September 26, 2004
Upsetting the Applecart of Conventional Wisdom (UPDATED)
Posted by Bill
George Bush may have volunteered for service in Vietnam ...
"The Air Force, in their ultimate wisdom, assembled a group of 102's and took them to Southeast Asia. Bush volunteered to go. But he needed to have 500 [flight] hours, but he only had just over 300 hours so he wasn't eligible to go,” Morrisey recalls.
... and John Kerry owns an assault weapon.
"My favorite gun is the M-16 that saved my life and that of my crew in Vietnam," Mr. Kerry told the magazine. "I don't own one of those now, but one of my reminders of my service is a Communist Chinese assault rifle."
(WVLT link via BC)
UPDATE: Tim Worstall discusses the death rate associated with flying an F-102 fighter-interceptor.
UPDATE: He had an assault rifle before he didn't.
Senator John Kerry's campaign said yesterday that Mr. Kerry did not own a Chinese assault rifle, as he was quoted as saying in Outdoor Life magazine, but a single-bolt-action military rifle, blaming aides who filled out the magazine's questionnaire on his behalf for the error.
Aides "filled out" a "questionnaire?" The snippet from the original article certainly looks like a direct quote to me ...
UPDATE: Heh. Malkin has more thorough criticism:
[WHICH AIDES?! WHO ON KERRY'S STAFF WOULD HAVE WRITTEN SUCH A THING IN KERRY'S NAME WITHOUT KERRY'S PRIOR APPROVAL? COME ON, JODI. THIS IS NOT STENOGRAPHY CLASS.]
Posted by Bill at September 26, 2004 02:30 PM | TrackBack (4)
The sad thing is that the media, by repeating their lies enough times, have created this "conventional wisdom."
One myth that the media has put into conventional wisdom: that somehow Bush's NG service was not the most honorable, and that he was this slacker. Quite the contrary; he was recognized as an excellent pilot, and to get to be a pilot required great skills. Think about it: if you were a pilot in the Guard, would you risk your life by giving a pilot's position to a slacker? The military may indeed give some favoritism to some people, but they don't do that when deciding who will be pilots. No one wants to fly next to a slacker and put their life in danger.
Posted by: Another Thought at September 26, 2004 02:59 PM
Doesn't the NYTimes know who he is? He's John Kerry. He can have assault rifles. Every one knows having a head cold eliminates ones ability to communicate. Why, there's no need to even run the story. Just another example of the Right Wing media, I guess.
TURN OFF CBS, (even football)!
Posted by: Jimmy's Attack Rabbit at September 26, 2004 04:25 PM
Hmmm...where, or from whom, might he have acquired such a weapon? And, why that particular weapon?
Posted by: jmflynny at September 26, 2004 04:25 PM
He probably picked it up off of a dead body, or snagged it from a weapons cache discovered in a Vietnamese village. Shrug.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at September 26, 2004 04:27 PM
As Morrisey states in the article, the be a pilot was to meet high standards; to be selected to fly fighters was the cream-of-the-crop. If Bush wanted to slack off, he could have been a pencil-pusher or a PR flack (like Algore did??).
Posted by: Sharpshooter at September 26, 2004 04:57 PM
However, the applecart is still very much in tact in one regard - Kerry still can't answer any question without referring to Vietnam.
Posted by: Nicole Griffin at September 26, 2004 05:05 PM
In his Senator debate, Kerry was asked about the death penalty for cop killers. Of course his answer was he was familiar with killing, eluding to Vietnam, and that more killing wasn't the answer.
I'm sitting there feeling guilty for being against the death penalty without emperical first hand information, not being a soldier in a war.
Posted by: gimp at September 26, 2004 06:00 PM
Haven't seen the type of 'Chinese assault' rifle confirmed anywhere, but my guess is that it's an SKS. I used to own one, they're perfectly legal to buy (at least where I live), and they're a great little rifle for deer hunting.
Posted by: rita at September 26, 2004 06:17 PM
I wonder if Kerry's assault weapon is fully automatic? Does he have a license to own a machine gun?
Posted by: concerned citizen at September 26, 2004 06:47 PM
Regardless of the conventional wisdom, it's been well documented that GWB and a fellow TANG pilot voluteered for the Palace Alert program flying F-102s in Vietnam.
There's no question that GWB slacked off in his last two years of service, but he undoubtedly met the minimum requirement for those two years and he exceeded, by far, the requirements in his first four years of service.
Whether he received preferential treatment to get into the Guard we'll never really know, but TANG officers from that time say that very few candidates met the criteria for pilot training and that Bush met the criteria for one of a limited number of slots.
