"I'm very ashamed" Former Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes on getting Dubya into the Air National Guard

There's a reason people like Texans in general, and Ben Barnes shows us why that's so. So take heart -- they're not all like Monkey Boy.

Another bombshell in the battle over Vietnam service that has been raging in the 2004 presidential race exploded on the Web Friday. In a video originally posted on the Web by a pro-Kerry organization in Austin, Texas, Ben Barnes, a former lieutenant governor of Texas, apologized for his role in getting a young George W. Bush into the Texas Air National Guard while young men who were not from prominent or wealthy families 'died in Vietnam.'

'Let's talk a minute about John Kerry and George Bush, and I know them both,' said Barnes in the video, which was filmed at a gathering of about 200 Kerry supporters in Austin on May 27. 'I got a young man named George W. Bush into the Texas National Guard when I was lieutenant governor, and I'm not necessarily proud of that. But I did it. I got a lot of other people in the National Guard because I thought that was what people should do when you're in office, and you help a lot of rich people.'

'And I walked to the Vietnam Memorial the other day,' Barnes continued, 'and I looked at the names of the people that died in Vietnam, and I became more ashamed of myself than I have ever been, because it was the worst thing I ever did, was help a lot of wealthy supporters and a lot of people who had family names of importance get into the National Guard. And I'm very sorry about that, and I'm very ashamed, and I apologize to you as voters of Texas.'

Barnes then condemned the Republican attacks on John Kerry's war service: "And I tell you that for the Republicans to jump on John Kerry and say that he is not a patriot after he went to Vietnam and was shot at and fought for our freedom and came back here and protested against the war, he's a flip-flopper, let me tell you: John Kerry is a 100 times better patriot than George Bush or Dick Cheney."

Barnes' story about Bush and the Air National Guard first broke in 1999 as the then Texas governor was mounting his first campaign for the presidency. Bush insisted at the time that neither he nor his father sought Barnes' assistance. "I can tell you what happened," said Bush. "Nothing happened. My Guard unit was looking for pilots and I flew for the Guard. I'm proud of my service and any allegation that my dad asked for special favors is simply not true ... I didn't ask anybody to help get me to the Guard either."

Barnes said at the time that it was a wealthy Bush family friend, a Houston oilman named Sidney Adger, who came to him with the request to help the younger Bush.

So Dubya's account is technically true -- he didn't personally ask for the favor, nor did his father. They got someone else to do it for them, which seems to be a major characteristic of the doings of the Bush family -- getting other people to do their dirty work.

Poppy Bush once asked: "What is it about August?" (because the doo-doo gets hosed away often, this time of year.)

I dunno why -- whether it's because Virgo rules precision and speech, or because the level of surrealistic surrender (especially in Texas) after months of hideous temperature and humidity melts the mind into a different shape, or because continually repeated days of 90-degree weather instills an overwhelming desire for aggravated assault, or perhaps the culmination of 5 months of Houstonian dampness has increased your electrical conductivity with the universe to such a degree that things get spoken ... I dunno WHY ... but things seem to get revealed more often when the sun is in Virgo.

So now can we all move on to matters of real importance to the world -- like the Chinese copyright infringement on Garfield paraphernalia?


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