May 13, 2003
More On Bush's Supposed Absence Without Leave

Bill Herbert (COINTELPRO Tool, last post on 5/8) has a great deal more on what he calls "The Bush AWOL meme". At the end, he asks:

. . . if Bush was truly "AWOL" during this 18-month period, and never received any kind of court martial, or even a Non-judicial Punishment, what does that say about his chain of command?

I think this point can be sharpened. Is it possible to be AWOL without ever being officially declared AWOL, or punished for absences, either then or later? If the chain of command never put Bush down as AWOL, then surely he had implicit leave to be absent on whatever days he may (or may not) have been absent. If his absences were excessive, his commanders may have been derelict in their duties, but how can he have been AWOL if they never objected to his (putative) absences? If they did, where's the evidence?

Here's an analogy: If a neighbor or housemate leaves his car keys lying around while he's at work, and I drive his car all around the neighborhood without asking permission, I am very likely committing a crime. I imagine it depends on the state whether it's simple auto theft or comes under a separate 'using a vehicle without permission' statute. But if the owner knows what I'm doing and never complains, either during or after these joyrides, doesn't that imply permission?

Posted by Dr. Weevil at May 13, 2003 07:28 PM

But say the owner withdrew his complaint about those joyrides after receiving an ominous phone call from higher authorities... That is, if the Bush family had sufficient pull to get W into the Guard in the first place, they likely had enough to make an AWOL charge disappear entirely.

Not that I think this is what happened; it is far more likely that he did show up (or got a proper excuse), and since then records were lost and people forgot. I thought back to my Air Force boot camp in 1978; I lived in one room with 40-some men for six weeks, and now I can remember just 3 names. It's possible that I'm remembered by many of them, but that's because of some rather memorable mistakes.

As I understand it, the normal schedule for someone in W's position would have been only a few days of practice a year. He would have spent much of that time alone in either a flight simulator or a cockpit. If he was competent, sober, and followed instructions, it's unlikely anyone would remember him.

Of course, if the unit commander _had_ received an order from the Pentagon to ignore any derelictions of a certain GW Bush, that would certainly have been remembered!

Posted by: markm on May 17, 2003 09:31 PM