AWOL story won't go away: I'm having a hard time keeping track of the Bush-AWOL-National Guard story. First I heard his payroll records showed George W. Bush had a credit of nine days of work between May of '72 and May of '73, then it switched to six days. Hmm. Either way, doesn't the advertisement about the Guard specifically reference one weekend a month and two weeks a year--i.e. 36 days?

To try to make sense of it all, start with TalkLeft's excellent summary. But pay attention, the plot keeps thickening--and getting deeper. As Josh Marshall reports, the White House is reneging on Bush's promise on Meet the Press to release all service records, insisting instead that Bush promised to release only payroll records. Oh. Right. (Sounds a little like the difference between "weapons of mass destruction" and "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.")

I admit, it's a hard story to follow, especially since, as the Star Tribune editorializes, so many people reporting on the story "couldn't tell you the difference between a DD214 [military form] and an Article 15." But as Strib letterwriter Al Raney suggests, there's a paperwork-free way to vouch for the prez: ask his war buddies. "I spent three years in the U.S. Army about 50 years ago... If I were unable to locate my service records, I would contact one of the dozen (or more) Army buddies whose names I still remember. Guess what? Most of them are still alive! If I contacted them, they would "swear to" my military service -- both time and location."

Media no longer AWOL? And from Cursor, an admission by the White House that they were "taken aback" by the intensity of reporters' questions on the subject. (About time the Washington press corps shows a little teeth, eh?)

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