Greg Palast – 2004-09-04 09:45:49
(August 28, 2004) — In 1968, former Congressman George Herbert Walker Bush of Texas, fresh from voting to send other men’s sons to Vietnam, enlisted his own son in a very special affirmative action program, the ‘champagne’ unit of the Texas Air National Guard. There, Top Gun fighter pilot George Dubya was assigned the dangerous job of protecting Houston from Vietcong air attack.
This week, former Lt. Governor Ben Barnes of Texas ‘fessed up to pulling the strings to keep Little George out of the jungle. “I got a young man named George W. Bush into the Texas Air Guard — and I’m ashamed.”
That’s far from the end of the story. In 1994, George W. Bush was elected governor of Texas by a whisker. By that time, Barnes had left office to become a big time corporate lobbyist. To an influence peddler like Barnes, having damning information on a sitting governor is worth its weight in gold – or, more precisely, there’s a value in keeping the info secret.
Barnes appears to have made lucrative use of his knowledge of our President’s slithering out of the draft as a lever to protect a multi-billion dollar contract for a client. That’s the information in a confidential letter buried deep in the files of the US Justice Department that fell into my hands at BBC television. Here’s what happened.
Just after Bush’s election, Barnes’ client GTech Corp., due to allegations of corruption, was about to lose its license to print money: its contract to run the Texas state lottery. Barnes, says the Justice Department document, made a call to the newly-elected governor’s office and saved GTech’s state contract.
The letter said, “Governor Bush … made a deal with Ben Barnes not to rebid [the GTech lottery contract] because Barnes could confirm that Bush had lied during the ’94 campaign.”
In that close race, Bush denied the fix was in to keep him out of ‘Nam, and the US media stopped asking questions. What did the victorious Governor Bush’s office do for Barnes? According to the tipster, “Barnes agreed never to confirm the story [of the draft dodging] and the governor talked to the chair of the lottery two days later and she then agreed to support letting GTech keep the contract without a bid.”
And so it came to pass that the governor’s commission reversed itself and gave GTech the billion-dollar deal without a bid.
Bush’s $23 Million-dollar Bribe to Keep Barnes Silent
The happy client paid Barnes, the keeper of Governor Bush’s secret, a fee of over $23 million. Barnes, not surprisingly, denies that Bush took care of his client in return for Barnes’ silence. However, confronted with the evidence, the former Lt. Governor now admits to helping the young George stay out of Vietnam.
Take a look at the letter yourself — with information we confirmed with other sources – at
Frankly, I don’t care if President Bush cowered and ran from Vietnam. I sure as hell didn’t volunteer … but then, my daddy didn’t send someone else in my place. And I don’t march around aircraft carriers with parachute clips around my gonads talking about war and sacrifice. More important, I haven’t made any pay-offs to silence those who could change my image from war hero to war zero.
‘Time-Warner Won’t Let Us Air This’
By the way: I first reported this story in 1999, including the evidence of payback, in The Observerof London. US media closed its eyes.
Then I put the story on British television last year in the one-hour report, “Bush Family Fortunes.” American networks turned down BBC’s offer to run it in the USA. “Wonderful film,” one executive told me, “but Time Warner is not going to let us put this on the air.” However, US networks will take cash for advertisements calling Kerry a Vietnam coward.
The good news is, until Patriot Act 3 kicks in, they can’t stop us selling the film tBush Family Fortunes, with the full story you still can’t see on your boob tube, will be released next month in DVD. See a preview at http://www.gregpalast.com/bff-dvd.htm
For more on our president’s war years and the $23 million payment, read this excerpt from the New York Times bestseller, . The Best Democracy Money Can Buy
Subscribe to Greg Palast’s reports at http://www.gregpalast.com/contact.cfm
It Takes Real Courage to Desert Your Post And Then Attack a Wounded Vet
August 26, 2004
Dear Mr. Bush,
I know you and I have had our differences in the past, and I realize I am the one who started this whole mess about “who did what” during Vietnam when I brought up that “deserter” nonsense back in January. But I have to hand it to you on what you have uncovered about John Kerry and his record in Vietnam.
Kerry has tried to pass himself off as a war hero, but thanks to you and your friends, we now know the truth.
