Just when we thought it was safe to talk politics without getting mired in Vietnam all over again, President George W. Bush has to stir the pot with a bald-faced lie over whether or not he received special treatment during his service in the Texas Air National Guard.

Young Bush in his Texas Air Guard days.

Young Bush in his Texas Air Guard days.

“No. I don’t… I’m not aware of it,” Bush told Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly Tuesday when asked whether family connections had helped him get a coveted place in the Guard.

Jesus H. Christ Dubya. Everybody knows the former speaker of the Texas House used his influence to get you bumped to the head of the line to get into the Guard and avoid going to Vietnam. If you didn’t have balls enough to fight in a war, at least show enough cohunes to admit how you avoided it.

“Had my unit been called up (for a tour in Vietnam), I’d have gone.” Bush told O’Reilly with a straight face. Yeah, right. And there would have been pork in the treetops by morning.

Like most Americans, I was ready to put all the questions about what Bush did or did not do in the guard behind us and move on to the real issues that should dominate campaign 2004 but nobody with an IQ above that of the a two-minute egg can possibly believe that Bush thinks he was treated just like any other kid who wanted to get into the guard to save his ass.

That young Bush, then the son of a U.S. Congressman, got bumped to the head of the waiting list for the guard is a long-established fact. For him to claim he didn’t get any favors is a threat to the intelligence of even the most brain-dead American voter.

“I fulfilled my duty, and was honorably discharged. I think I had about five hundred and seventy flying hours, and … I was on active duty for a little over a year and a half and I proudly served,” Bush said, again with a straight face. “I did exactly what my commanders told me to do.”

Excuse me, but the jury’s still out on that one. The records released in fits and spurts from the Pentagon and White House still have a lot of gaps in them. Thanks to CBS News and their monumental FUBAR of using a dubious memo in their story on Bush’s Guard Service, we may never know what he did in the guard, when he did it or when he avoided it.

Bush’s entire campaign strategy is built around his so-called image as a strong leader – a man’s man who can stand up the evils of terrorism but if he is such a testosterone-filled alpha male why can’t he own up to the fact that daddy’s buddies kept him out of harm’s way with a cushy spot in the Texas Air Guard.

Others did it – a lot of others. The former Texas Speaker has apologized not only for helping young Bush Vietnam but for helping other sons of rich Texans as well. During Vietnam, all guard units had long waiting lists and getting in often took every connection a powerful parent could exploit.

George H. W. Bush was a powerful man in Texas in those days – a Congressman who would go on to serve as an ambassador, head of the CIA and even President. So he had a family friend call up another powerful friend and pull strings.

It happened. Most everyone who uses their brain for something other than a receiving station for Republican propaganda knows it happened and the President of the United States is a liar for claiming it didn’t.