I was talking with some people last night, while working, and the Bush AWOL story came up. We tossed it about some, and what I ended up realizing is this:
It doesn’t really matter, strictly speaking, whether Bush joined the National Guard, or the Air Force–that is, the quantity of his service.
What matters is the quality of his service.
And on that score, the more you learn about Bush’s time in the Guard, the worse he looks. One of the most crucial things for any military leader, whether he’s a squad leader or the Commander in Chief, is his willingness to endure the same hardships that his men suffer.
As Phil Carter says, that’s why we let our soldiers eat before us, that’s why make sure they’re taken care of before we care for ourselves, and (most importantly) why we never ask them to do something we would never do ourselves.
Apparently, Bush doesn’t have any qualms in that regard, despite missing several drills, and going so far as to arrange for an early exit from the service in order to attend Harvard Business School.
This last is especially egregious, since it’s his Administration that has engaged in the moral equivalent of the draft, by involuntarily extending the service of tens of thousands of servicemen far beyond their expiration.
Bush would do well to remember that, for veterans, you don’t lead by words; you lead by example.