Monday, September 20, 2004

The Year of Inconsequence

While CBS has struggled with the memo story – and is about to admit that they got punk’d – the New York Times has patiently done the legwork to put together the pieces of what George W. Bush did and didn’t do to fulfill his commitment to the Texas Air National Guard.

…[A] wider examination of his life in 1972, based on dozens of interviews and other documents released by the White House over the years, yields a portrait of a young man like many other young men of privilege in that turbulent time – entitled, unanchored and safe from combat, bouncing from a National Guard slot made possible by his family’s prominence to a political job arranged through his father.

In a speech on Tuesday at a National Guard convention, Mr. Bush said he was “proud to be one of them,” and in his autobiography he writes that his service taught him respect for the chain of command. But a review of records shows that not only did he miss months of duty in 1972, but that he also may have been improperly awarded credit for service, making possible an early honorable discharge so he could turn his attention to a new interest: Harvard Business School.

Eric Boehlert at Salon.com has also been following the trail and has put together his own handy-dandy primer to the life and times of Mr. Bush during that time.

What George W. Bush did or didn’t do in 1972 is highly irrelevant to the issues of the campaign – except for the fact that he has consistently been misleading about the truth, and that says a great deal about his character – or the lack thereof.