Тем временем, два читателя дают разъяснения по поводу того, как в молодые годы Буш откосил (фактически) от Вьетнама. Да, при таком-то отце...Даже Ал Гор, и тот во Вьетнаме отработал, хотя бы военным корреспонденом.
A Refuge for the Privileged
Monday, February 9, 2004; Page A20
The earnest, fresh-faced spokesmen for the White House expressed shock at the view that the National Guard was ever made up of draft dodgers ["Bush's Military Record Defended," news story, Feb. 4].
However, any man who was of draft age during the Cold War, and particularly during Vietnam, knows that the Guard was a refuge from the rice paddies for the well-connected.
As the Web site for the 49th Armored Division (Texas National Guard) delicately puts it: "Following World War II, the draft motivated enlistments through 1972; young men joined the guard to avoid interruption of their daily life for active duty."
The waiting list was measured in years. To bypass the waiting list, not only in Texas but in almost every Guard unit in the country, required "pull." George W. Bush's Air National Guard unit included the sons of Democratic Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, Republican Sen. John Tower and several Dallas Cowboys.
During the Vietnam War, no Texas Air Guard unit was mobilized, and only 124 members of the Army Guard were called up.
My, how things have changed. Today's Guard is thoroughly integrated with the regular Army and Air Force. But it was not that way in 1968.
DAVID R. COX
As a former naval officer who served on active duty and in the reserves, I would like to offer a possible explanation for the confusion about George W. Bush's military records ["Bush's Guard Service in Question; Democrats Say President Shirked His Duty in 1972," news story, Feb. 3].
From my first day on active duty as a medical officer, I was made aware of "congressional interest" cases. Any patient, regardless of rank, whose member of Congress had expressed an interest was given kid-glove, priority treatment. When I expressed my disgust about this, I was reprimanded and told to follow along.
Then, after five years on active duty, including service in the Gulf War, I joined the reserves.
A reserve officer accounts for his or her own time. It is the responsibility of each officer to fulfill his or her duty.
Perhaps Mr. Bush took advantage of this lax reporting system and chose not to report for duty in Alabama for seven months. Plus his father had been a member of Congress.
His senior officers merely inserted in his fitness report that Mr. Bush had not been "observed" for many months. Had any other officer been not "observed" for so long, a court-martial might have been the result.