I asked Phoblog Special Military Analyst JW (a uniformed military officer whose name I will protect since he has a job to do and rules to follow - but be assured, Phoblog knows her sources and only accepts the best) for some commentary on the controversy underlying the memos. The substantive questions they raise: how much insubordination or how much "input" is put up with by superior officers? What about disobeying orders, chains of command, etc.
This is what our Special Analyst had to say:
I'll probably get "whacked" for this, so if I show up dead somewhere and the military hides the true reason of death as either MIA or KIA, don't believe it, it is because I am speaking out about Bush and how he is a horrible Commander in Chief.
Probably the most absurd thing about all of this "controversy" is when his press guy looks into the camera and says that Bush must have done the right thing, after all he did get an "honorable discharge." Every time he says this, I find myself dying of laughter. Let me tell you civilians something, (and this is what I might show up as MIA for) everyone gets an honorable discharge. People that get kicked out for disobeying orders, for being continually overweight, for failing drug tests, etc. etc. etc. all end up getting honorable discharges. The kids that took pictures of themselves next to naked Iraqis are the only people I have ever heard of to get dishonorable discharges. And even they are going through a huge trial where the level of discharge is one of the things in question. So the next time that press dude looks in the camera and says, "Bush got an honorable discharge, so therefore he must have been at duty," start laughing.
As far as everything else goes, like his status for duty, and his requests to not show up, I find that all to be pretty ridiculous as well. I'm sure the National Guard is different than the real army, but do feel for the LTC and his situation. He was trying to get a super protected son to come to work and that son did not want to. The amount of paperwork hassle and time it takes to get one soldiers out of the army for something like that takes literally forever. I came in on the tail end of processing a soldier out when I first got here. That soldier basically didn't want to come to work and she didn't care what happened to her. It took a solid year and half to get her out. She still got paid during that time, she still lived in the Army quarters, and she still received all the health care and other benefits during that time. And guess what folks, once that year and a half ended and the Army finally kicked her out, what kind of discharge do you think she got?
Are you laughing. I am.
It is said that as a leader in the army, your time will be split in three ways.
10% of your time dealing with 90% of your average everyday soldiers.
10% of your time with about the 5% that excel and do great things.
And then 80% of your time is spent dealing with the slim 5% of soldiers that mess up and do what they are not supposed to be doing.
To me, it looks like Bush was part of the bottom 5% that his LTC was spending 90% of his time on. The LTC probably didn't what to spend anymore time messing around with Bush, so he just passed him over for awhile and then ended up pawning him off on someone else to deal with.
I don't know if this is what you were looking for, from my experience in the Army, this is how I have interpreted this "controversy".
Let me know if I can be any more of a help. And if I show up unaccounted for in the next week or so, just say that I was a nice guy who searched for the truth in life.
We will, JW. We're on the same search.