It's sort of moot because Bush has never run on his record as a young adult - a time in his life that he readily describes as being irresponsible. The entire GWB/TANG story is something that's been cooked up by Democrats since he first got into politics.
Posted by: doctorbong at September 26, 2004 07:06 PM
According to the same source, Bush flew active air defense missions. Those are presumably armed combat missions (minus the combat because the enemy never showed). In those days, one of the guard's jobs was to protect against Soviet bombers and sneak attack.
It only shows the quality of the Democrats that they could ignore Clinton's dishonest draft dodging (there were plenty of honest draft dodges available - I knew plenty of folks who used them), attack George Bush Senior's war service (where he won a DFC or equivalent for continuing to deliver his bomb load with the plane on fire from AAA, was depth charged on the rescue sub, and went right back to his ship for more combat where he was shot down again), and then go after Bush for doing his duty in the National Guard, and conflating the 6-month/2 weeks National Guard duty (which my brother did) with Bush's substantial active duty (pilot training) and very dangerous duty. The plane Bush flew had an ejection seat that couldn't be used too close to the ground - flameout on takeoff and dead pilot. My best friend was killed flying a century series fighter for the New Mexico ANG. He's just as dead as anyone whose name is on the black wall and every time the Democrats go after Bush's guard service I'm reminded of his sacrifice and pissed of again.
I joined the USNR just like Kerry. I went to Vietnam (Naval Air). If Bush had more hours in the aircraft, he might have been there. Having since become a pilot, I know why it is that the word was that fighter pilots were nuts - it's damned dangerous.
Posted by: John Moore at September 26, 2004 07:07 PM
You want to really mess with their heads? The fighter Bush flew was normally armed with four conventional missiles and one nuclear air-to-air missile. So Bush, in his 20's, was trusted with atomic weapons while Kerry was trusted with a motorboat and a couple of machine guns and still couldn't avoid committing war crimes...
doctorbong — Very simply, is there one single credible piece of evidence that Bush received special treatment? Anywhere?
Posted by: richard mcenroe at September 26, 2004 07:15 PM
Interesting to note that Instapundit is mocking the idea that GWB would volunteer for Vietnam. Hey Glenn? You're in an Ivory Tower, Mariyln Chambers was all over Ivory and you're both doing the same thing to student's minds.
Posted by: Stu Pidiot at September 26, 2004 07:28 PM
Mr. Moore, the enemy did sometimes show up, he just didn't fire. My best friend from college was an Air Force fighter pilot in the early 1980s, and regularly shared with me the "Kodak moments" that American fighter pilots on interception patrols took of Soviet Bear bombers, flying out of Cuba. They'd probe, we'd scramble; the pilots made a great game of seeing how close they could get to the bad guys without causing a crash or an international incident. (Snapshots in which you could see the Soviet pilot's oxygen-masked face were quite common; hand gestures, ranging from friendly waves to less polite ones, were also easily visible.)
People joke about the TANG protecting Texas from attack by Mexico. Har-har, very funny. In fact, the TANG pilots flying out of Ellington Field were protecting the most concentrated petrochemical storage and processing facilities in the world along the Houston Ship Channel -- a strategic target going back to World War II, when the Nazi subs hunted shipping off the Texas coast.
Posted by: Beldar at September 26, 2004 07:28 PM
Very simply, is there one single credible piece of evidence that Bush received special treatment? Anywhere?
Are you kidding? His father was the president! (Even if it was 20 years later) And he was RICH!! Case closed!!!!
Posted by: MD/V at September 26, 2004 07:30 PM
Stu Pidiot -
I suggest you take a deep breath, go back and re-read Instapundit's post, and then go back through his archives and absorb his mannerisms - he's not mocking the idea, he's mocking the conventional wisdom.
Maybe you should make like Dan Rather and apologize?
Posted by: Bill from INDC at September 26, 2004 07:31 PM
Oh and Bush volunteering for service in Southeast Asia in the Palace Guard program isn't exactly new news: It was reported in detail in the Dallas Morning News in 1999 (in an article that also debunked the "Barnes got Dubya into TANG" meme). It's just one of those little inconvenient facts that Michael Moore and the mainstream media have conveniently blocked out, and it's something that Dubya who's never claimed to be qualified for office as a "war hero" has pretty much let them get away with.
Posted by: Beldar at September 26, 2004 07:35 PM
Whoops, meant to say "Palace Alert" (and it's on pp. 3-4 of the .pdf file of the DMN story).
