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September 21, 2004

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john

The "verbal order" was to suspend him from flying. Fair enough--he missed his physical. There is NO reference to an order, verbal or otherwise, to TAKE the physical. There is thus no reference to any order being disobeyed. Is this anything different from not showing up to renew your driver's license when it expires? You get your driving privileges suspended, but you haven't violated anyone's order.

That's why the forgery had to be made--to create an order for him to disobey; the actual record appears not to support such a theory.

Cecil Turner

You may be right, but most of this stuff wouldn't be terribly hard to get from other sources. The reference (AFM 35-13) should be on any period document discussing flight physicals, which many people (especially Burkett) would have access to. The date is also obvious: Bush's physical is good until the last day of his birth month (July), so on 1 August he goes "unk" (unqualified) and should be grounded. The verbiage of the memo also appears to be boilerplate--it basically tells the individual he's grounded and provides references so he can look up the ramifications--and it tells those peripherally involved (e.g. schedulers, flight equipment personnel) that he's not to be put on the flight schedule. It'd be a useful resource for a prospective forger, but I'm not convinced it's necessarily the source of the information.

I think John's right about the order. Giving an order similar to the forged one isn't unheard of (if, for example, someone has expressed an intent to blow off a command priority), but in this case it makes no sense to give a cutoff date before the birth month. It's a fairly clear attempt to give the impression of impropriety, clumsily executed. The fact that the forger didn't understand the date thing tends to bolster your memo-as-the-source theory, but it still looks a bit tenuous to me.

J_Crater

I started to look for a "Lucy Ramirez" and part of Burkett's description of the events hit me as a tongue-in-cheek rib at the listener. In USA Today Burkett said after he made copies and burned the originals from "Lucy Ramirez," at her request. "This is going to sound like some damn sci-fi movie." Sort of odd, maybe a bit melodramatic, but nothing so sci-fi here.
"Lucy Ramirez" must be connected to sci-fi.
There is an actress Lexa Doig who played "Detective Lucy Ramirez" on the "Chris Isaak Show" in 2001, who also appeared in the TV show "Earth: final conflict" as the character "Joan Price," and currently on the SciFi Channel in "Andromeda" as "Andromeda Ascendant (aka Rommie)."
I guess Burkett has the "hots" for her.
Or it's just a wild goose chase.

TM

Ok, fair enough as to the regs and the Aug 1 cut-off date. But without the Sept file dump memo, how would someone know that a verbal order had been given on Aug 1? Why not a written order, or no order at all - the Sept memo could have said, "as per regulations", for example.

Cecil Turner

I don't know how common that "verbal order" with a written confirmation thing is (based on my experience, it seems to be more prevalent in the Army/Air Force, and less so in the Naval services). But typically the boss would tell someone they're grounded, and follow up with the paperwork (if I were writing it, I'd just leave the "verbal orders" bit out, since it isn't terribly important, but I've seen that usage--especially in period Army documents)--that probably happened more often than not. It does support your argument a bit, but again I don't think it's dispositive. (However, it certainly is suggestive. Most all this stuff was available to a smart forger . . . but from the evidence, that's not what we're dealing with.)

TM

As to whether it was a smart forger - if I were an Attack Dem, I would suggest that the poor quality of the forgeries suggests that the real target of the scam was Burkett - an Evil Righty plot induced Burkett to peddle poor-quality fakes obtained under absurd circumstances so that he would be discredited (further) by the Big Media.

It might never have ocurred to the Evil Righty plotters that anyone might actually take them seriously - bagging CBS was a pure bonus.

And note - any angry Freeper could have taken it upon himself to spoof Burkett; Karl Rove would have nothing to dowith it.

Of course, an angry MoveOn'er could have spoofed Burkett with the hope that these docs would at least spark interest in the story, even if they were not believed. That may not sound fully rational, but assuming rationality here may not be appropriate.

Last thought - Burkett told USA Today he burned the originals. Well, he burned the docs he received - I think we can assume the forger gave him copies of copies.

abb1

The Airforce Times has a good roundup:


From most accounts, Bush appears to have received preferential treatment to get into the Air National Guard and avoid the draft after he graduated from Yale University in 1968. He was initially regarded as a good pilot, but his performance faded over his final two years in the Guard and he was suspended from flight status. He did not fly for the remaining 18 months he served in the Guard, though he was obligated to do so.

