The Corner

The Real Problem

An email:

Ramesh, you know the problem with the Bush AWOL story is not Bush’s

completion of his service. That part of the story may have been

successfully debunked. The problem for Bush is the overall meta comparison

of Bush with Kerry. One graduated from Yale and volunteered for combat

duty, despite his privelidged background. He served and was wounded three

times, returning with bronze and silver stars for heroism. The other Yale

graduate, faced with the same choices, jumped the line to get into a coveted

Texas Guard unit that was highly unlikely to be called up. He then

requested a transfer to another unit so that he could work on a political

campaign, and completed his service later, at a more personally convenient

time. None of these basic facts seems in doubt.

The question isn’t going to be about whether all the T’s were crossed and

all the I’s were dotted in the service records. The question is going to

be: who had [more guts]? In the larger meta narrative, Bush could be the

loser here, and it would seem to me that the White House ought to change the

subject quickly.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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