Posted by: Beldar at September 26, 2004 07:37 PM
The Palace Alert thing got into a Newsweek cover story this year. Funny thing is nobody seems to have read it..
Posted by: Ted at September 26, 2004 07:43 PM
Last point and I'll quit abusing Bill's bandwidth: TANG F-16Cs from Ellington were over the Houston Ship Channel immediately after 9/11. It's still a strategic target, and if, God forbid, a hijacked widebody passenger plane had to be shot down to prevent an enormous environmental, economic, and strategic-energy catastrophe on the edge of the country's fourth largest city, it would be a TANG pilot flying out of Ellington who'd have to do that horrid deed.
Posted by: Beldar at September 26, 2004 07:50 PM
And when they start on the "slacking off" bit, remind them that the Air Force took his airplane away and the war was over.
Flying military airplanes is not a generic activity -- pilots learn one type via a lot of expensive training, and have to "transition" (for which read, almost start over at near-equal expense) to fly a different type. F102s were being retired, leaving few if any for Bush to fly, and there were other pilots who wanted to make careers and/or needed the money much worse than Lt. Bush did.
The war was over, and pilots were coming home by their hundreds or thousands. At that point Lt. Bush, like hundreds of other low-time pilots and pilots qualified on obsolete aircraft, became more of a problem for the Guard than an asset. He didn't know admin, because he wasn't trained for it; he wasn't senior enough to be on command or staff track; and he didn't have an airplane to fly. Correcting any of those deficiencies would have cost the Guard budget money, money that would have been wasted because there were plenty of others available who actually still had jobs.
The Guard had no incentive to spend the enormous amount of money -- up to a million bucks in 1972 dollars -- to train a short-timer pilot in, say, the F4 Phantom II. There were, after all, many pilots qualified in current machines who wanted careers and/or needed the flight pay. George Bush had no intention of making the military a career, so he didn't use his political influence for what it would have been really good for, which is getting more flight hours and/or training in a newer type of aircraft.
He flew trainers for a while, doing trainer-type things -- for which I see Democrats going on about "bad landings." In a trainer you do bad landings on purpose, to practice for what to do when you do it by mistake (or because the airplane isn't working.) But for a guy used to flying a century series fighter trainers are boring, and all he was doing was staving off the inevitable. So he stepped aside to sighs of relief from all concerned, did the minimum for a decent interval, and asked for and was granted an out.
Was some of that "decent interval" gun-decked? Very possibly, to the benefit of all involved. Having a useless lieutenant show up for drill because he needed to mark time 'til his separation date was, and is, not something to make a Guard commander's heart flutter in pleased anticipation. "Stay out of the way," would be the growl. "Oh, and if you'd like to leave early, feel free." Is it any wonder the locals, who knew one another and were busy with their jobs, mostly don't remember him?
One medium-decent Guard hitch, with a little bad luck involved (taking the F102 out of service.) What's to complain about?
Posted by: Ric Locke at September 26, 2004 07:53 PM
F-102A "Delta Dagger" intercepting Soviet Bear bomber not Dubya, but it could have been.
Posted by: Beldar at September 26, 2004 08:04 PM
You know, I think all this concentration on the 60s and 70s is actually helping Bush. I lose track because I read up on this stuff months ago, but an astonishing number of people (if my personal experience can be trusted) have no idea that Bush was a fighter pilot, or that he spent a couple of years on full-time duty while training.
As here we see, even a well-informed blogger may not have realized that he looked into volunteering for Vietnam duty. And I doubt one in a hundred knows that Bush's ANG unit had elements *in* Vietnam when he joined it.
More people are learning these things as a result of the saturation coverage, and these facts are favorable to Bush when compared to the vague conventional-wisdom picture that most people have in their heads regarding Bush's ANG service. I question whether anyone is going to base a voting decision on 35-year-old military service anyway, but to whatever extend it might contribute, this is a plus for Bush.
(All those cute pictures of young Bush in a flight suit also don't hurt.)
Posted by: jaed at September 26, 2004 08:34 PM
For me, the whole National Guard issue is settled by one common sense point: would other pilots want to fly with someone less than qualified, who had gotten in only through favoritism? Of course not.
Strings are pulled to get someone into a desk jockey type job, but not being a pilot. Why? Because being a pilot is very serious and places that person's life at risk, as well as the lives of those who are flying with him, either in the same plane or other planes next to him.
If you are a pilot in the National Guard, the last thing you do is pull strings to get a slacker into the plane flying next to you. That's risking your own life.
The military doesn't screw around when it makes someone a pilot; it can't afford to do so.
