... To me, the most overlooked and most important new detail in these memos comes next. Killian writes, "I advised him of our investment in him and his commitment." It's often forgotten that even if Bush had gone off to Alabama and served honorably by showing up for all his drills, he was still walking out on a sworn commitment he made to the Guard. The government spent a vast sum of money training Bush to become a Texas Air National Guard pilot, a highly coveted position in 1968 that saved Bush from Vietnam, and in return Bush promised he would fly for the Guard for as long as possible...
That's what Killian meant when he advised Bush of "our investment and his commitment." But Killian, the memos show, starts to realize that his moral suasion is useless. Bush has already started maneuvering around him and Killian knows he's getting rolled. "I told him I had to have written acceptance before he would be transferred," he writes, "but think he's also talking to someone upstairs."
In the next memo Bush is "suspended from flight status due to failure to perform to USAF/TexANG standards and failure to meet annual physical examination (flight) as ordered." This is the first time any official document has reported that Bush was suspended for any reason other than simply missing his physical. It's also clear in this memo that Bush has completely abandoned the idea of ever flying again. "Officer has made no attempt to meet his training certification or flight physical," the memo says. Bush even asked for a non-flying assignment. Incredibly, Killian recommends that the Texas spot abandoned by Bush--the one that with Barnes's help Bush had won by leapfrogging ahead of hundreds of other applicants--be filled by a pilot returning from combat in Vietnam. Not only did someone else get shipped off to Vietnam when Bush landed his Guard duty, but once Bush was bored with flying and abandoned his spot, a pilot returning from Vietnam was forced to replace him.
In the final Killian memo, the one with the subject line "CYA" (cover your ass), the commander makes cryptic references to a struggle with his superiors over how much slack to cut Bush, who hadn't been observed in Texas for a year. "Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush. I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job," Killian writes. According to the Associated Press, Staudt and Hodges are Waleter B. Staudt, the commander of the Texas National Guard at the time, and Lieutenant Cololnel Bobby Hodges, one of Bush's superiors. Staudt, Killian wrote, was "pushing to sugar coat" the evaluation. Killian complains that Bush wasn't around and there's no word from Alabama about what he's been doing. He makes a small concession to the pressure he's feeling from his bosses but refuses a full cover up for Bush. "I'll backdate," he writes, "but won't rate."
Younger Bush was a spolied rich brat with a serious alcohol problem -- and perhaps other substance problems. Young Clinton looks great next to young Bush. Young Gore looks fantastic next to young Bush. Young Kerry ... well, there's no comparison.
How does this connect to Bush today? He's flat out lied, many times, about his service. That's not something to brush off. Clinton lied like any adept politician -- he wriggled and wiggled and looked evasive. Bush lies like a true psychopath -- perfectly and without the slightest hint of guilt.