Tuesday, April 27, 2004

New Questions About Bush's Military Service

...and his family's relationship with a man named James Bath:  

Last month, before the 9/11 commission began its public hearings and Iraq exploded in renewed warfare, the White House tried to quell a gathering storm regarding President Bush's military service, releasing hundreds of documents about Bush's tenure in the Texas Air National Guard some 30 years ago. A close examination of the documents reveals that they not only fail to answer lingering questions about Bush's service but prompt a crucial new area of inquiry that could play a role in the presidential campaign -- a long and lucrative, but low-profile, relationship between Saudis and the Bush family that goes back 30 years.

The document that raises that question is dated Sept. 29, 1972, and notes that 1st Lt. George W. Bush was suspended from flying because of his 'failure to accomplish [his] annual medical examination.' Since he had just received hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of training as a jet fighter pilot, the fact that Bush let his medical certification lapse raises a troubling matter. Why did he allow himself to become ineligible to fly when he still had two years of service left? Given that random drug testing by the military had just started, some have suggested that Bush had not yet given up his partying ways and may have begged off because he had a substance abuse problem.

The records released by the White House last month fail to answer that question, but they do add one compelling fact to the story -- namely, that Bush was not the only man in his unit to be suspended for failing to take the physical, and that someone else at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston was suspended for exactly the same reason at almost the same time.

The link above is to a subsription service, please use the free day pass to read the full article.

This story is also covered in more detail over at Eschaton.

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