Thursday, August 26, 2004

Absent in Alabama 

Paul Lukasiac has just posted the latest installment in his ongoing AWOL Project, "The Alabama Transfer Scam: How George W. Bush Tried, and Failed, to Con the USAF into Relieving Him of His Training Requirements." Here's the brief summary he sent to Eric Alterman:
Contrary to the spin put out by the White House (and endlessly repeated by the mainstream media), Bush was never transferred to the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron in Alabama. Nor was this “transfer request” an attempt to find somewhere to do training temporarily while Bush worked on an Alabama political campaign in 1972. Instead, Bush was running a scam designed to completely sever his relationship with the Air National Guard, and eliminate the last two years of his obligation to train and serve as a pilot, by joining a unit that had no training, and for which Bush was specifically ineligible.

As to "what's new"...

I guess the most important "new" fact is that Bush was fully aware that he was not eligible to transfer to the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron when he applied for the transfer.

This is actually evident if you read Reese Bricken's comments on the "Request for Reassignment"---and I confirmed it in a phone conversation a month ago (a fact that I bury in a footnote, because I try to rely entirely on the public record). This was also confirmed to a REAL reporter--i.e. not someone like me--when he spoke to Bricken recently.

IF Bush had succeeded in getting into the 9921st, he would never have had to do ANYTHING to fulfill his commitment from that point on. That's why I call it a scam.

The other "new" points made by the piece are that Bush never received the orders that would relieve him of his obligation to train as a pilot with TXANG (and that, even before he requested his transfer, he had blown off May's required training.)

In other words, Bush KNEW that there was an excellent chance that his "transfer request" would be turned down, but he stopped showing up for training anyway, and let his flight status be suspended. Then, when he got word that the orders would NOT be coming, he didn't lift a finger to perform the training that he had missed, and made no effort to restore his flight status.
PERSONAL ASIDE: Mr. Alterman today published a paean to the music of Z.Z. Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd by a correspondent who identified himself as Charles Kinbote of Athens, GA. We wish to state, emphatically and for the record, that the gentleman in question is not us.

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