There is bad news for the Bush family as a new movie starring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford will detail President George W. Bush’s going AWOL for seven months from active duty as a pilot in the National Guard. The movie, called “Truth” will be based around the “60 Minutes II” report about the former president’s mysterious war record, that aired in September 2004. After the broadcast came out, Dan Rather lost his career with CBS—which gives a clue into how seriously this particular story was. The September 2004 story gained major traction and was also covered by both the Boston Globe and Nichloas Kristoff, who interviewed guards stationed with Bush. However this was seven months after the initial story broke, in Febrauary 2004, in “The Memphis Flyer”. Mainstream media waited over half a year to inform the public about George W. Bush’s dishonorable past.
The original story, published by Jackson Baker, includes an in-depth account of W. Bush’s notable absence from the Dannelly National Air Guard Base in Montgomery, Alabama from 1972-1973. Baker conducted interviews with Bush’s colleagues who had heard that someone from a political family was slated to join their crew, and were excited about meeting him. However, they soon realized he was nowhere to be found.
“There’s no way I wouldn’t have noticed a strange rooster in the henhouse, especially since we were looking for him,” insists Mintz, a reserve first lieutenant at the Dannelly base, when Bush was supposed to be stationed there. Mintz is not the only one who did not recall Bush. As he explains, as a pilot W. Bush would have needed help from a number of people to take flight. “If he did any flying at all, on whatever kind of craft, that would have involved a great number of supportive personnel. It takes a lot of people to get a plane into the air. But nobody I can think of remembers him,” he added.
Another lieutenant at the base was Bishop, who reinforced Mintz’s statement with the simple, “I never saw hide nor hair of Mr. Bush.” The only person who seemingly remembered Bush on duty during the time was John “Bill” Calhoun, a businessman from Atlanta. Calhoun came forward, saying he remembers Bush as a “quiet man” who would, “spend his time reading safety manuals in the 187th’s safety office.”
This does not sound like the George W. Bush of the early aughts who was constantly cracking jokes and preceded by his former reputation of being a party-er. Mintz backs this up, “He’d have spent some time with us. Unless he was trying to avoid publicity. But he wasn’t well known at all then. It all seems a bit unusual.”
Indeed, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to infer that George W. Bush lied about his service in Alabama. He was clearly not where he was supposed to be. The mystery surrounding the former president’s service record is a central theme of the movie, “Truth”, which will also focus on the politics of privilege as well as the relationship with journalism in concealing large government lies—in this case, through the situation of Dan Rather. It is strange that the story took seven months to reach the public; maybe the extent of cover-up was greater than we know.
Unfortunately for the Bush dynasty, the movie is coming out at a time when yet another Bush is running for office — although Jeb Bush does not seem to stand a chance because the Bush name carries too much baggage. American citizens are finally well aware that “Bush”—any Bush—is synonymous with lies, empty rhetoric and corruption scandals.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.