By Phil Vargas, Korean War veteran
I know, I know, it's all been said before. But maybe it hasn't. And it may be worthwhile to revisit our President's military record in view of the deaths and maiming of thousands of Americans and the billions we have paid and are paying for his war in Iraq.
It is nearly two and a half years since our military invaded and occupied a country that did not present a threat to us or its neighbors. That has been confirmed time and time again. And in view of the fact that 1,858 Americans have died, 13,877 Americans have been maimed, and 26,705 Iraqis reported killed - and still counting! (22 US soldiers were killed this week, August 11-17, 2005) -- in Bush's dishonorable, ignoble, illegal (in clear violation of the US Constitution and international law), unnecessary, and extremely costly war in Iraq, it is indeed very appropriate to reconsider the following important aspects of our President's military record. But it is of special importance that we take another look at our President's military record because of his having deceived us and the entire world into that war, and that includes the supporting lies of our highest US government officials, viz., Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzalez, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, amongst others, who led us into a horrendous international relations blunder which has disgraced our good country and made it the most hated country in the world and us Americans - you and I -- the most hated people in the world!
In 1972, Lt. George W. Bush, a commissioned officer in the Texas National Guard, requested a transfer to a unit in the Alabama National Guard. Thereafter "...no one could officially account for [his whereabouts] for a whole year, from May 1, 1972 through April 30th, 1973." (Paul Lukasiak, "Deserter: The Story of George W. Bush After He Quit the Texas Air National Guard," at: http://www.glcq.com/bush_at_arpc1.htm 
For that entire year there is no record of Bush having reported for duty - DURING A TIME OF WAR! "The only record tying Bush to the Alabama Air National Guard's 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group is a dental exam at the group's Montgomery base in January 1973." (Bush's National Guard File Missing Records," Associated Press, September 05, 2004.)
In his conclusion to a chapter titled: "Bush, the Air National Guard and the Air Force, the Records of a Deserter," Mr. Lukasiak wrote:
"When you compare the Bush records to the United States Statutes, Department of Defense Regulations, and Air Force policies of the 1970's, only one conclusion can be reached: that 30 years ago, George W. Bush shirked his sworn duty as a member of the United States Armed Forces to the national security of the United States of America. However, Bush's DESERTION from the Armed Forces thirty years ago is not terribly relevant. Lots of people make mistakes in their early twenties, and those mistakes do not necessarily reflect on the character of individuals when they are in their fifties. What are relevant are Bush's continued lies about his service, and his insistence upon presenting his service in the United States military as 'honorable'. It was not. Bush simply blew off his last two years of required service, and was able to get away with it because he came from a politically prominent family. There is no other explanation for Bush's records. None!" (P. Lukasiak, DESERTER, at pp. 16-17.) (My emphasis.)
In his exhaustive examination of Bush's military records and the applicable regulations, Mr. Lukasiak reached a "single conclusion: George W. Bush was considered A DESERTER BY THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE." (My emphasis.)
Of critical importance is that whatever Lt. Bush did at that time was during a time of war, the Vietnam War. Accordingly the United States Uniform Code of Military Justice (USCMJ, 1972) applies to his conduct and actions and it holds as follows:
"Subchapter X, Section 886, 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; [or] (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.
"Subchapter X, Section 885, Article 85. DESERTION: 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 there from 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 there from 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..." (My emphasis.)
Had the applicable military laws and regulations been applied, as required, in the case of Lt. Bush, as they should have been, and had he been charged for his long absence, he would have been charged for DESERTION, for it was DURING A TIME OF WAR! (My emphasis.)
As shown above, pursuant to the USCMJ, desertion during at time of war is a capital offense and may be "punishable by death" if the violation occurred during a time of war, as was the case in Lt. Bush's situation. In which case the statute of limitations may still be in effect and President Bush's violations are still open and he may still be liable to be charged accordingly.
The fact remains, however, that George W. Bush is, pursuant to the above applicable military laws and regulations, a deserter in fact in that he was absent without leave and without proper authorization for lengthy periods of time. Bush is, by that very fact, a deserter from the Armed Forces of the United States.
From all the information that is in the public domain, Lt. George W. Bush did fail to report to his post at the appointed time, and he did fail to serve at his appointed place of duty and at the time prescribed for quite a long period of time, DURING A TIME OF WAR! He thereby did dishonor his military obligations and his solemn oath "to preserve, protect, and defend the United States Constitution and our country during a time of war and against all enemies."
As the evidence shows, in the case of Lt. Bush the controlling military laws and regulations were deliberately ignored by his superiors. From the evidence available it is amply clear that his privileged status has indeed been a powerful means for his circumventing laws and avoiding hazardous military service. Bush, without question has been the recipient of favored treatment throughout his life, first getting into the Texas National Guard to avoid serving in Vietnam, and most egregiously when his gross transgressions and violations of military laws were patently and deliberately ignored by Bush and his superiors.
And of great importance at this time when our country has invaded and occupied another country and when American soldiers and marines and airmen are dying there daily, President Bush must be held accountable for his past conduct on the basis that he has sent thousands of young men and women to risk their lives and limbs in an illegal, unnecessary, and extremely costly war. And it is far from over! On that basis alone -- plus the fact that he is our commander-in-chief -- it is imperative that President Bush be held accountable for his past conduct to the American people and most specially to all those who have served honorably and have sacrificed so much for our country based on Bush's deceptions and lies!
Furthermore, there is evidence in the public domain that President Bush had wanted to invade Iraq as early as 1999, when he was still the Governor of Texas and was contemplating a run for the US presidency, because he wanted to be a strong war leader, a strong commander-in-chief. Hence, in interviews conducted with a journalist and biographer of the Bush family who was working with Bush on "a ghostwritten memoir said that an Iraq war was always on Bush's brain. 'He was thinking about invading Iraq,' said author and Houston Chronicle journalist Mickey Herskowitz. It was on his mind. He said, 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief. And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He went on, 'If I have a chance to invade, ... if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency.'" (Russ Baker, "Why George Went To War," TomPaine.common sense (Tompaine.com), June 20, 2005.)
According to Mr. Baker: "Bush apparently accepted a view that Herskowitz...,says was a common sentiment that no president could be considered truly successful without one military 'win' under his belt. ... Herskowitz's revelations illuminate Bush's personal motivation for invading Iraq and, more importantly, his general inclination to use war to advance his domestic political ends."
All this has now been backed up by the Downing Street Memorandums which some brave UK public servant released to The London Times. These "Top Secret" documents make clear that a great deception has been perpetrated by the leaders of our respective countries of the US and the UK. Thus, our invasion of Iraq was based on outright lies and to aggrandize his power and enhance the political ambitions of George W. Bush, not to bring democracy to the people of Iraq! Or any other reason he has invented to cover his you know what. What could be more criminal? I know, lying about having sex with an intern.
Finally, for the record, my family sacrificed three sons during the Vietnam War and I spent my 18th year in the Korean War, following my compatriots from the villages and pueblos in New Mexico who have fought and died in many battlefields for our great nation. A relative, Joe Martinez, a native of Taos, New Mexico, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II.