Saturday, February 14, 2004

The Credibility Gap Continues

So Bush has released what is claimed to be all of his Guard records, which for some reason
...left unanswered questions about what duties Mr. Bush – trained as a fighter pilot – performed in late 1972 and early 1973, and why he failed to take a flight physical, which resulted in his suspension from flying.
The Washington Post also noticed Many Gaps In Bush's Guard Records
The records show Bush was an eager fighter pilot who said he wanted to spend a lifetime in aviation. But they provide no evidence that he did any military service in Alabama, to which he had requested a transfer in May 1972 to work on a Senate campaign that ended in November 1972.
I am reminded of certain defendants during discovery who, knowing that they have something to hide, refuse to cooperate with discovery requests. Documents are painfully teased out of them through repeated "motions to compel" and court orders, but somehow never quite fit the request. When the defendand simply cannot avoid dislcosure any longer, perhaps at risk of default, the plaintiff receives a truck full of documents with the relevant page ostensibly hidden somewhere inside. (If you can't withhold it, maybe you can bury it.)

In the Gene Hackman movie Class Action, which is a highly fictionalized account of the Ford Pinto litigation, the defendant went a step further - they sent over the truckload of records, ostensibly "everything they had", but didn't include the "smoking gun" document. Of course, in that movie the plaintiff's lawyers suspected a "smoking gun" but couldn't prove it existed. Here, pretty much everybody knows that records of Bush's service exist somewhere, and pretty much everybody suspects that Bush knows exactly where they are - but that he is intentionally withholding records he thinks will be damaging. Otherwise, why wouldn't he have disclosed the records a long time ago? Why would he be dribbling them out, at first page-by-page and now in torrents, instead of simply offering an open file?

I think he should have put the issue to rest with the type of statement I suggested yesterday. But no, the President who ran on the platform, "I trust you", doesn't trust us enough to take responsibility for his actions.


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