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View Diary: Aeron. order (AO) 87 - The press won't show it [FOIA] . (118 comments)

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  •  Why the press.... (4.00)
    Listen, the press knew all about these documents.  In fact, I got my copies from the USA Today website, which made available everything that was released by the White House last February.

    There are two reasons why these documents go so little attention.  The first is that they were, in fact, were old news.  As someone else has noted, Marty Heldt made them available back in 2000 on his website.  And Walter Robinson and the Boston Globe did a pretty thorough examination of Bush's records in 2000 as well.

    But more critically, the White House turned the whole thing into a game of "he said/she said", claiming that it was acceptable for Bush to lose his flight status (it wasn't---his job title was F-102 pilot, and that job required that he maintain his flight status), and that Bush was required to only get 50 points per retirement year (a complete lie.)   But because no one could prove that the White House was lying, because no one actually knew what the laws and policies were in the early 1970's, the press let Bush get away with it.

    That is why I started The AWOL Project---to examine the Bush records within the context of the contemporaneous statutory laws, DoD regulations, and Air Force policies and procedures.  

    CBS was well aware of my work, and knew that I had proven that "Bush was AWOL."  The problem was that the "proof" made lousy television---it requires an understanding of lots of jargon and somewhat opaque policies and regulations.   (After the whole Killian memos fiasco, a number of print media outlets did stories that were based on my findings (even though I wasn't cited---I refused to be quoted on the record because I wanted the facts to be the focus, not the messenger---the people they were quoting were people that were using my research as the foundation for their claims), and pretty much flat out acknowledged that Bush was, in fact, AWOL.  

    But those stories (in places like the LA Times, US News, and the Boston Globe) were not picked up by the mainstream media because the "Killian memo" fiasco made the whole subject radioactive.

    In other words, there really is nothing new in what Joan has reported.  The wingnut response will be "he was allowed to let his flight status lapse" and "the air force had more pilots than they needed", blah blah blah....

    The second statement, btw, is completely untrue in terms of F102 pilots.  By the end of 1970, there was only one regular Air Force unit (in Iceland) flying the F102.   All of the Air Force's F102 pilots would either have left the service (often for Air National Guard positions) or retrained for other aircraft/jobs well before Bush allowed his flight status to lapse in August 1972---in other words, there was absolutely no surplus of trained F102 pilots at the time that Bush blew off his obligations.

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