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The Daily Mislead
February 11
, 2004

On Sunday, President Bush pledged in the Oval Office to release any and all documents related to whether he fulfilled his Vietnam-era National Guard duty. And yesterday, the White House claimed the documents it released fulfilled that Oval Office pledge. However, just hours after that declaration, White House communications director Dan Bartlett "confirmed that Bush's complete personnel file is being forwarded to Washington from an archive in Denver" but only "for review" by the White House - not necessarily release to the public.

Military experts said records like those being "reviewed" by the White House could definitively prove where Bush was, unlike those documents released yesterday which do not. But records such as those being "reviewed" by the White House "cannot be released without Bush's authorization," a process that would simply require the president to sign release forms (see a sample form). To date "Bush has not consented, despite his claim that he made public all his records in 2000." Without that authorization, the government has denied Freedom of Information Act requests seeking relevant documents.

The White House claimed the documents it released yesterday show "President Bush fulfilling his duties in the National Guard" during Vietnam. However, the documents released actually showed that Bush "did not receive military pay from May to September of 1972" - a five month gap in service where Bush also "refused to take his annual physical and was grounded as a pilot." White House spokesman Scott McClellan refused to say whether Bush actually showed up for service, only saying that Bush was paid. In all, the records "do not show the exact nature or whereabouts of Bush's service during that period."

In a year spanning 1972 and 1973, Bush claims to have served in the Alabama National Guard and in Houston, but the White House cannot produce a single human being to validate that claim. While Bush says there is "no evidence" to prove whether he did or did not show up for service, that is not true - those who would have overseen his service specifically report that he was absent. In Alabama, the commander of the unit Bush would have been in said today, "He never did come to my squad. He was never at my unit." Additionally, in a signed report, commanding officers in Houston said Bush "has not been observed."


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