And for significant chunks of time, Bush did not report for duty at all. His superiors took no action, and he was honorably discharged in 1973, six months before he should have been.


Short and sweet. And backed up by evidence - read the article.

Cecil Turner

"assuming rationality here may not be appropriate"

Ain't that the truth. And while I rather like the Rove-as-Machiavelli thing, it's not terribly likely. Only one group is fixated on this story, as witnessed by the strident barking of the moonbats.

Case in point: "Short and sweet. And backed up by evidence - read the article."

If this had ever been an issue, it needed to be one in 2000 when it was at least a peripheral indicator of Bush's suitability for president. At this point there's a far better and more recent track record. Moreover, service is barely a significant qualification anyway (especially since Clinton lowered that particular bar below a snake's ability to slither under it). It's frankly hilarious that Democrats think they can breathe some life into this dated, irrelevant, non-story. (McAuliffe: "If we cut the legs off this frog, sew them to the story, and then use a battery charger to zap 'em . . . yeah, that's the ticket!" "Heeeyyy, look at these documents Max just got . . .") Idiotic. Harping on it makes 'em look bad, and it's got zero traction even if you could prove something (which you can't, because that "honorable" characterization is in fact the bottom line). Worst of all, it distracts from Kerry's message . . . just as he finally got one.

Slartibartfast

Furthermore, the article is clearly a hit piece. They didn't even mention that Staudt says no such preferential treatment was given to Bush. Even if they disagree, this opinion has been stated by Staudt; failing to mention it is negligence. Nor do they mention the dissenting opinion of the TANG historian.

Slartibartfast

Oh, and nearly missed this, at the bottom:

William H. McMichael covers the Navy from Hampton Roads, Va. Reach him at (757) 223-0096 or by e-mail at bmcmichael@atpco.com

This guy is clearly an expert on Air National Guard.

Chopper-seven

After the Honorable Dischage you close the book. I knew guys who were stoned most everyday who were honorably discharged. But hey you've got a president to throw mud at. Bend over ABB1 and fill your bucket with mud. Don't forget to wash your hands. But could you tell me what your actually tying to say about Bush?

Old Grouch

Re: Air Force Times article:
The AFT article carries a date of September 27th(!), but appears to have been completed before Staudt talked to the press. (Note that it stops with the Marian Knox interview.)

Regarding "preferential treatment to get into the Air National Guard and avoid the draft," "janh64," a commenter on the AFT forum about this article reposted this weblog entry from September 18th that examines the "Bush jumped the waiting list to get in" meme. Key quote:

"A few days ago on Fox news, Colonel Earl Lively, retired Operations officer for the Texas Air National Guard, said there was no waiting list to get into the Texas Air National Guard as a pilot. There was a waiting list to get into the Air National Guard as an Airman, but not as a pilot." [Emphasis added.]

Lively blames the confusion on a 1999 Los Angeles Times story:

"...[S]ome people had been in personnel in the Air National Guard, including lower ranking officers in my headquarters gave improper information to the Los Angeles Times... And the Times reporter reported erroneous information - not his fault but theirs." [Col. Lively, quoted by Outside the Perimeter]

I'm not aware of any debunking of this. Anyone? Bueller?

Slartibartfast
but appears to have been completed before Staudt talked to the press

I would hope so. Still, the guard historian's statements to the contrary have been available for at least a year.

Deoxy

abb1,

As mentioned above, the document is clearly a hit piece (it leaves out many important details).

AND

It quotes from the forged documents, only mentioning briefly at the end that there was some "doubt" about them (and including the hysterical "fake but accurate" meme).

Patrick R. Sullivan

The documents containing the Sept 29th Aeronautical Orders that noted the suspension from flying of August 1, were probably in the batch released in 2000. I haven't the time to confirm that, but the place to look is:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/2004-02-14-bush-docs.htm

abb1

As mentioned above, the document is clearly a hit piece (it leaves out many important details).

Lol, is this a repudiation of the article: just calling it "hit piece" makes is invalid?

As far as quoting from the CBS memos, he says that the facts are confirmed by other documents that are not suspect.

I don't really care much about this stuff, but I thought that was a nice summary, so that we can all agree and move on.

Slartibartfast

Except for the completely inaccurate parts, yes I agree it's a nice summary.

