Paul From Minneapolis

Monday, April 18, 2005

Speaking Of Rigorous Standards...

…as I discussed yesterday, here’s a letter I may send to the Strib today:

In letters editor Tim O'Brien's column today suggesting Papal politics could begin mimicking the American style, his satirical characterization of the Bush Guard issue presents a Cardinal having not shown up for Mass from 1970-1973.

I understand that this is a light-hearted thing and all, but I'm wondering what his thinking was in using those dates. Because once you dig into the details, you find out that charges of W not showing up don't start until mid-1972, around April being the last time he was flying beyond the requirements.

That small fact is the big reason the story can never be a major scandal, since the worst possible outcome for W - that he simply bugged out at that point and used his family ties to make it okay - isn't really all that horrifying for people not already prone to despise him. He flew for four years, starting with his training in mid-1968; then didn't fly much if at all for a year and a half as the war wound down. Then he asked for and got an early discharge, early by 6 months.

The record doesn’t make me swell with admiration, but I knew W was a ne’er-do-well back then. In fact I’m surprised the guy flew as much as he did. That’s my actual reaction.

So did Mr. O'Brien just use those dates because they kind of corresponded to what he sort of understood about the situation and made it seem sufficiently scandalous? That'd be my guess.

Mr. O’Brien and I have had run-ins in the past. (His rigor is subject to some question, I assert.)