The National Guard Story Returns

by on September 8th, 2004

Not satisfied with the devastation suffered as a result of the decision to base the entire campaign on John Kerry’s four months of service in Vietnam, the Democrats have launched a counter offensive by attempting to revive the dead horse of George Bush’s National Guard Service. Writing in the official Kerry Campaign Newsletter, aka the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof joins in the first wave of the attack with an Op-ED titled Missing in Action.

The Guard Story Part V has a very familiar plot. It seems a couple of veterans decided that they could no longer keep their memories to themselves and felt obligated to share them with their fellow citizens to help them make an informed voting decision. But unlike that other, much larger group of veterans who have felt compelled to share their memories of their service with John Kerry, the two veterans Kristoff sites are highly credible. One of them even used to be a Republican. Though a NY Times piece asserting that membership in the Republican Party ads to ones credibility seems rather incongruous.

Kristof also sites the work of a retired Army colonel, Gerald Lechliter

“The record clearly and convincingly proves he did not fulfill the obligations he incurred when he enlisted in the Air National Guard,” writes Gerald Lechliter, a retired Army colonel who has made the most meticulous examination I’ve seen of Mr. Bush’s records (I’ve posted the full 32-page analysis here).

It is a shame Mr. Lechliter doesn’t have the opportunity, nor I suspect the interest, to give an equally meticulous examination to John Kerry’s record.

Kristof ends his attack by repeating the lie that the Bush campaign has attacked Kerry’s war record

Does this disqualify Mr. Bush from being commander in chief? No. But it should disqualify the Bush campaign from sliming the military service of a rival who still carries shrapnel from Vietnam in his thigh.

The president and vice president have made few mentions of Kerry’s service except to say that Kerry served honorably and that they honor his service. It’s pretty easy to see how that kind of slime could upset a guy.

Stephen Macklin