Monday, September 27, 2004

What, Me Serve? (Part Two)

excellent illustration of the case for the troops and therefore against bush from September 17th's Now with Bill Moyers:

MOYERS: There's a poll in THE ECONOMIST this week that asks the question, quote, "How important is Mr. Bush's service in the National Guard?" A majority of respondents said not important at all. Do you think that's right?

PHILLIPS: Well, I'm not certain whether that's what people think. But I think they're absolutely wrong. And partly because the issue of why it's relevant hasn't been drawn very sharply.

As far as I can tell, George W. Bush because of connections, was made a second lieutenant without having to go through all the military ROTC-type experience or the classes or anything like that. And as a result, he's nominally a former officer of the American military.

But he is military illiterate. He has no idea of these things. And we have, for the first time in American history, a President who's a former military man who has no real understanding of the military, has shown no strategic insights, and is probably — there's no historic yardstick — but probably the first person by National Guard definitions to have been the equivalent of AWOL.

Now how you can send American kids over to Iraq with Humvees that aren't armored, without bullet-proof vests, without decent arrangements for transportation and health and do this when you were a guy who didn't show up for your own military training. Didn't take the courses that you had to take to be an officer in the U.S. Services, but he got there anyway. I think this is an enormous issue.

MOYERS: Do you think the past is relevant? He says the past is very important here.

JAMIESON: I think the past is relevant if you can show that the past indicates character flaws that are currently at play in some important policy dispute. So, for example, if you said that the National Guard service of President Bush indicates that he doesn't tell the truth about things and covers them up when it's convenient, then you might say, if you're making that charge about Iraq, that there is a character flaw there.

On the other hand, if you say he served honorably in the National Guard. He did what it took to get to that, whatever that was, even if it was minimalist, then I think it becomes less relevant.

MOYERS: Is it conceivable that the public will say we want somebody who is not truthful but decisive?

PHILLIPS: Well, people sometimes do that. They're not sure what they want.

shame, shame, shame...


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