Monday, September 20, 2004

William F. Buckley has been hoodwinked. Is this a first?

I wrote a letter to William F. Buckley today.

Since you won't read it at the National Review, I thought I'd post it here, too.

From his piece today on Rathergate:

"The concrete issue had to do with his failure to take a physical examination on the appointed day."

Yes it did, because in return for the expensive privilege of a lengthy pilot training program that more sought than obtained, he signed a legal agreement to remain a pilot on active Flying Status for five years following the end of his flight training (in November 1969). One key requirement to remain on Flying Status was to take and pass an annual flight physical. The issue isn't his decision not to take the May 1972 physical, it was his decision unilaterally to
revoke his agreement with the United States by ceasing to fly for the Guard after only about half his period of obligation.

"It was stressed that he had sought leave, and been given it, to move to the Air Guard unit in Alabama, which would permit him a role in the Senate campaign of Winton Blount."

No and yes. Leave to "move" was summarily denied: In May 1972, he applied to leave the Texas Guard and transfer permanently to an inactive Air Force Reserve unit in Alabama. That request was promptly rejected because he still had an obligation to remain on Flying Status until November 1974, and the unit he chose for his transfer request did not have airplanes. Then, in September, he requested permission only to drill three weekends in Alabama (Sep-Nov 1972) as "equivalent duty," in lieu of doing so at his home unit in Houston. That request was granted, but he had applied too late to meet the Alabama unit's September drill. His pay records show he was paid for drills in October and November 1972, but he was unaccounted for the drills scheduled for May, June, July, August, and September. He neither attended at the time, nor later made up any of those required training dates. The legal definition of Absent Without Leave is instructive here.

"Lt. Bush flew successfully, adroitly, admirably. His inclination to move on after four years to help a Republican candidate is testimony to a lively disposition, in a 25-year old, to move on, to undertake another challenge."

That Buckley can say such a thing with a straight face is more appalling than laughable. With two and a half years of his military service obligation unmet, free spirit Bush waltzed off to seek new challenges that did not involve flying jets or wearing his country's uniform. When I was a young Field Artillery officer around the same time, I can assure you there were many challenges I would rather have undertaken, free spirit that I was, but my oath as an Officer and the laws of the United States did not allow me to. Nor did they him.

1 comment:

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