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July 23, 2004
Bush Guard Records Found: AP

One more Leftist meme may have bitten the dust this afternoon, as the Pentagon resolved a numbers-index confusion and found George Bush's National Guard payroll records, the AP reports:

The Pentagon on Friday released payroll records from President Bush's 1972 service in the Alabama National Guard, saying its earlier contention the records were destroyed was an "inadvertent oversight."

The two computerized payroll record sheets cover July through September of 1972, when Bush was working as a campaign volunteer in Alabama. The future president had been transferred from the Texas Air National Guard to the Alabama unit so he could stay in Alabama. ... The Pentagon had said that the payroll records for that time period had been inadvertently destroyed.

"Previous attempts to locate the missing records at the Federal Records Center had been unsuccessful due to the incorrect records accession numbers provided," the Pentagon's Office of Freedom of Information chief C.Y. Talbot said in a letter Friday to The Associated Press.

No word in the AP's report as to whether the records verify Bush's service during that period of time, but I rather suspect that had they shown otherwise, the headlines would have looked much, much different.

UPDATE: The new records don't add up to anything much, which sort of puts lie to the idea that the White House hid them from anybody:

Like records released earlier by the White House, the newly released computerized payroll records show no indication Bush drilled with the Alabama unit during July, August and September of 1972. Pay records covering all of 1972, released previously, also indicated no guard service for Bush during those three months.

The records do not give any new information toward determining whether Bush kept his National Guard commitments during 1972, when he transferred to the Alabama National Guard unit so he could work on the U.S. Senate campaign of a family friend.

In other words, they say pretty much the same thing as all of the other records unearthed in this wild-goose chase. Hey, people -- "honorable discharge" means he fulfilled all of his obligations to the satisfaction of the Pentagon at the time.

What a waste of time this story is ...

UPDATE II: I noticed this biased and misleading statement in the Reuters report on the story:

Bush moved to Alabama in May 1972 to work on a political campaign and, he has said, to perform his Guard service there for a year. But other Guard officers have said they had no recollection of seeing him there.

Well, yeah. But what Reuters doesn't tell you is that other Guard officers do remember him being there:

Speaking on the phone Friday from Daytona Beach, Florida, John B. "Bill" Calhoun said he commanded Bush and that Bush attended four to six weekend drills at Dannelly Field in Montgomery. He said Bush was with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Alabama in 1972. ...

Joe LeFevers, a member of the 187th in 1972, said he remembers seeing Bush in unit offices and being told that Bush was in Montgomery to work on Blount's campaign. "I was going in the orderly room over there one day, and they said, 'This is Lt. Bush,'" LeFevers said Tuesday. "They pointed him out to me ... the reason I remember it is because I associate him with Red Blount."

My earlier post has other references as well.

UPDATE ZILLIONTH: Or at least it seems like it on this, the most reported non-story of this election cycle. The Washington Post writes its own report on the recovered files, and agrees that they add and subtract absolutely nothing to what we already knew:

Bush moved to Alabama in May 1972, and his payroll sheet for July through September of that year shows no payment for those months, indicating no military service. But this lack of payment was apparent in pay records covering all of 1972 that the White House released in February along with a batch of Bush's other military files.

In other words, we already had records for that period of time, and they showed no payment. Move along, folks ... nothing to see here.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 23, 2004 4:15 PM

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Again, as if we really care Terry. Will you finally let this story die? [Read More]

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