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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Bush's Service Record as a Campaign Issue

September 16, 2004

The Sept. 15 editorial, "Paper War on Bush Record," is right on the mark. Of course, President Bush had the advantage of family influence to get into the Guard in the first place. What isn't clear is why Bush's National Guard service is an issue when Bill Clinton dodged the Vietnam War draft like thousands of other young men and that was never a campaign issue. As a Vietnam veteran myself, I say the whole discussion of Vietnam is simply absurd. I propose that any candidate who mentions the words "Vietnam" or "Vietnam War" should be disqualified from any consideration for public office. The American people should demand to know the candidates' clear and definitive positions on the important issues -- like Iraq, Medicare, health costs and outsourcing of jobs.

Wayne Corey

Laguna Niguel

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Let's keep this in perspective. Dan Rather may have unwittingly been the victim of forged documents in reporting on Bush's National Guard duty. But no one is disputing former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes' admission that he pulled strings to get the "fortunate son" of then-Rep. George H.W. Bush (R-Texas) into the Guard, leaving the less fortunate sons of ordinary mortals to serve, and die, in Vietnam.

And no one has yet been able to account for the months of Guard duty the younger Bush failed to show up for while working in Alabama on the Senate campaign of one of his father's cronies, Winton "Red" Blount.

Harold N. Bass

Northridge

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