Byron York makes an important point in The Hill
today. As much as the Bush-haters want to focus on one year of Bush's Texas Air National Guard career, they miss the bigger picture. George W. Bush met his service obligation, and did so early.
See if you can follow the math here. Guard members were required to obtain 50 drill points a year for that year to "count". That means his 6-year hitch required that he rack up 300 points. How did he do?
The future president joined the Guard in May 1968. Almost immediately, he began an extended period of training. Six weeks of basic training. Fifty-three weeks of flight training. Twenty-one weeks of fighter-interceptor training.
That was 80 weeks to begin with, and there were other training periods thrown in as well. It was full-time work. By the time it was over, Bush had served nearly two years.
Not two years of weekends. Two years.
Now I will concede that he did agree to that in his initial contract -- but it is interesting to note that there was clearly no problem there. His 1968-69 calendar year shows him earning 253 points. The 1969-70 period is even more productive. Bush earned 340 points based upon his time training and drilling.
Now we hit two years when he was not on active duty -- 1970-1971 and 1971-72. What happened then?
He earned 137 points in 1970-1971. And he earned 112 points in 1971-1972. The numbers indicate that in his first four years, Bush not only showed up, he showed up a lot.
In other words, by May of 1972, George W. Bush had about 140% of the points he needed to accumulate.
May 1972-May 1973 is the period folks question. What happened then? Yes, Bush stops flying (not a good thing, in my book). We've known that. But he still ekes out 56 points -- meaning he met the obligation for the year. He spent most of June and July of 1973 on duty, giving him 56 points for that year as well. In other words, for the sixth straight years he performed a creditable year of service. He requests and receives an early discharge so he can continue his education, and that request is granted in light of his completion of the mandated duty. He receives an honorable discharge, and he gets it early because of his diligence.
In contrast, John Kerry doesn't receive his discharge until the summer of 1978, six years later than scheduled
. Why the delay? We don't know, because John Kerry won't allow the records to be released that would answer the question. We do know that during this time he was zipping off to Paris to consort with the enemy, and that he found time to travel the country promoting the enemy's peace plan and make speeches that defamed his fellow servicemen. Why the delay, Senator? Were you a deserter, or were you simply AWOL?