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An interesting article I read today in GQ....
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Old 30 Jul 2004, 12:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default An interesting article I read today in GQ....

So Cynthia was getting her hair done today, and I was there with her so i read the latest issue of GQ they had out. It's about our current President, George W. Bush. I found it to be quite interesting. It's pretty long, but I;m sure if you rwad it, you'll enjoy it. Well, here it is....

By Jason Gay

In January 1973, Private Gary Donahue was on his second tour of duty in Vietnam when he stopped with a few other GIs at a sweaty Saigon bar called the Roc Club. It was nearing midnight, and the place was thick with well-lubricated soldiers and local women. A middle-aged Vietnamese crooner prowled a makeshift stage, singing standards like "Mack the Knife" and "Luck Be a Lady."

Suddenly, a trim, clean-cut American grabbed the microphone. "Howdy, folks!" the man yelled in a slight twang. "How ya'll feel about hearing a little music?" Donning a straw Vietnamese hat, the man launched into a raucous, heartfelt version of "Deep in the Heart of Texas" and then "Wooly Bully."

Afterward the mystery performer sat with Donahue and several of his fellow rifle-platoon soldiers, and the men quickly attracted a gaggle of young Vietnamese women. Over beers and shots of Rebel Yell, the stranger told them he was in the country on "government business," but was vague about details. He boasted that he "worked alone." He said he'd traveled throughout the warring country, and when Donahue asked if he'd crossed the border into Cambodia and Laos, the man grinned and winked. Then he showed off a pair of crocodile-skin cowboy boots he'd purchased from a peddler in Saigon. "I've been looking for boots like this for a month," the man said, rubbing his hand over the slick skin. "Mission accomplished!"

"He was sketchy but charming," Donahue recalled. "The girls loved him. Everyone loved him. I assumed he was CIA."

More than two decades passed, and Donahue forgot all about that mysterious American from the Roc Club. But then one night in 1994, while watching a CNN report on a gubernatorial race in Texas, Donahue saw that face again.

"I couldn't believe it," he said. "It was the guy from the bar. And since then, I've often wondered: What on earth was George W. Bush doing in Vietnam?"


Ever since George W. Bush entered politics, he has been dogged by questions about his whereabouts during a twelve-month period from May 1972 to May 1973. It has been alleged that Bush, then a 26-year-old pilot in the Air National Guard, hardly ever reported for duty. The president has strongly denied this charge, and the White House has provided records it claims prove that Bush fulfilled his Guard obligations. Still, Bush's service record remains murky. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, has repeatedly made reference to the president's unexplained absences. Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore has gone so far as to label the president a "deserter."

But an eight-month investigation by GQ has yielded a stunningly different portrait of Bush's "missing year." This magazine's findings contradict allegations that Bush avoided military service but also explain why the president has remained vague about his activities during those twelve months.

In one respect, Bush's skeptics are right: Bush never did report to the Alabama Air National Guard. He may not even know where its barracks were. That's because during the period in question, Bush was serving his country elsewhere, in a clandestine military unit: the Special Undercover Missions Service (SUMS), an elite air-force agency specializing in national security and acts of espionage. Created by the Eisenhower administration in 1958 to respond to growing concerns about aerial reconnaissance by the Soviet Union, SUMS operated for twenty-one years in a shroud of secrecy. There is no offcial record of the organization; SUMS is said to have been terminated by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

But SUMS was something of an open secret among air-force men of Bush's generation. "SUMS was flashy stuff," said Lieutenant Tom Kapers, a decorated air-force pilot who did tours in Korea and Vietnam and who'd met several SUMS officers. "We'd hear about those boys all the time. Real James Bonds. They'd be in Hong Kong one day and London the next. We always imagined they flew in their dinner jackets."

Bush appears to have been an unconventional choice for SUMS. The agency did not typically recruit from the Air National Guard—it preferred to sign up top graduates from the Air Force Academy. Bush was an unexceptional student in both academic and military classrooms. It has often been reported that he did poorly on his pilot's entrance exam, scoring only in the twenty-fifth percentile.

Still, Bush was, by many accounts, accomplished in the cockpit, demonstrating skill and courage in the air. What's more, as the son of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, George H. W. Bush, and the grandson of a former Connecticut senator, Prescott Bush, he already possessed the worldliness and etiquette required of SUMS pilots—talents one air-force source termed "the salad-fork shit."

