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Bush served well in war

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Virginia Silcox (Readers' Forum, Dec. 21) attempts to revive several of the discredited myths circulated by President Bush's extremist enemies regarding the Vietnam military experiences of the president and Al Gore.

Contrary to Silcox's misconceptions, Gore did not go into service as a "truly patriotic man" (he strongly opposed the war) but rather in a cynical attempt to save the failing political career of his anti-war father. In Vietnam, he served several months less than the normal tour and then only as a rear-echelon journalist with bodyguards. He was never in harm's way or even near it.

Bush served as a fighter pilot with the Texas Air National Guard, trained under highly dangerous simulated combat conditions and was often in the harm's way of high-speed, terrain-hugging maneuvers. As a matter of Air National Guard policy, he would probably have been rotated into Vietnam combat air operations if the war had lasted a few months longer.

Unlike Silcox, I'm glad that Bush is president during the current crisis. After Sept. 11, Gore would have remained paralyzed until numerous polls, focus groups, fashion stylists and foreign campaign contributors had determined his policy for him.

Robert C. Steensma

Salt Lake City