First of all, thank you for pointing out to all of us that Mr. Kerry was never struck by a BULLET. It was only SHRAPNEL that entered his body! I did not know that! Hell, what’s the big deal about a bunch of large, sharp, metal shards ripping open your flesh? That happens to all of us! In my opinion, if you want a purple heart, you’d better be hit with a bullet — with your name on it!
Secondly, thank you for sending Bob Dole out there and letting us know that Mr. Kerry, though wounded three times, actually “never spilled blood.” When you are in the debates with Kerry, turn to him and say, “Dammit, Mr. Kerry, next time you want a purple heart, you better spill some American red blood! ….”
Then throw this one at him: “Senator Kerry, over 58,000 brave Americans gave their lives in Vietnam — but YOU didn’t. You only got WOUNDED! What do you have to say for yourself???” Lay that one on him and he won’t know what to do.
And thanks, also, Mr. Bush, for exposing the fact that Mr. Kerry might have actually WOUNDED HIMSELF in order to get those shiny medals. Of course he did! How could the Viet Cong have hit him — he was on a SWIFT boat! He was going too fast to be hit by enemy fire. He tried to blow himself up three different times just so he could go home and run for president someday. It’s all so easy to see, now, what he was up to.
What would we do without you, Mr. Bush? Criticize you as we might, when it comes to pointing out other men’s military records, there is no one who can touch your prowess.
In 2000, you let out the rumor that your opponent John McCain might be “nuts” from the 5 years he spent in a POW camp.
Then, in the 2002 elections, your team compared triple-amputee Sen. Max Cleland to Osama bin Laden, and that cost him the election.
And now you are having the same impact on war hero John Kerry. Since you (oops, I mean “The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth!”) started running those ads, Kerry’s polls numbers have dropped (with veterans, he has lost 18 points in the last few weeks).
Some people have said: “Who are you, Mr. Bush, to attack these brave men considering you yourself have never seen combat — in fact, you actively sought to avoid it.”
What your critics fail to understand is that even though your dad got you into a unit that would never be sent to Vietnam — and even though you didn’t show up for Guard duty for at least a year — at least you were still IN FAVOR of the Vietnam War! Cowards like Clinton felt it was more important to be consistent (he opposed the war, thus he refused to go) than to be patriotic and two-faced….
I can fully appreciate your anger at Senator Kerry for the three [purple hearts] he received. I mean, Kerry was a man of privilege, he could have gotten out just like you. Instead, he thinks he’s going to gain points with the American people bragging about how he was getting shot at every day in the Mekong Delta.
Ha! Is that the best he can do? Hell, I hear gunfire every night outside my apartment window! If he thinks he is going to impress anyone with the fact that he volunteered to go when he could have spent the Vietnam years on the family yacht, he should think again. That only shows how stupid he was! True-blue Americans want a president who knows how to pull strings and work the system and get away with doing as little work as possible!
So, to make it up to you, I have written some new ads you can use on TV. People will soon tire of the swift boat veterans and you are going to need some fresh, punchier material. Feel free to use any of these:
ANNOUNCER: “When the bullets were flying all around him in Vietnam, what did John Kerry do? He said he leaned over the boat and ‘pulled a man out of the river.’ But, as we all know, men don’t live in the river — fish do. John Kerry knows how to tell a big fish tale. What he won’t tell you is that when the enemy was shooting at him, he ducked. Do you want a president who will duck? Vote Bush.”
ANNOUNCER: “Mr. Kerry’s biggest supporter, Sen. Max Cleland, claims to have lost two legs and an arm in Vietnam. But he still has one arm! How did that happen? One word: Cowardice. When duty called, he was unwilling to give his last limb. Is that the type of selfishness you want hanging out in the White House? We think not. Vote for the man who would be willing to give America his right frontal lobe. Vote Bush.”
Hope these help, Mr. Bush. And remember, when the American death toll in Iraq hits 1,000…, be sure to question whether those who died really did indeed “die” — or were they just trying to get their face on CNN’s nightly tribute to fallen heroes?
The 16 who’ve died so far this week were probably working hand in hand with the Kerry campaign to ruin your good time in New York. Stay consistent, sir, and always, ALWAYS question the veracity of anyone who risks their life for this country. It’s the least they deserve.