Friday, September 10


One quick comment on the Killian family disputing the CBS-revealed documents of their father and husband.

Beyond that, surviving relatives of Bush's then commander, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, the author of the purported documents, insist they are fake. They say Killian always believed Bush was an excellent pilot and that he never wrote these documents. Killian died in 1984. Link here.

When GWB was training as a pilot he received mid-level evaluations and even some praise as a natural pilot. But he gave up flying amazingly soon after a $1 million government investment in his training, before TANG could really benefit from his service. A dedicated military man like Jerry Killian is reputed to be could never have countenanced such a cavalier attitude toward his commitment. So why would he be telling his family that GWB was an "excellent pilot?" And Killian's unit was so full of impressive "names," including Dallas Cowboy football players, why would he single out GWB, whose father was a lowly Congressman at that time? Even if he did, his praise was so ebullient that his family has never forgotten how much he admired him? Let's not forget, GWB at this time in his life was constantly missing drill, getting drunk (and/or loaded on cocaine), bragging about his party-going -- does this sound like the kind of pilot that a sound, dedicated commander like Jerry Killian would ADMIRE so much that his family would never forget this one young trainee among thousands of others?

No, I don't believe it. Killian's own commander has vouched that the memos sound consistent with what Killian had expressed to him at THE TIME.

UPDATE: Salon has a good summary of the Killian memos/forged documents/Bush AWOL story:

As for the memos in which Killian complained about the pressure he was getting from his superiors to "sugarcoat" Bush's spotty service record, Killian's superior told CBS producers that Killian had made similar contemporaneous statements to him in the early 1970s, according to the Washington Post.

The forgery flap has created a firestorm among mainstream media, but it is merely a sideshow in the larger National Guard controversy. The disputed Killian documents represent just a fraction of what is known about Bush's Guard duty. To date, the voluminous information about the issue comes from Bush's own Texas Guard file, none of which has been called into question. And in fact, the veracity of the contents of the Killian memos remains undisputed. For instance, one memo dated May 4, 1972, ordered Bush to obtain a physical exam. There has been no controversy whatsoever about the fact that Bush was required to take a physical that year and failed to do so.

In April 1972, with 770 days left in his military commitment, and unwilling to have his physical, Bush was suspended from flying and walked away from his required duties. Though he says he subsequently served in the Guard in Alabama, Salon reported last week that according to an eyewitness, Linda Allison, a Bush family friend whose husband was in charge of overseeing Bush's activities in Alabama, Bush never gave any evidence of having done any Guard duty. This week, the Boston Globe reported that after leaving the Texas Air National Guard in 1973 to attend Harvard Business School, Bush again shirked his responsibility by failing to serve the remaining nine months of his commitment with a Massachusetts Guard unit. And to this day, not one member of Bush's Alabama unit has come forward with a credible recollection of having served with the future president. Whether or not the Killian memos turn out to be forgeries, those facts are irrefutable.


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