Open Wide

February 2004
New Republic;2/23/2004, Vol. 230 Issue 6, p7
In his recent sit-down with Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet The Press," President Bush aimed to set the record straight about Democrats' criticism of his Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard. "I wouldn't denigrate service to the Guard," the president shot back, "because there are a lot of really fine people who served in the National Guard and who are serving in the National Guard today in Iraq." Absolutely true. Also, absolutely irrelevant. The current controversy is not about whether "a lot of really fine people" fulfilled their Guard duties proudly and patriotically. It is about whether George W. Bush was one of them. The confusion surrounding Bush's service exists for one reason: He has refused to publicly release his full military records. Russert pressed him on exactly this question, asking, "But you authorize release of everything to settle this?" The president replied, "Yeah, absolutely." But, over the next few days, the White House quickly retreated from that position. The records released by the White House provide few answers.


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