But SUMS agents were more than gentlemen spies. Provided with state-of-the-art weaponry and surveillance equipment, SUMS officers trained in mortal combat and international diplomacy. They were masters of disguise, capable of passing themselves off as immigrants, women, even large animals. They learned how to build explosive devices using ordinary household items like dental floss and MoonPies and knew how to sleep while suspended upside down. Usually they were taught to speak Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic.

"If Bush was in SUMS, he would have been fluent in Arabic," says air-force historian R. Taylor Prentiss, author of Flyboys to the End: An Examination of Pilot Culture in the Vietnam Era. "Someone should ask him a question in Arabic—bet you he'd answer it."

If the young Bush was looking for globe-trotting action, he could not have picked a better time to join SUMS. The agency was a favorite of then president Richard Nixon and his FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover, who, before his death, in May 1972, regularly used SUMS operatives for missions both military and cultural. Under the Nixon White House, SUMS agents were dispatched to Vietnam, Russia, Korea, East Germany, China, and Israel. They were also assigned domestically, spying on individuals and groups believed to be detrimental to U.S. interests. Before Bush's arrival, SUMS is believed to have briefly infiltrated the Allman Brothers Band, the Students for a Democratic Society, and The Dick Cavett Show.

"For politicians, SUMS was a fantasy agency—they were autonomous, intelligent, and eager," says Prentiss. "If the White House wanted them to pop out of a hole in Cambodia, they could do that. But if they wanted them to ball Janis Joplin, they could do that too. Those guys could do anything."


It's hard to pinpoint exactly when Bush's service with SUMS began. Almost all the offcial documentation on the agency remains classified by the Department of Defense, and SUMS personnel are required to sign lifelong confidentiality agreements. But Bush is believed to have completed his SUMS training in March 1972, not long before he disappeared from Guard duty in Texas.

Several sources with knowledge of SUMS's operations during that period say Bush was immediately dispatched on a string of low-level training missions to build up his experience in the field. First was Russia, where Bush worked with CIA operatives to break up a gunrunning operation orchestrated by disgruntled Soviet troops. From there he moved to India, where he helped train a mounted brigade assembled to kidnap the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (a mission that would fail due to an untimely monsoon). Next for Bush was New Zealand, where he assisted officials with helicopter surveillance of sheep poachers, and then Monaco, where he taught the crown prince's bodyguards how to fire assault rifles while waterskiing in tuxedos. He then returned to the United States for several weeks in the spring.

"His career was taking off," said one former air-force colleague of Bush's. "But it's funny: I remember going over to his parents' place, and his mom was still kicking his ass. George was flying covert missions, and she was screaming at him to clean his room."

Soon Bush was assigned to his first high-priority mission, in China. The request came directly from the White House. President Nixon and his national-security adviser, Henry Kissinger, had visited China the previous year, galvanizing an unprecedented partnership between the two nations. But both men remained wary of the Chinese premier, Chou En-Lai, fearing he would renege on promises to encourage U.S. business inside his borders.

Nixon and Kissinger, in cooperation with the FBI, wanted to test Chou En-Lai's stated willingness to support American business, so they instructed Bush to pose as a U.S. businessman and try to enlist the Chinese in a business arrangement. Bush, already the SUMS maverick, decided to pose as Danny Ray Amberson, a wisecracking Texas entrepreneur and the owner of Amberson's Magnificence Co.—the world's foremost maker of eight-track tapes.

"Truthfully, I didn't understand what he was up to," said one FBI agent. "His alias was unusual for a SUMS officer. He slicked his hair back and dressed like a hit man—right down to sharkskin suits and silk kerchiefs."

Bush impressed Chou En-Lai tremendously. Flush with government-supplied money, he persuaded the Chinese premier to supply land and labor and build him the world's largest eight-track-tape factory, on the outskirts of Beijing. Bush supervised the construction personally, often arriving as early as 8:30 A.M. and staying on the job as late as 3 P.M.

At this time, Bush also appears to have had some correspondence with his father. A Freedom of Information Act request from GQ to the State Department yielded a 1972 telegram to George H. W. Bush from his son George. Though it is still classified in parts and text is blacked out in several areas, it does seem to confirm W.'s Chinese mission.









