Monday, October 25, 2004

Cocaine and charity

Meg Laughlin of Knight Ridder has interviewed various associates of John White, the man who ran the inner-city program in Houston where Bush worked in the early 1970's, work which has led to much speculation. It is completely out of character for Bush to volunteer for any kind of charity, and even more bizarre that he has been so circumspect about using his participation in it for political purposes. The witnesses that Meg Laughlin spoke to confirm that he was there because he was in some sort of trouble which required him to put in the time. A new witness, Althia Turner, White's administrative assistant, who was obviously uncomfortable about giving testimony, said:

"George had to sign in and out - I remember his signature was a hurried cursive - but he wasn't an employee. He was not a volunteer either. John said he had to keep track of George's hours because George had to put in a lot of hours because he was in trouble."

The article states:

"Other accounts have suggested his service was involuntary. A book published in 2000, largely discredited, said Bush was there to serve out a community service sentence for a drug arrest. At the time, however, Harris County, Texas, where Houston is located, had no formal community service program. A 1999 book, by a political reporter for The Dallas Morning News, said Bush's father had insisted on the service after Bush was involved in a drunk-driving incident."

Of course, the fact that Harris County had no formal community service program is irrelevant. A judge friendly to George's father could have agreed to suspend sentencing in George's criminal (cocaine?) case pending completion of any task he might require of George, and might very well have relied on George's father to vouch for the fact he performed the task. Father Bush might then have counted on his friend John White to tally up the hours so Bush could honestly inform the court that his son had complied with the court's semi-formal requirements. The theory that this charity work was just an informal requirement of George's father isn't consistent with the fact that it obviously interfered with the proper completion of George's military service. Father Bush would hardly have punished George by making him do something that would affect his military career, especially when the whole purpose of the Guard duty was to keep George out of Vietnam, and George's failure to complete his Guard duty would have led him directly to Vietnam.

Can't you just hear George begging with his father to get him out of his cocaine legal trouble by arranging for some charity work to satisfy the judge? Can't you just hear him telling his father that he would swear off the blow? Can't you just hear him claim he could arrange to do both his Guard duty and complete the charity work at the same time? Can't you just see Bush unable to get off the coke, and being fearful that his addiction would be revealed to the court and to his father by a military physical (the fact that such a physical might not have disclosed the presence of cocaine is irrelevant if George feared the huge consequences if there was the slightest chance that it might)? Can't you just see Bush going AWOL to avoid that physical? Can't you just see his father then having to pull strings with the military brass to keep George out of Vietnam?