Heaven and Earth
Thoughts on Baseball, Art, and Other Altered States

Tobacco Road
Tom Rogers and the Philip Morris Tollway

Coyote Waits
Native American folklore says that Coyote will outlive us all and be the last survivor on earth

Hallucination Engine Revisited
The Psycho-dynamic Obsolescence of General Motors

search engine by freefind


Playing War with Boy George Bush: Ian William
"Dishonest and dishonorable." That’s how Republican Senator John McCain, a POW for five years during the Vietnam War, described a recent TV spot criticizing John Kerry’s military service.

"When the chips were down, you could not count on John Kerry," Vietnam War veteran Larry Thurlow proclaims in the ad.

McCain was so disgusted with the anti-Kerry comments, he called on the White House to condemn the commercial. The White House declined.

“I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam,” McCain said afterward. “I think George Bush served honorably in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War."

"A killing contrast!” says Ian Williams, The Nation's UN correspondent and author of Deserter: Bush’s War on Military Families, Veterans, and His Past. If you read between the lines of McCain’s response, the Liverpool-born Williams says, “he has a very Brit style of put-down on Bush. Kerry did his service in Vietnam and Bush…well, Bush also served in the Texas National Guard."

“Ironically, as pro-Bush figures dredge the memories of veterans for stories to attack Kerry's war record, whatever the truth of the stories they have waited 35 years to share, they confirm one thing" Williams says. "Kerry was in Vietnam, in combat. Not even the best investigators that GOP billionaire money can buy has found a veteran who can credibly assert they saw George W. Bush in any military capacity whatsoever, in Alabama let alone in Vietnam, for twelve months, let alone anyone who fought alongside him.”

Let’s go back to a time when the chips were down for Boy George Bush — back to the days of the Tet Offensive, the North Vietnamese military action that began in January 1968. Although, the Viet Cong suffered heavy casualties, they scored a surprising moral victory after 19 VC soldiers fought their way onto the grounds of the American embassy in Saigon.

1968, was a “chips are down” year for America. It was a time to stand up and be counted, either on the front lines of war or on the front lines of protest. Yet, it was during this pivotal point in our history that Boy George Bush decided to dodge involvement by applying for service in the Texas Air National Guard.

“This wasn’t just any old point in the war,” says Williams, "This was when, on the face of it, the US was reeling. It was a traumatic time for the US military and George Bush’s reaction was ‘How can I get the hell out of this?’”

Unlike today, when US National Guard members are serving in Iraq, enlisting in the National Guard in 1968 meant one thing: a free pass on Vietnam. So, while John McCain was held captive in a prisoner of war camp and John Kerry was volunteering his service to the US Navy, Boy George Bush bailed.

Why is Bush’s slacker attitude during the Vietnam War avoided by the mainstream press?

“A lot of editors think this ground has already been plowed, planted, and harvested and there’s no further work. That’s what the White House wants us to think. Most the time they are playing the press as suckers,” Williams says. “One of the reasons this issue never came up in the past is that George W. Bush was not by any means the sole beneficiary. The Air Guard unit he joined was known locally as “Air Canada,” because it offered all the benefits of a trip north of the border and none of the political and climatic problems associated with it. Half of the Texas rulers had their children in Air Canada. Lloyd Benson’s son was one of them.”

Let me get this straight. Kerry was serving two tours in Vietnam. McCain was spending two years in POW hell — solitary confinement. Boy George Bush used his daddy’s pull to play war in Air Canada, yet the GOP says that you can’t count on Kerry. Isn’t it Bush, who we can’t count on? Isn’t Bush a deserter?

“I think legally, yes,” Williams says. “At the height of the war, he pledges to do his National Guard service for six years in return for not being drafted and sent to Vietnam. For one whole year he disappeared. Even the records that mysteriously appeared after his service was called into question, confirmed that for one full year George W. Bush saw no active duty. He seems to have ignored with impunity orders to turn up at bases in Alabama. He failed to turn up for his flight medical. By failing to accomplish his medical, he lost his pilot status.”

When the chips were down, Bush One served his country in World War II. What accounts for Boy George's undistinguished military career?

"I don’t normally go into Freudian stuff," says Williams, "but the real issue here between the two Bushes is that George Bush Senior was, as far as we can tell, pretty much a genuine war hero. He pulled strings to get into the war early — at the age of 18 straight from prep school. He actually saw combat and was shot down. I think that Little W has wanted to emulate his father, but he didn’t want to make any sacrifices for it. That’s sort of typical of a spoiled frat boy. He wanted to be a war hero without going to war and, in a sense, he’s become a virtual war hero. You have to look at Saddam Hussein or Fidel Castro to find a leader who is so fond of military uniforms.”

What does the military think of the frat boy, today?

“Bush is appealing not so much to the real military, but to the military as the repository of Republican virtues,” Williams says. “There’s a strong current in American society that says that veterans who have given to their country deserve more afterwards. Bush apparently doesn’t feel that way. He has treated veterans shabbily. He’s tried to close down the Veterans Administration. He’s tried to cut down on benefits. He’s tried to cut down on their medical treatment — all of this while he’s posing and wrapping the flag around himself as a champion of the military.”

In Deserter, Williams quotes Romaine Rolland, the 1915 Nobel Prize-winner for literature who at the outbreak of World War I said, “I find war detestable. But even more detestable are those who praise war without participating in it.”

Detestable, dishonest and dishonorable — that’s what I’d call Boy George Bush.

— Nathan Callahan, August 5, 2004


© NathanCallahan.com / Nathan Callahan / all rights reserved