Thanks to fortuitous weather and the country's plentiful labor, the Beijing headquarters of Amberson's Magnificence Co. was finished in just two and a half days. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held as the plant cranked out a flurry of current eight-track recordings, including All the Young Dudes by Mott the Hoople and the soundtrack to The Harder They Come.

Nixon was thrilled. China was open for business. He reached Bush via a secure phone and asked him to name any assignment he wanted, but according to one former White House aide, the only request Bush made of the president was that his father be given a piece of the action. In 1974, George H. W. Bush was named the U.S. special envoy to China; later, in 1976, he would become director of the CIA.

"It's ironic," said one former Nixon White House aide. "The assumption has always been that W. was helped along by his dad's political career. But really, the reverse is true."


When Bush returned from China, he discovered that Nixon was becoming increasingly manic about a domestic threat: the U.S. tour of the Rolling Stones. "Nixon was convinced they [the Stones] were a bigger threat than John Lennon, who, if you remember, we tried to deport," an FBI source said.

J. Edgar Hoover had lobbied the president to arrest the Stones in 1971 on indecency charges for the band's album Sticky Fingers. In an Oval Office meeting, Hoover sat with the president and repeatedly showed him how to unzip the crotch zipper on the album's cover. A year later, Nixon obtained an advance copy of the Stones' seminal 1972 album, Exile on Main Street. He and aide H. R. Haldeman spent hours listening to the tracks.

The president grew convinced the Stones were using their lyrics to indoctrinate American youth toward socialism, drugs, rioting against the government, bisexuality, hot pants, and tea.

"There is a song on that album called 'All Down the Line,' " one former FBI agent recalled. "Nixon listened to it a thousand times. You know that part, We're gonna bust another bottle, yeah / Well you can't say yes, and you can't say no / Just be right there when the whistle blows—he'd hear that and go completely batshit."

Bush was assigned to the Stones' 1972 North American tour. He was asked to infiltrate the band's inner circle and report on any illegal or possibly un-American activities.

This time Bush chose to take on the identity of a roadie named Bo Bannister, an itinerant concert-business employee. Though cleaner-cut than most of the Stones' crew, Bannister enthralled his fellow roadies with tales of life on the road with acts that included Chuck Berry and Mel Tormé. Soon, he was given a position of great honor at the Stones' shows: inflating an enormous, forty-five-foot pink plastic ***** at the beginning of "Honky Tonk Women."

"I remember hearing about that," said one Bush family friend. "He used to say, 'God, if my mother could see me now, blowing up this giant pecker every night.' "

At night Bush would retire to his room and telephone Clyde Tolson, Hoover's longtime FBI deputy. The intelligence Bush was providing was not, as the FBI and Nixon hoped, evidence of a conspiracy to take over the country. Consider this written dispatch from Bush to Tolson, obtained by GQ through another F.O.I.A. request:









Indeed, Bush found the Stones to be a band obsessed with drugs, women, and haircuts, but not revolution. "He did learn that Mick wanted to make solo albums," said one former FBI agent. "Come to think of it, we should have stopped that."

Do the Stones know they were duped? Representatives for both Jagger and Richards declined to comment. But colleagues of the rock stars confirm they know their former roadie is now the most powerful man on earth. "Mick knows," said one Jagger associate. "He's just embarrassed." Indeed, a friend of Richards's quotes the guitarist as saying: "That's fuckin' Mick for you—always cozying up to the wrong blokes. Bush, Bowie, Lenny Kravitz, the Queen, Bette fuckin' Midler—all the same!"


Bush's next cultural target was Andy Warhol, the pop painter, who had been steadily climbing to fame in the '60s and early '70s. In the fall of 1972, Bush took on the persona of Gerhard Braus, a sturdy, pipe-smoking German art dealer specializing in Expressionist painters. He wore tailored suits and an ascot and began attending parties in downtown Manhattan.

Warhol immediately took a shine to Braus, inviting him to nightspots like Max's Kansas City and the Diplomat. He met Factory upstarts like Lou Reed, Holly Woodlawn, and the filmmaker Paul Morrissey. (Bush actually appears, ever so briefly, as a libidinous heroin-addicted pizza-delivery guy in Warhol and Morrissey's film Heat, in a scene that was added at the last minute.)

