Sunday, September 19, 2004

Lukasiak: Bush's TXANG Records Doctored 

We allot ourselves a single Buckhead joke a day, and now regret having prematurely squandered our daily ration in the post directly below. Paul Lukasiak of The AWOL Project has concluded that at least two of the TXANG documents released by the White House -- Bush's discharge form (NBG-22), and his Officer Military Record (Form 11) -- were tampered with. For example, on a section of the discharge form --
The “Remarks” section (Item 32) shows clear signs that this document was tampered with. Something else had been typed on this form, then “whited out” in some fashion, and an amended version of the “Remarks” were inserted.

The first thing that one notices is that the left margin has been completely changed. On the rest of the document, letters line up very close to the left hand side of the form. But in the Remarks section, the margin is at least two characters from the edge of the form.

At the far left hand side of the document, between the first two clearly typed lines of Section 32, are what appear to be “ghost characters”. These characters line up with the left hand margin found on the rest of the document.

And toward the top of the Remarks section, there is a line of what appears[3] to have been a full line of typewritten comments that have been deleted from the form. The line begins at the left hand margin, and ends at what appears to have been the original right hand margin. It appears to have the same “slant” of the lines in the rest of the document as well, and appears to line up vertically—two lines below the characters in the previous lines of typing.
And, on the Form 11, one line of the final entry, for 1 October 1973, has been scribbled over "with either a pen or a fine point marker":
There is a very strong possibility that what was scribbled out (and then typed over) was an entry indicating that Bush has been reassigned as a “trainee pilot instructor”, and that he had failed to pass the necessary tests to qualify for that new assignment.

Up until at least October 30, 1970, Bush was qualified to do only one thing, fly the single seat F-102 Fighter Interceptor. At that point, he was not qualified to fly the T-33 training jets used by the 111th, nor was he qualified as a “passenger carrying pilot”. Neither his Officer Effectiveness Training Reports from May 1971 and May 1972, or any other document among those released in February, make any mention of his achieving qualification in either category.

Yet according to the Associated Press’s account of Bush’s recently released flight records, Bush had spent most of his flying time during his last three months at TXANG before leaving for Alabama on two-seater planes and on flight simulators. And, the AP noted “the final two entries of Bush's official flight logs that refer to him being assigned to work as an instructional pilot in late May 1972,” something which a White House spokesperson attributed to a “paperwork error.”

But given the evidence, it probably wasn’t a paperwork error. Given the lack of “agreement” between the two forms that was noticed by the Air Force, it is extremely likely that he had was being assigned a new job, and could not meet the requirements. Subsequently, an attempt was made to cover-up Bush’s failure to meet the requirements of his new assignment by scribbling out the evidence that Bush had been trying to become an “instructor pilot”. This failure, and Bush’s inability to perform a necessary role in the 111th’s new training mission, would provide more than enough impetus for TXANG to try to get rid of Bush by getting him transferred to a unit where he would no longer be required to do any training whatsoever.
Another possibility that Lukasiak regards as less likely: the redacted line may have indicated that Bush's discharge was originally "less than honorable."


UPDATE: Forget the Rather memos. Eric Boehlert of Salon has compiled the definitive summary of everything we already know about Bush's Guard service.

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