President Bush claims that in the fall of 1972, he fulfilled his Air National Guard duties at a base in Alabama. But Bob Mintz was there - and he is sure Mr. Bush wasn't.
Plenty of other officers have said they also don't recall that Mr. Bush ever showed up for drills at the base. What's different about Mr. Mintz is that he remembers actively looking for Mr. Bush and never finding him.
Mr. Mintz says he had heard that Mr. Bush - described as a young Texas pilot with political influence - had transferred to the base. He heard that Mr. Bush was also a bachelor, so he was looking forward to partying together. He's confident that he'd remember if Mr. Bush had shown up.
I've steered clear until now of how Mr. Bush evaded service in Vietnam because I thought other issues were more important. But if Bush supporters attack John Kerry for his conduct after he volunteered for dangerous duty in Vietnam, it's only fair to scrutinize Mr. Bush's behavior...
..."The record clearly and convincingly proves he did not fulfill the obligations he incurred when he enlisted in the Air National Guard," writes Gerald Lechliter, a retired Army colonel who has made the most meticulous examination I've seen of Mr. Bush's records (I've posted the full 32-page analysis here). Mr. Lechliter adds that Mr. Bush received unauthorized or fraudulent payments that breached National Guard rules, according to the documents that the White House itself released.
Does this disqualify Mr. Bush from being commander in chief? No. But it should disqualify the Bush campaign from sliming the military service of a rival who still carries shrapnel from Vietnam in his thigh.
So Bush will learn the risk of fighting dirty. It opens the field to serious responses. This will come up in the debates.
Bush is a very good liar. He's a better liar than Clinton, who always came across as phony when he was lying. Bush comes across as genuine and open. Now that's a good liar.