superscripts not withstanding...
The guy was AWOL. This from USNews&WorldReport:
The U.S. News analysis also showed that during the final two years of his obligation, Bush did not comply with Air Force regulations that impose a time limit on making up missed drills. What's more, he apparently never made up five months of drills he missed in 1972, contrary to assertions by the administration. White House officials did not respond to the analysis last week but emphasized that Bush had "served honorably."
Some experts say they remain mystified as to how Bush obtained an honorable discharge. Lawrence Korb, a former top Defense Department official in the Reagan administration, says the military records clearly show that Bush "had not fulfilled his obligation" and "should have been called to active duty."
The Houston Chronicle examines the Bush flight-logs, which shows that after soloing in fighters for several years, Bush went back to co-piloted trainers and in his last flights, had trouble landing:
The logs indicate Bush did half of his final 21 flights in a training jet or simulator, and on four occasions he sat in the co-pilot's position after more than a year of commanding a single-seat F-102A fighter by himself.
The logs also show the future president was heavily focused at the end of his pilot time on flying by instruments - a skill he mastered during his initial training three years earlier with near-perfect scores of 97 and 98.
The logs also show that Bush, who throughout his career usually landed his jet with a single pass, required two passes to land the F-102A fighter simulator March 12 and a regular fighter jet April 10, 1972. His last flight as an Air National Guard pilot came six days later .
Lots of reasons OTHER than drug-use or alcohol-pickled reflexes why a guy might be having trouble with things that were easy for him earlier; a close call that shook his nerve, for instance. Still, in light of Bush's increasing difficulty with the English language (it's been pointed out that in his debates against Anne Richards he was almost articulate), some sort of degenerative impairment has to be considered.
James Fallows's description of John Kerry's debating skills ("When George Meets John," July/August Atlantic) was interesting, but what was most remarkable was Fallows's documentation of President Bush's mostly overlooked changes over the past decade-specifically, "the striking decline in his sentence-by-sentence speaking skills." Fallows points to "speculations that there must be some organic basis for the President's peculiar mode of speech-a learning disability, a reading problem, dyslexia or some other disorder," but correctly oncludes, "The main problem with these theories is that through his forties Bush was perfectly articulate."
Read the rest here; the comments are well worth a slog-thru as well.