Brian

Why do some people consider newsmax.com an even remotely credible source? It's source of like drudgereport.com, with a better design.

John Anderson

A point about that physical: I think it was a flight physical, required only for those who would be on flight duty, which Bush was dropping, and otherwise optional.

`In a matter of [over 180] minutes, Internet “bloggers” were raising questions about the authenticity of the documents...'

`He did not fly for the remaining 18 months he served in the Guard, though he was obligated to do so.` Not exactly, especialy in Alabama. He was obligated to stay in unless released, but not necessarily to fly - especially since Alabama had more pilots returning from Viet Nam than they had planes.

`There’s also the record of a Jan. 6, 1973, dental exam performed on Bush at Dannelly Air National Guard Base, Ala. There’s nothing that documents why Bush, who reportedly returned to Texas after the election, didn’t get this work done closer to home.` Hoo boy, what a scorcher! Rumors that he "returned to Texas" while still carried on Alabama's books raise the question of why he was still in Alabama, where he was supposed to be?!? No concept of things like visiting family.

Etc., etc.

John Anderson

Sorry, most of my comments were about this:

http://www.airforcetimes.com/story.php?f=1-AIRPAPER-357916.php

Cecil Turner

"As far as quoting from the CBS memos, he says that the facts are confirmed by other documents that are not suspect."

The dumbest quote in the article (except perhaps treating Ben Barnes as a credible witness) is: "The descent began when Bush apparently did not follow an order to report for his annual flight physical in May 1972." As we just beat to death, his physical was due by July 31st . . . which McMichael ought to've been able to figure from his observation that it "got him grounded" "effective 1 Aug 1972."

TM

Good job by Patrick Sullivan -that USA Today archive is great.

And I found the key document in the last place I looked - p. 13 of this .pdf file from the 2000 records release.

OK, theory shattered - if this doc was a source of credibility and inspiration, we need to move back the forger's window to 2000.

And somewhere I noticed Bush's request to train with the 3391 (?) in Alabama - Patrick S. has been on that subtlety as well.

Raven

Here's a PDF of three pages from AFM 35-13, vintage 1971.

Now you can see what's being cited as authority in

(1) the CBS/Killian memo of 1 August 1972 (whose authenticity is being disputed),

and also in

(2) Major General Greenlief's order of 29 September 1972 (whose authenticity has not been disputed) — which confirms "verbal orders of the Comdr on 1 Aug 72 suspending 1STLT GEORGE W BUSH... from flying status".

AFM 35-13's Paragraph 2-29m, titled "When a Rated Officer Fails To Accomplish a Medical Examination Prescribed by AFM 160-1", states:

All rated officers on flying status must accomplish a medical examination annually or biannually (flight surgeons) as prescribed by AFM 160-1. Failure to accomplish a required medical examination disqualifies the officer for flying duty and he will be suspended effective the first day of the month following his birthmonth, citing this paragraph as authority.
(The next block of text discusses investigating "why the individual failed to accomplish the medical examination", and convening a board on the matter.)

Greenlief's order accordingly cites "Authority: Para 2-29m, AFM 35-13."

George W. Bush was born on 6 July 1946. The verbal order suspending him was issued "the first day of the month following his birthmonth", 1 August 1972, according to that undisputed document in Bush's official military records.

The CBS/Killian memo dated 1 August 1972 is stating just what the undisputed record already shows:

1. On this date I ordered that 1st Lt. Bush be suspended from flight status due to failure to perform to USAF/TexANG standards and failure to meet annual physical examination (flight) as ordered.

2. I conveyed my verbal orders to commander, 147th Ftr Intrcp Gp with request for orders for suspension and convening of a flight review board IAW AFM 35-13.
Now we can see that this was indeed IAW (in accordance with) AFM 35-13.

And that the disputed CBS/Killian memo of 1 August 1972 is not in fact necessary to prove that this order was issued on that date — the Greenlief order of 29 September 1972 (which is undisputed) already established that fact independently.

The Kerry campaign in April referred to the undisputed records, not to the CBS/Killian memos.

How hard is that to understand?   Then why can't Newsmax understand it?

Raven

Oh, and why was he being ordered to take the physical in May?

Because, at his own request, he was going to be leaving Texas in May, and thus not be available to take the physical there later.

It was just a case of "take the physical before you go".

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