Are we asking the right questions about Bush's National Guard Service?

In an article by AP, Robert Strong, the administrative officer in charge of air operations at Guard state headquarters from early 1971 until March 1972, says no we are not asking the right questions.

"I think the public ought to be concerned about his preferential treatment getting in and whether he satisfied his commitment to the Air Guard. Those are the two fundamental questions," said Robert Strong.

“Documents publicized last week by the CBS program "60 Minutes" have been called into question by some experts and relatives of the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who supposedly wrote them when he was one of Bush's commanders in 1972 and 1973. The memos indicated that Killian had been pressured to sugarcoat Bush's performance and that the future president had ignored an order to take a physical”.

Killian's surviving children have challenged the documents that have recently surfaced, and they are disclaiming any negative comments that were attributed to Killian about Bush in the latest round of who done it with regard to Bush service.

Killian's former secretary, Marian Carr Knox, 86, of Houston has said their [the documents] content accurately reflected Killian's opinions.

Strong counters by saying “he and Knox worked closely with Killian and are in better position to know about his work habits and feelings about Bush than Killian's five children, who were between the ages of two and 19 in 1972. Strong said Killian's records would have been removed from his Guard office before his family would have been allowed to retrieve his personal items after he died in 1984.

The allegation is that Bush’s records had been altered to sugar coat them – a polite way of saying leave out the bad stuff. "Why aren't we focusing on the content?" Strong said, adding that he believes there are holes in Bush's official Guard record.

Bill Burkett, a retired National Guard officer, told AP about a conversation he overheard in 1997 between then-Gov. Bush's chief of staff, Joe Allbaugh, and then-Adjutant Gen. Daniel James of the Texas Air National Guard. Reportedly the two men spoke about getting rid of any military records that would "embarrass the governor."

Burkett is quoted as saying he saw documents from Bush's file discarded in a trash can a few days later at Camp Mabry in Austin. Burkett described them as performance and pay documents.

The questions surrounding Bush's preferential treatment, the missed flight physical, the missed mandatory readiness exercise, and the missing 5 months have never been answered. Members of the Alabama Guard unit which Bush said he reported to still maintain they never saw Bush.

Michael Berglin

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Author`s name Andrey Mikhailov