt had been out of the unit for 18 months -- as is well documented."
Contacted at his office in Bartlett, Texas, former Major Dean Roome, who served with Lt. Bush, responded to the latest information.
"If the memos are fraudulent, then why were they generated? Roome asked.
"Marion Carr Knox is validating what the rest of us are saying. She says once in a while a pilot would miss a physical because some of them were commercial pilots. I was also a commercial pilot with Continental Airlines. The clinic did not just open up for us to take a personal physical. The Flight Surgeons had to be there along with a full complement of medical personnel. We took our physical during the Uniformed Training Assembly (UTA) just like everyone else."
"The 'former Army person' she references is the person we believe may have created the fraudulent documents in an effort to injure President Bush. He has his own agenda and I doubt that he has any 'real ones' [documents].
Ms. Knox states emphatically that she is not acting for political motives, and has no formal relationship with any political party. She says she just wants to set the record straight.
By Michael Dobbs and Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 14, 2004; Page A08
The lead expert retained by CBS News to examine disputed memos from President Bush's former squadron commander in the National Guard said yesterday that he examined only the late officer's signature and made no attempt to authenticate the documents themselves.
"There's no way that I, as a document expert, can authenticate them," Marcel Matley said in a telephone interview from San Francisco. The main reason, he said, is that they are "copies" that are "far removed" from the originals.
• Compare: Memo obtained from Pentagon differs from disputed memo obtained by CBS.
• Transcript: Washington Post staff writer Michael Dobbs, who has been following the story about Bush's Vietnam-era service, was online Monday.
_____More From The Post_____
• Gaps in Service Continue to Dog Bush (The Washington Post, Sep 12, 2004)
• Some Question Authenticity of Papers on Bush (The Washington Post, Sep 10, 2004)
• Records Say Bush Balked at Order (The Washington Post, Sep 9, 2004)
• Democrat Says He Helped Bush Into Guard to Score Points (The Washington Post, Sep 4, 2004)
Confirmation hearings get underway today for Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), a former CIA case officer, to be director of Central Intelligence. Which of the following happened when former CIA Director Allen Dulles interviewed Goss to join the agency?
Goss Wore Two Left Shoes
The CIA Building Was Evacuated
Goss Spilled Coffee on Dulles
Dulles’s Jacket Caught on Fire
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Matley's comments came amid growing evidence challenging the authenticity of the documents aired Wednesday on CBS's "60 Minutes." The program was part of an investigation asserting that Bush benefited from political favoritism in getting out of commitments to the Texas Air National Guard. On last night's "CBS Evening News," anchor Dan Rather said again that the network "believes the documents are authentic."
A detailed comparison by The Washington Post of memos obtained by CBS News with authenticated documents on Bush's National Guard service reveals dozens of inconsistencies, ranging from conflicting military terminology to different word-processing techniques.
The analysis shows that half a dozen Killian memos released earlier by the military were written with a standard typewriter using different formatting techniques from those characteristic of computer-generated documents. CBS's Killian memos bear numerous signs that are more consistent with modern-day word-processing programs, particularly Microsoft Word.
"I am personally 100 percent sure that they are fake," said Joseph M. Newcomer, author of several books on Windows programming, who worked on electronic typesetting techniques in the early 1970s. Newcomer said he had produced virtually exact replicas of the CBS documents using Microsoft Word formatting and the Times New