The AP is in full handwaving and distraction mode over the CBS 60 minutes fake memo issue (see previous blog entry and a gazillion and one other blogs). I suspect other news organizations will do the same thing. Their latest attempt is astoundingly feeble: to summarise the worst that AP can come up with is that he flew some missions on T-33 trainers and required a second landing a couple of times and they use that to try and bury the story about the forgeries.
Bush Piloted Guard Trainers Before He Quit
1 hour, 52 minutes ago By MATT KELLEY, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - George W. Bush began flying a two-seat training jet more frequently and twice required multiple attempts to land a one-seat fighter in the weeks just before he quit flying for the Texas Air National Guard in 1972, his pilot logs show.
The logs show Bush flew nine times in T-33 trainers in February and March 1972, including eight times in one week and four of those only as a co-pilot. Bush, then a first lieutenant, flew in T-33s only twice in the previous six months and three times in the year ending July 31, 1971.
The records also show Bush required two passes to land an F-102A fighter on March 12 and April 10, 1972. His last flight as an Air National Guard pilot was on April 16.
Not to put too fine a point on it but why are either of these things of interest to anyone? Apparently the implication is that Bush was either skiving or incompetant or both but neither deserves more than a moments consideration before we start yawning. After all we are given the facts with no background information whatsoe ever. For example it could be that the flights in the trainer were to give assistance to a newbie pilot or pilots who needed more experience or pilots and we have no idea about the weather on the two occasions when Bush needed to take a second pass at a landing. You should be clicking NEXT, BACK or otherwise moving on, as there is clearly nothing worth reading in this news item.
Meanwhile, questions were raised Thursday about the authenticity of newly unearthed memos purporting to have been written by one of Bush's commanders in 1972 and 1973. The memos, which were publicized by CBS News on its "60 Minutes" program, say Bush ignored a direct order from a superior officer and lost his status as a Guard pilot because he failed to meet military performance standards and undergo a required physical exam.
The network defended the memos, saying its experts who examined the memos concluded they were authentic documents produced by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian.
Oh dear - still reading? Ah um well actually we have to admit that one of our fellow news organizations has been taken to the cleaners. Its terribly embarassing dontchaknow? Anyway since we're on the subject here are some more reasons why.
.... Lines, a document expert and fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, pointed to a superscript — a smaller, raised "th" in "111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron" — as evidence indicating forgery.
Microsoft Word automatically inserts superscripts in the same style as the two on the memos obtained by CBS, she said.
"I'm virtually certain these were computer generated," Lines said after reviewing copies of the documents at her office in Paradise Valley, Ariz. She produced a nearly identical document using her computer's Microsoft Word software.
Ok now that we've got that minor bit of news out of the way lest go back to reading about the incompetance of Pilot Bush and how the White House is doing everything it can to hide the records and make no comment on them what so ever - something suspicious to the prefessional journalists at AP.
The Defense Department released Bush's pilot logs this week under pressure from a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The Associated Press. The logs do not explain why Bush was flying T-33s or why he twice needed multiple approaches to make landings.
White House spokesman Trent Duffy said Thursday said he had no information on the reasons behind the multiple-approach landings or the surge in training-jet flights.
"He did his training and was honorably discharged," Duffy said.
AP would clearly love to follow that up with more smears but unfortunately it seems that no one who might be able to be a credible expert witness about Bush's piloting is prepared to say anything other than there's no story, however since we have lots of space to fill we'll go ahead and print their statements anyway
Former Air National Guard officials contacted by the AP said there could be reasons for the trainer flights and multiple-approach landings which have nothing to do with Bush's pilot skills.
Bush could have flown T-33s so many times because his unit did not have enough F-102A jets available that week, for example, said retired Maj. Gen. Don Shepperd a former head of the Air National Guard. Another former Air National Guard chief, retired Maj. Gen. Paul A. Weaver, said he saw nothing unusual about Bush making more than one landing attempt.
"It doesn't mean anything to have multiple approaches," Weaver said.
Lets just remember that all this is because of those nasty nasty swift vets. All the democrats were doing was the same as what the nasty VRWC has been doing to Kerry during August
Bush's Vietnam-era Air National Guard service became a focus of Democratic criticism this week amid a flurry of new reports about his activities. Democrats say Bush shirked his National Guard duties, a claim Bush denies.
Republican critics have accused Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry (news - web sites), a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, of fabricating the incidents which led to his five medals.
Finally we'll close with a brief summary of Bush's ANG career slanted to imply that he really was AWOL from May 1972 because he missed a physical. Let's not mention that the Air Force had a glut of pilots in 1972 and that the F102 was being phased out and that to put it mildy the ANG was only too happy to have Bush do the absolute minimum. Also lets ignore the fact that as Junkyardblog and Captain's Quarters note Bush had already accumulated enough ANG points to last him until something like 1980
Bush joined the Texas Air National Guard in 1968, serving more than a year on active Air Force duty while being trained to fly F-102A jets. He was honorably discharged from the Guard in October 1973 and left the Air Force Reserves in May 1974.
The first four months of 1972 are at the beginning of a controversial period in Bush's Guard service. After taking his last flight in April 1972, Bush went for six months without showing up for any training drills. In September 1972 he received permission to transfer to an Alabama Guard unit so he could work on a political campaign there.
That May, Bush also skipped a required yearly medical examination. In response, his commanders grounded Bush on Aug. 1, 1972.
Bush's pilot logs showed regular training in the F-102A until Feb. 9, 1972, when he flew 1.4 hours as the pilot of a T-33. After seven more flights in the F-102A, Bush made eight more T-33 flights between March 9 and March 15, including the four as co-pilot.
He flew an F-102A on March 12 and eight more times in April 1972.
Biased? Whaddya mean Biased? we found a negative angle on Bush and a negative angle on CBS thats fair and balanced so we're much better than Fox which won't bother reporting that Bush actually did his duty and flew aircraft maybe not quite 100% perfectly in March and April 1972.