Honorable Discharge

HONORABLE DISCHARGE….George Bush says that all the fuss over his National Guard records is ridiculous. After all, he got an honorable discharge and that means he must have showed up for all his drills and fulfilled all his obligations.

Is this true? Richard Cohen joined the National Guard to avoid the Vietnam draft and he’s not buying:

I did my basic and advanced training (combat engineer) and returned to my unit. I was supposed to attend weekly drills and summer camp, but I found them inconvenient. I “moved” to California and then “moved” back to New York, establishing a confusing paper trail that led, really, nowhere. For two years or so, I played a perfectly legal form of hooky. To show you what a mess the Guard was at the time, I even got paid for all the meetings I missed.

In the end, I wound up in the Army Reserve. I was assigned to units for which I had no training — tank repairman, for instance. In some units, we sat around with nothing to do and in one we took turns delivering antiwar lectures. The National Guard and the Reserves were something of a joke. Everyone knew it. Books have been written about it. Maybe things changed dramatically by 1972, two years after I got my discharge, but I kind of doubt it.

Read the whole column.