Posted by: Another Thought at September 26, 2004 08:47 PM
Posted by: Pete at September 26, 2004 08:58 PM
Pete, I do believe he said that "tongue in cheek".
Posted by: Maggie at September 26, 2004 09:18 PM
If so, then I truly apologize from the bottom of my heart to the top of my thick head. If he meant it, then apology withdrawn.
Posted by: Pete at September 26, 2004 09:22 PM
No offense Pete, but I think that you (and a few other commenters) need to sharpen your sarcasm recognition skills, because it's a very common form of expression on blogs.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at September 26, 2004 09:27 PM
It is so good to finally see more than 1 person posting that , in fact, GWB did have an honorable service record . The question now is...how does this positive informaton get out to the general public. I would say that it must be through the MSM . Can they be trusted not to pick it to pieces and say that the information is not true or inadmissable.It is so frustrating to listen and be told that the war 35 years ago does not matter. Maybe they don't think so but they are totally missing the point. It is about CHARACTER ,STUPID .It is so very irritating to hear JK say "as President ,you must have the truth". Where is his truth ? I'll bet it lies somewhere in the files that he won't release. Can't someone start a very loud push to get him to do so ? This cannot be subtle .Give it a try ,guys and gals, maybe you can accomplish this very important feat. My money is on you . Keep on being the true eyes and ears for us who cannot get it any other way.Shirley from Texas
Posted by: shirley at September 26, 2004 09:29 PM
I will be doing an interview with Colonel Ed Morrisey on Tues. I should have the video up later that night.
Posted by: mr lawson at September 26, 2004 09:37 PM
Posted by: Pete at September 26, 2004 09:39 PM
In the "samll world" deparment, joining George W. Bush (son of Geoge H.W. Bush then a Texas businessman) in TANG back in 1968 was Lloyd Bentsen III (son of Lloyd Bentsen Jr. then Texas businessman/former Congressman, "I knew JFK and you're no JFK"). Bentsen III said he heard there were opening for officers in TANG, he signed up and was selected, just like Bush.
Lloyd Bentsen Jr. went on to be the Democratic candidate for Vice President of the United States 1988 with Michael Dukakis (former Governor of Massachusetts, served with Lt. Governor John Kerry).
Posted by: J_Crater at September 26, 2004 10:14 PM
jaed: "(All those cute pictures of young Bush in a flight suit also don't hurt.)"
Especially when you compare pictures of young Bush to pictures of young Kerry. In my view (ok, slightly biased) Kerry looks dumb with the big hair thing going, while Bush looks, as you say, cute. I don't think pictures of young Kerry help Kerry as much as pictures of young Bush help Bush.
Posted by: Teri at September 26, 2004 10:16 PM
Lest anyone wonder, it's not just the complex along the Houston Ship Channel that the 111th is protecting. There's this nice and huge Dow Chemical complex a liitle ways ('bout 60 miles) down the coast in the Brazosport area that's a major source for magnesium, extracted from oyster shell, among other things. The 111th is the nearest ADF squadron to there.
Posted by: Cateagle at September 26, 2004 10:37 PM
That chicom sks is automatic, and unless it was registered before 1986, it is contraband. If any normal person was caught with it, you're looking at up to 10 years in the pokey, and $250,000 fine.
But hey, he's john kerry, and that sks doesn't exist. He's such an asshole...
Posted by: Jeff at September 27, 2004 12:23 AM
"No offense Pete, but I think that you (and a few other commenters) need to sharpen your sarcasm recognition skills, because it's a very common form of expression on blogs. "
Posted by: Sharpshooter at September 27, 2004 03:18 AM
Posted by: Sharpshooter at September 27, 2004 03:21 AM
Comparing your political opponenents to decapitating terrorists is not all that funny or insightful. If you make a comment like that again, you flirt with getting banned from this site.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at September 27, 2004 07:10 AM
Let's not forget that the only real difference between Kerry and Bush's military career is that Bush is two years younger. Bush specifically wanted to be a fighter pilot at the peak of the fighting in Vietnam (1968).
Kerry merely a generic naval officer during a war in which the enemy really didn't have a navy. Kerry admits he "lucked into" combat he didn't bargain on.
Bush "lucked out" of combat when Nixon Vietnamized the war. By the time Bush was combat-ready, we were bringing pilots home from Vietnam, not sending them there. But it is pure "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" fallacy to argue Bush would have known that when he volunteered to be a fighter pilot.
Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan at September 27, 2004 11:45 AM
Kery owns a "single-bolt-action military rifle" vs. what? Two bolt action rifles or a rifle with two bolt actions?
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