Bush decided to hold his own art show in November 1972, featuring some of Gerhard Braus's Expressionist collection (which Bush borrowed from the Art Theft Program at the FBI) and also several modern performance-art pieces. Knowing that his fellow Factory members were critical of capitalist culture and businessmen, Bush persuaded a young Nixon White House aide named Dick Cheney to come to New York and help him stage a performance piece.

The piece was called Cash in Darkness. Cheney stood in a darkened room wearing a gray wool suit coat, a white shirt and red tie, light blue boxer shorts, and black socks and garters. As a strobe light flashed, he stared straight ahead and recited the following script:





Warhol was delighted. The Village Voice called Cash in Darkness an "enthralling evisceration of piggish capitalist culture." Noted dealer and Warhol pal Fred Hughes offered to start a gallery with Gerhard Braus. Cheney briefly moved into the Chelsea Hotel and sat for a Q&A with Candy Darling for Interview magazine.

Naturally, Bush's time with the Factory—as well as with the Stones—raises the specter of his possible drug use. "Drugs were our portal to a different creative sphere," said Anton Xtasy, a Hungarian model who worked as Warhol's driver during the period. "We seldom created anything un-high." Though Xtasy says Gerhard Braus was a "bit of a priss—I didn't see him indulge," it's worth pointing out that Bush has implied in interviews that he has not used illegal drugs since 1974, by saying he could have passed an FBI government-job background check from that date forward.

Bush's Factory mission was regarded as something of a mixed success. The FBI believed Bush may have gotten too close to his subjects. They were concerned when Cheney returned to the White House and wore blue-lensed sunglasses to a Defense Department meeting, held up a pen, and said, "It's a machine. It's a machine."

On the other hand, Bush was able to provide valuable information about Warhol and the Velvets. He even recommended that the government consider exiling Lou Reed to Madagascar. "I don't get his singing," Bush wrote in a SUMS memo. "That's not singing. That's, like, talking. And besides, I think he likes guys."


Meanwhile, Henry Kissinger was concerned that Bush was spending too much time in the domestic culture war. In late 1972, he ordered Bush to the White House's most urgent battleground: Vietnam.

Aware of Bush's history as a college prankster, Kissinger wanted Bush to travel to that country with the specific mission of disrupting Vietcong activities using fraternity-style gags. Guns and mortars hadn't worked. Kissinger theorized that perhaps the best way to defeat the Vietcong was to humiliate them.

Bush's mission was code-named Operation Goldfish Swallow. He received clearance from the White House to bring along a former college chum, Pinky Buhrman, who had nearly been kicked out of Yale for painting the flags of the fifty U.S. states on the *****es of all the statues in the New Haven school's art museum. Pinky was the best, Bush thought—and the country needed the best.

Operation Goldfish Swallow commenced on Christmas Eve, 1972. Over a series of weeks, Pinky and Bush engaged the enemy numerous times. They TP'd enemy installations in Haiphong and Hanoi. They sneaked into VC barracks and short-sheeted beds. They made repeated phony phone calls to enemy leaders in the field.

"They learned how to ask, 'Do you have Prince Albert in a can?' in Vietnamese," recalls one FBI source with knowledge of the mission. "Anh có Prince Albert lon không?"

As the coup de grâce, they lodged a banana in the tailpipe of Vietcong negotiator Le Duc Tho's car, temporarily shutting down his motorcade. Incredibly, the prank techniques wore down the North Vietnamese. Kissinger believes it was Operation Goldfish Swallow that pushed Le Duc Tho to the bargaining table. A peace accord was signed in Paris on January 12. The remaining U.S. forces began withdrawing soon after.

"Look, it's an overstatement to say that Bush single-handedly solved the Vietnam problem," said one Nixon White House source. "But he did have an impact. Those boys might have been over there for another eighteen months. The banana in the tailpipe was the clincher. That's what finally brought them to the table."

Nixon was elated. He wanted Bush to return to the White House so he could congratulate him in person. When Bush demurred, Nixon asked him to perform one final mission in Vietnam: bring home a handful of longtime POWs set to be released from a Hanoi prison, including a navy pilot named John McCain, who'd been incarcerated for more than five years.

It would be the first and only SUMS assignment that Bush would utterly fail. The night before the POW mission, he went out for a wild evening on the town—that was the night, in fact, that he sang at the Roc Club and drank with Gary Donahue, his buddies, and a group of Vietnamese women. The gang partied late into the night; Bush didn't get home until 8 A.M.

