'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Why Didn't They Put in a Footnote That Asserts Bush Is a Brave and Noble Leader Who Singlehandedly Defended America From a Terrorist Attack? 

Pretty good gaggle today. The poodles are little bit more bity than normal. Here's my favorite part in which we learn that "These are the same old recycled attacks" is Scottie-ese for "Because he knew he would ultimately be successful in weaseling out of having to fulfill his military commitment -- so why should he waste his time getting felt up by some cracker doctor?":

Q Why did the President defy a direct order to get a physical in 1972?

MR. McCLELLAN: Scott, these are the same old recycled attacks that we see every time the President is up for election. It's not surprising that you see a coordinated effort by Democrats to attack the President when Senator Kerry is falling behind in the polls. And we had a very successful convention, and that's what this is about. It was well known that the President was going to work in Alabama and seeking a transfer to perform equivalent duty in a non-flying status. And that's what he was doing.

Q Did he decline to take it because he was moving to Alabama?

MR. McCLELLAN: He was transferring to a unit in Alabama to perform equivalent duty in a non-flying status. That is nothing new.

Q This was a direct order he defied, right? I mean, he did have a direct order that he defied?*

MR. McCLELLAN: John, these issues have come up every year. This was all part of the records -- that he was seeking to transfer to a unit in Alabama because he was going there to work in a civilian capacity. And he was granted permission to do so. And he was proud of his service and he was honorably discharged in October '73, after meeting his obligations.

*The memos that were released, in fact, show the President was working with his commanders to comply with the order.

[ ... ]

Q Scott, I'm just wondering, even if these were old charges, and even if the President was honorably discharged, did he or did he not defy an order to get that physical?

MR. McCLELLAN: Holly, again, these are the same kind of recycled attacks that the Democrats are trying to engage in. The President fulfilled all his obligations, and that is why he was honorably discharged from the National Guard in October, 1973. He was given permission to perform equivalent duty in Alabama, and he met his obligations, and he met his obligations when he returned to Texas. And he met his obligations when he was in Texas, prior to going to Alabama.

As indicated above, I also really enjoyed an editorial comment in the form of a footnote showing up in the official public transcript of a White House press briefing. American Leftist wonders why doesn't the editorialist/transcriptionist cut this paratextual crap and just distort the body of the transcription? It would much easier and a lot of fun. I envision something like this:

Q: Scottie, why would anyone question the president's military service given that it's obvious that these are just the same recycled attacks?

A: Good question, John. I think there are three factors: because Kerry is down in the polls, because we had a very successful convention, and because these are in fact the same recycled attacks that come up every year.

Q: Are these just the same recycled attacks we see every time the president is up for election?

A: Yes, Holly, they are. They are in fact the very same recycled attacks and they are also the same old charges.

For the record, of course, the footnote is not only false but kind of stupid and not particularly flattering to the White House. Look, I ask you press briefing footnote writer if you're out there, oh great gaggle transcript editorialist, it's not like Bush was directly ordered to assassinate Castro or something, what exactly was there to "[work out] with his commanders" about getting a fucking physical? Even if the paper trail did indeed document Bush "working with his commanders to comply" with a direct order, is that really a view of your boy that you want in the official record? I think most guardsmen who aren't the sons of senators got their physicals without working anything out with anyone. Perhaps there's some other memos about Bush working out with his commanders some means of showing up for duty on time?

One assumes the footnote refers to the Col. Jerry Killian memos. Here's how CBS News summarized their contents:

The first memo is a direct order to take "an annual physical examination" -- a requirement for all pilots.

Another memo refers to a phone call from the lieutenant in which he and his commander "discussed options of how Bush can get out of coming to drill from now through November." And that due to other commitments "he may not have time."

On August 1, 1972, Col. Killian grounded Lt. Bush for failure to perform to U.S. Air Force/Texas Air National Guard standards and for failure to take his annual physical as ordered.

A year after Lt. Bush's suspension from flying, Killian was asked to write another assessment.

Killian's memo, titled 'CYA' reads he is being pressured by higher-ups to give the young pilot a favorable yearly evaluation; to, in effect, sugarcoat his review. He refuses, saying, "I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job."

If one insists on characterizing the above as "working with his commanders to comply" with a direct order, I would suggest it might be more beneficial to the ends implied by such a charazterization to instead paint the above as the same old recycled attacks.

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