The claim that CBS’s forged documents were “fake but accurate” has been subjected to well-deserved derision. But the Democrats and most of the mainstream media are still sticking to the theory that while the Burkett documents were forgeries, President Bush’s record in the Texas Air National Guard nevertheless deserves criticism.
For a good summary of the attacks that have been leveled against President Bush, and an explanation of why they are groundless, see this article by Air Force Col. John H. Wambough, Jr. The piece is lengthy and can be regarded as definitive; here are a few excerpts:
I can say from my experience that flying operational fighter jets is highly dangerous. People don’t strap fighter jets to their backside if they are overly concerned for their future. While in F-105 training at McConnell AFB in early 1968, we lost five aircraft in six weeks.
I can assure you that Lt. Bush was continuously exposed to similar dangers during all weather scrambles and during training exercises as evidenced by the F-102 pilots killed in his unit.
Cowards (or people who lack courage) don’t take on the risks that Lt. Bush did in flying Fighter Interceptor Aircraft. Flying jets in wing formation in the weather and carrying explosive ordnance on board is dangerous work. The pilots in these squadrons (including Lt. Bush) did what their country asked them to do. They performed their assigned mission and did it well. In November 1970, the Commander of the Texas Air National Guard, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, called Mr. Bush, then 24, “a dynamic outstanding young officer” who stood out as “a top-notch fighter interceptor pilot.” “Lt. Bush’s skills far exceed his contemporaries,” Colonel Killian wrote: “He is a natural leader whom his contemporaries look to for leadership. Lt. Bush is also a good follower with outstanding disciplinary traits and an impeccable military bearing.”
Lt. Bush entered the ANG in May 1968 and took his last (F-102) flight in the Guard four years later in April 1972. His flying tour included pilot training and than operational flying in the F-102 (111th Tactical interceptor Squadron). During Lt. Bush’s time in the Guard he accumulated hundreds of hours of flying time; he served his nation honorably; he flew close to 4 years straight and performed Guard duties in 1972 and 1973 satisfactory to his Squadron Commander (Lt. Col Killian) and satisfactory to the ANG; he was given an honorable discharge in October 1973.
Like all Guard members, Lt. Bush was required to accrue a minimum of 50 points (annually) to meet Guard service requirements (a minimum of 300 points in six years). What the liberal media may not have covered in their many articles about Lt. Bush’s ANG service is that Lt. Bush accumulated 954 points – exceeding the six-year Air National Guard requirement for service – threefold. Of course, everyone knows this, right? All those investigative reporters must have brought this fact out a dozen times. I just must have missed it.
In a sane world, for the Democrats to try to make an election issue out of President Bush’s National Guard service, more than thirty years after the fact, would be regarded as a sick joke.