"He overslept and missed the POW handover meeting," said another Nixon White House source. "McCain had to spend a couple more months in prison. After five years, you'd think it'd be no big deal, but it was. He missed the Super Bowl."

Asked if Bush's mistake in Vietnam may have contributed to the still lingering animus between the president and McCain, the Nixon White House source laughed.

"Shit," he said, "I never thought of that!"


This investigation has uncovered one more mission Bush might like to forget, and it occurred early in his tenure as an officer. Shortly after the April 1972 trip to Monaco, he was asked to return to D.C. for a mission so classified, even his SUMS superiors were not informed of his exact whereabouts.

Under orders from President Nixon, Bush was assigned to work with a group of National Security Agency operatives hired to bug an office with audio-surveillance equipment. Bush was told the office belonged to a group of KGB agents who were spying on American leaders, including his father, who was then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He was told that the KGB planned to kidnap several leaders and transport them back to Russia, where they would work as double agents, translators, or worst of all, circus performers at an American-style theme park.

"They kind of lied to him," said one FBI source. "And he bought it. I remember him saying, 'Pop hates the circus.'"

The break-in job was relatively easy. Bush and the operatives entered the office in May to install bugging devices under tables and windowsills. But upon their return, they discovered a problem: The listening devices did not work properly. They would have to go back in.

On June 17, Bush returned to the office with the operatives, determined to do the job right. This time, however, Bush did not go inside—he had sprained his ankle the previous weekend playing mixed doubles with family friend John Newcombe in Kennebunkport. Instead, he opted to drive the getaway van.

The twisted ankle proved to be a stroke of good fortune. Bush wound up being the only one to get away that night. A security guard discovered the burglars inside the building and all five were arrested by Washington, D.C., police. "They fucked it up," said one former FBI agent. "If W. had been in there, they would never have gotten busted."

Bush was angered by the revelations. The operatives weren't special NSA agents, he learned; they had been hired by the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP). The office he'd broken into wasn't a KGB office; it was rented by the Democratic National Committee. And nothing he'd done was going to keep his dad out of a Russian circus.

Ever the company man, Bush did not confront Nixon directly about the misinformation, even as the capital roiled in controversy. But there are Watergate theorists who believe that the angered young SUMS agent exacted his revenge in a different, more diabolical way.

"Was Bush Deep Throat?" asked one former FBI agent. "No one knows for sure besides Woodward and Bernstein. He certainly had access to sensitive information. But he was in and out of the country so much that year. It would have been awfully hard—but not impossible."

"It would not shock me," said another FBI source. "And when you think of it, it makes you wonder. Why do you think Woodward got all that access recently?"


The Bush White House turned down all requests for comment for this article, as did members of the Bush family, including former president George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara.

The revelation of Bush's clandestine service in SUMS presents the president with a difficult choice.

"On the one hand, it's amazing stuff that proves he served his country with honor," said one source close to the president. "On the other hand, Watergate."

"It's a shame," the source continued. "He served his country proudly and he has to deal with this perception that he spent the year sitting on the porch drinking Lone Star."

"I'll tell you this," said another current White House source. "We'd love to throw some of this stuff in John Kerry's face."

That is unlikely, given the volatility of presidential politics and the fact that almost every minute of Bush's SUMS service remains classified. But Bush has not forgotten SUMS. The next time he appears in the White House Rose Garden or steps off Air Force One, notice how he raises his left arm above his head and bends it slightly, as if twisting it into an S curve.

That's not a stretch, several sources told GQ. It's George W. Bush's secret hand signal—to his fellow SUMS brethren.

"He does it all the time," said one former Air Force colleague. "Just watch."

Jason Gay is a GQ senior editor.

An interesting read if I do say so myself. Thoughts? Comments? Opinions?
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Old 30 Jul 2004, 01:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Ok Stick I read the article and I'm afraid to tell you that this article is more of a sattire that the real deal. The article is more like a mockery of the year George Bush as "serving" on the military and no records have been found. Looks like someone spent too much time Watching Shawn Connery's James Bond Movies.

I'm not the only one who had noticed this. Here are two other reports from people who read the article too.

Sad thing that GQ didn't labeled this right.
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