27 August 2004

Bush and the National Guard

Josh Marshall has a link on his blog (Talking Points Memo) to a tape (said to be from a recent Kerry rally) of Ben Barnes, the former Speaker of the House in Texas, saying the following (click here to see the video):

"Let’s talk a minute about John Kerry and George Bush and I know them both. And I’m not name dropping to say I know ‘em both. I got a young man named George W. Bush in the National Guard when I was Lt. Gov. of Texas and I’m not necessarily proud of that. But I did it. And I got a lot of other people into the National Guard because I thought that was what people should do, when you're in office you helped a lot of rich people. And I walked through the Vietnam Memorial the other day and I looked at the names of the people that died in Vietnam and I became more ashamed of myself than I have ever been because it was the worst thing that I did was that I helped a lot of wealthy supporters and a lot of people who had family names of importance get into the National Guard and I’m very sorry about that and I’m very ashamed and I apologize to you as voters of Texas."

Josh Marshal comments:

Now, I don't know what Ben Barnes looks like. And I do not independently know the provenance of the tape. But I've spoken to two sources who know Barnes. And they tell me that that is Barnes on the tape.

One of those two men is Jim Moore -- co-author of Bush's Brain. Moore told me this afternoon that the clip is from June 8th of this year, at a Kerry rally in Austin. Moore assures me that the tape is legitimate.

I placed a call to Barnes' office and left a message with one of his assistants; but the request for comment has not yet been returned.

Ben Barnes

An LA Weekly News reporter summed up his own article on Bush's National Guard experience with the following:

So this is what we’re supposed to swallow:

A close friend of the Bush family took it upon himself to get G.W. Bush a billet in the Air National Guard. A Democratic House Speaker who had nothing to gain from helping a two-term Republican from Houston did so because it was the right thing to do — while he was, in the Wild West of campaign finance, raising money to run for statewide office. And the younger Bush, after scoring the absolute minimum on his flight test, was moved to the top of the recruiter’s list by Guard officers who recognized his potential as a flyer. If you buy that, then you’ll buy my Enron stock.

The Barnes story and other detailed evidence on Bush's Guard duty can be found at Radio Inside Scoop. Mother Jones offers a nice timeline in one of their issues, while the Veterans for Peace have a number of documents about Bush's period as a deserter.
There is also an April Salon article on Bush's NG service. Those trying to untangle the mountain of evidence against Shrub might look at the nice table provided by Ugga Bugga.

Other sources on this issue include Intervention Magazine, Op-ed News, a 1999 Washington Post article, Thomas McCom, Brad de Long's journal, Daily Times (Pakistan), Buzz Flash, and the Reader Weekly.

P.S. According to Daily Kos and Salon, Barnes is slated to appear on 60 minutes!

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