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Bush's Imaginary Military Record

This post, written by Evelyn Pringle, originally appeared on The Smirking Chimp

The tax dollar funded photo op of Bush landing on an aircraft carrier all dressed up in a flightsuit to announce Mission Accomplished was a desperate attempt to give the illusion that Bush actually did serve his country in the military and to bolster his image as a self-described "war president."

This country is now paying a heavy price for Bush's lack of military experience, and his taunting invitation of "bring it on," that has resulted in a never ending stream of challengers traveling to Iraq to teach our loudmouth President a lesson.

When evaluating Bush's performance as the Commander-in-Chief leading the Iraq war, it might be helpful to take another look at his years of service in military, or lack thereof.

The story of the draft-dodger in the White House who keeps sending more troops off to die in Iraq began in 1968 while the Viet Nam war raging and his student deferment ended, meaning it would only be a matter of time before he would be drafted.

However, his father jumped in to save him from that certain fate by lining up a slot in the Texas Air National Guard to make sure that sonny boy remained far away from Nam.

Of course for his part, Bush, the honest guy that Americans have come to know, has always denied that he received any help. "There was no special treatment," he said when running for governor in 1993. "They were looking for pilots and I was honored to serve."

"I can just tell you," he mumbled to reporters during campaign 2000, "from my perspective, I never asked for, I don't believe I received special treatment."

To put the whole special treatment debate in perspective, it should be noted that at the time Bush was accepted in the Texas Air National Guard, there was a waiting list of roughly 500 men and it usually took about a year and a half to get to the top of the list.

When asked about the waiting list issue, Bush spokesman at the time, David Beckwith, claimed that Bush was more qualified. "A lot of people weren't qualified" he said, "so special commissions were offered to those willing to undergo the extra training required."

However, Charles Shoemake, chief of personnel at the Texas Guard from 1972 to 1980, publicly denied that there was a shortage of pilots or qualified applicants. "We had so many people coming in who were super-qualified," he said.

Any claim that Bush was more qualified than 500 other men is laughable being he only scored 25% on the Pilot Aptitude Test, which happens to be the lowest score permitted for a wannabe pilot at the time.

The truth was finally revealed in 1999, when Ben Barnes, former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, said that he helped Bush get in the Guard at the request of Bush family friend, Sid Adger, according to an account of the events in a statement released after Barnes testified in a deposition for a federal lawsuit in September 1999.

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