May 5, 2004
President Bush's and Vice President Cheney's Credibility in Attacking Kerry's Vietnam Record
BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
In the ongoing attacks by the President's aides and the Vice President on Senator Kerry's Vietnam service and his antiwar protests, what is of concern to me as a veteran is the issue of credibility. I say this because the two highest officials in our government have sent thousands of young men and women to risk their lives and limbs in an unnecessary and illegal war; at least 736 Americans have died and thousands have been wounded in Iraq! On that basis alone it is imperative that the President and Vice President should be held accountable for their past conduct.
In this ongoing debate we have a man on one side who served his country voluntarily and with valor in Vietnam. On the other we have the two highest government officials in our government, the leaders of our nation, who are attacking his honor, integrity, and patriotism. And a matter of key importance in these attacks is that the President is a deserter in fact and the Vice President is a confirmed draft dodger (he received some 5 deferments during the Vietnam conflict).
As has been amply documented, it is a fact that there is no record of our Commander-in-Chief having reported for duty for a year or more during his time of service (1972-73) as a commissioned officer in the Texas and Alabama National Guards. And according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Subchapter X, Section 877, Article 86 (Absence Without Leave), "Any member of the armed forces who, without authority -- (1) fails to go to his appointed place of duty at the time prescribed; [and] (3) absents himself or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty at which he is required to be at the time prescribed, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."
And pursuant to Article 85 (Desertion) "(a) Any member of the armed forces who -- (1) without authority goes or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to remain away therefrom permanently;...[and]...(2) quits his unit, organization, or place of duty, with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service; or (3) without being regularly separated...from the armed forces...[and]...without fully disclosing the fact that he has not been regularly separated,...except when authorized by the United States; is guilty of desertion." And "(b) Any commissioned officer...who,...quits his post of proper duties without leave and with intent to remain away therefrom permanently is guilty of desertion... [and]...(c) Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct,...."
By all indications from all the information he has made available and that others have revealed, George W. Bush did fail to report to his post and to serve at his appointed place of duty at the time prescribed for an unusually long period of time and he did thereby fail to honor his military obligations.
Of critical importance is that had Bush been charged for his long absence it would have been for desertion during a time of war, during the Vietnam War. Most likely he was not charged because the Texas National Guard is, by all indications, a highly political organization and his father was a prominent Texas politician who, as the information available also shows, had played some role getting his son into the Texas National Guard -- during a time of war.
President Bush thus dishonored his solemn oath to serve and protect our country in accordance with the US Constitution, indeed he also disgraced our US military uniform. President Bush must therefore answer to the American people for his conduct, but most importantly to all those who have served our country honorably and most specially those who are now sacrificing and putting their lives at risk in his illegal and unnecessary war!
To the best of my knowledge, no other politician or political leader in our country has ever had such a disgraceful military record!
Finally, these considerations, it seems to me, go the heart of the credibility and the integrity of those who are leading and encouraging the attacks upon the character and patriotism of John F. Kerry.
I spent my 18th year in the Korean War, as so many of my compatriots from our villages and pueblos in New Mexico have fought and died in wars for our country. And my family sacrificed three sons during the Vietnam War, a war also based on lies and deceptions!
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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