Monday, September 27, 2004


Secret Lives of the Rear Echelon

Do I need to correct my post about Bush and draft dodging? Nah!

The same day that I posted my commentary on Bush's avoidance of the Vietnam fighting, Instapundit reports that “Bush volunteered for Vietnam.” Apparently, “Three of Bush's fellow recalled to NEWSWEEK that Bush inquired with the base commander about signing up for” a program would have allowed him to get flight time in Vietnam. Palace “He was told no; he had too few flying hours at the time and his plane, the F-102, was by then deemed obsolete for air combat.”

So what does Instapundit make of these claims? Not “Witnesses say Bush volunteered,” but the assertion as fact, “Bush volunteered.” For all I know, Instapundit administered lie detector tests to these three fellow pilots, or otherwise personally assessed their credibility. Otherwise, I have this question: why believe the recollection of Lt. X favoring Bush and disbelieve the recollection of Col. Y that Bush didn’t fulfill his service obligation?

A good definition of “partisan” (and I admit to being a Democrat/Kerry partisan) is one who assimilates new information to a pre-existing belief system, relaxing standards of critical thinking when the information supports one’s existing view. Think about the skeptical questions pro-bush pundits, Insta- or otherwise, would ask about comparable news from the Kerry camp.

Why hasn’t the White House previously offered us the assertion that Bush “volunteered for Vietnam?” I mean, what, did Bush simply forget about that episode? Or has he been silent about it because he realizes it’s kind of lame to say, “Gee, I asked about going to Vietnam once, but they wouldn't let me”? This isn’t like Winston Churchill asking General Eisenhower’s permission to ride out with the Normandy assault troops on D-Day. I’m sure if Bush really wanted to go to Vietnam, he could have pulled some of the very same strings he used to get into the Texas Air National Guard in the first place and gotten himself over there.

Or has the “Bush volunteered” story not come up before because (like the Kerry didn’t deserve his medal’s story) it’s untrue?

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