A couple weeks ago we noted
reports that a group of payroll records, which might have clarified President Bush's Guard service during a part of 1972, had been "inadvertently destroyed" in a tragic microfilm accident.
That grabbed my attention because from my history research days I knew that the sort of microfilm accident described is exceedingly rare. Indeed, this is the reason so many institutions still use microfilm, even though its been around for something like a century -- because of its excellent archival value, which for various reasons still far outpaces various new digital storage media.
Today though we have an example of just how archival microfilm is. Even after having been destroyed, the files in question managed to turn up at the Pentagon late Friday afternoon.
In any case, as announced this afternoon the announcement that the documents in question had been "inadvertently destroyed" itself turned out to be the product of an "inadvertent oversight." (And, no, in case you're wondering, I'm not making this up. Those are quotes.)
And the AP
has written the story
up with this lede ...
The Pentagon on Friday released newly discovered payroll records from President Bush's 1972 service in the Alabama National Guard, though the records shed no new light on the future president's activities during that summer.
A Pentagon official said the earlier contention that the records were destroyed was an "inadvertent oversight."
Like records released earlier by the White House, these computerized payroll records show no indication Bush drilled with the Alabama unit during July, August and September of 1972. Pay records covering all of 1972, released previously, also indicated no guard service for Bush during those three months.
The records do not give any new information about Bush's National Guard training during 1972, when he transferred to the Alabama National Guard unit so he could work on the U.S. Senate campaign of a family friend. The payroll records do not say definitively whether Bush attended training that summer because they are maintained separately from attendance records.
I have to say that I think I'm with Atrios
on this one: I don't understand.
I concede the point that payroll records may have been wrong, or rather simply not have recorded times when the future president showed up for duty. But no
new information? These new documents seem to provide at least some added confirmation that the president never showed up for drills as he said he did, right? What am I missing?