Thursday, February 12, 2004

Books A'WOL

Others have done the heavy lifting on this issue--Calpundit seems to be taking the lead, and I've been linking from the items that Atrios pens, but I hope I'm not stating the obvious--or missing something that someone has already written--sorry if I don't reference everything, but I'll bet anyone starting at the two above can find them.

Republicans have been spinning like mad: as recently as last night, after surviving my Microsoft brainwashing session (and I've managed to come through with flying colors--my opinion of Bill Gates has not appreciably increased, either), I watched the most boring hour in television, according to Alexander Cockburn--The News Hour--it only SEEMS like an hour and a half.

David Brooks and Mark Shields have gotten themselves a nice gig blathering away on said hour--particularly Shields, who is the Alan Colmes of PBS. But it's Brooks here that I want to focus on: he's memorized his RNC spin lines like the second rate actor he is. Anyway, the spin points seem to be:

It was thirty years ago.
Bush should be judged on the basis of his three years in office.
It was thirty years ago.
Look at the pay records.
It was thirty years ago.

My guess is that anyone interested has done their own research, but the point I've wasted so many lines making is that it was NOT thirty years ago: you see, Dubya "wrote" an autobiography just a FEW years back--and he lied about his service record. He made no mention of his missing year, his "transfer" to Alabama, and at best makes only an oblique reference to leaving early to attend Harvard Business School (tell THAT to the present Guard personnel, whose own tours of duty--in a combat environment--have been extended via a cynical "stop loss" order that is a more truthful reflection of the policy disaster that is Iraq than almost anything). So, Republicans, please stop saying this is a "thirty year old" issue, because it is a PRESENT issue, one that reflects upon the character of George W. Bush.

And, as anyone with a few functioning brain cells can see, it's not a complimentary reflection. In summary: Bush as a young man was perfectly willing to let others fight and die overseas--in a war he says he supported--while he used his father's political connections to land a state-side post that posed far less danger than a tour in Southeast Asia. And, in spite of his incredible good fortune to land this position, he cared so little for almost anything--except the non-stop partying that comes with being the scion of an elite family--he blew off his committment to the military.

Quite honestly, if he'd said that he simply wasn't interested, that would be fine by me. I'm the child of a career military officer (a naval aviator), but that life doesn't suit me either. But at least I'm honest about it.

So, we have a young man who blows off his very envious position in the military, at least at the time, and who lies about it later because he feels it's potentially embarrassing now that his political career requires him to "look tough." THAT'S THE ISSUE. And it reflects profoundly upon the character of George W. Bush: he is an individual who sees no problem with lying to further his career--and, his destructive political agenda. His lies regarding his time in the National Guard are simply a reflection of this broader pattern of behavior. And, if you saw his television interview last Sunday, it's clear that he hasn't STOPPED lying, either about Iraq or his domestic agenda In fact, he'll lie about almost everything.

Bush's National Guard service--or lack of service--is relevant today, indeed.

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