2.11.2004

POLITICS - No Strings Attached

I think we're beginning to see why the Bush Administration wants to bury this issue.

Here's a graf that's appearing in newspapers all over the globe:
Questions have been raised about whether family connections helped him get into the Guard when there were waiting lists. Bush says no one in his family pulled strings and that he got in because others didn't want to commit to the almost two years of active duty required for fighter pilot training.

Don't believe me? Here is a google news search that contains that quote in over two hundred newspapers in the last 48 hours.

However, we know that somebody in the Bush family pulled strings to get him into the guard.... And those family strings came back to haunt him in a 1998 whistleblower lawsuit in Texas. I posted on this issue last week, but here's the critical link to a WaPo article about the testimony from the guy who got Bush into the guard.
Former speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Ben Barnes said under oath today that he recommended George W. Bush for a pilot's slot in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War at the behest of a Houston businessman close to the Bush family.

If you read the article, you'll see that a close friend of the Bush family contacted Ben Barnes, which contradicts the Bush Admin statement that nobody in his family pulled any strings. If Bush has actually stated himself that nobody in his family pulled strings, then he is lying. He's known since 1999 (and probably earlier than that) that Barnes' influence was the sole reason he was accepted in TANG.

If Bush or his staff have claimed that nobody pulled strings to get him in the Guard, then that is a deliberate misrepresentation of the truth. If journalists are going back and examining Bush's various statements about Guard service, then he is going to be in a little trouble. His statements are confusing and contradictary, and that whistleblower suit provides a lot of political ammunition to the Dems.

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