Monday, 13 September 2004


I could have sworn I linked Michael Totten last night. Grr… Michael Munger has thoughts in a similar vein today, although I think the more likely explanation (here comes Occam again) is that some deranged, historically clueless anti-Bush person produced the documents—and they’d have gone nowhere if 60 Minutes had done anything approaching due diligence. To believe that anyone planted the documents to discredit the AWOL charges (something that I find nearly impossible to believe could be done, given the other uncertainties in Bush’s records during the era anyway) requires the following assumptions on the part of the forger:

  • The person who gave the documents to CBS could never be traced back to the forger (i.e. Bush operatives).
  • Someone (CBS) would believe the documents were genuine at first glance, despite all the anachronistic features of the documents.
  • CBS would not consult any experts in document authenticity, or even if they did, the experts would be too stupid (or too in hock to CBS) to figure out the documents were anachronistic.
  • Other people, with fewer resources than CBS, would figure out the documents were fake.

The first three steps require some sort of Jedi mind control on the part of (presumably) Karl Rove, which is a completely idiotic belief on the basis of Lawrence’s Rule (if nothing else).

Anyway, I think the truth about Bush’s National Guard assignment—and the truth about a lot of things that go on in elite politics and in the South—is embodied in this statement by Virginia Postrel:

I also think that Bush got special treatment, probably without anyone having to ask for it. Given his family's connections and the way Texas operates like a small town, people would have looked out for him.

I made a similar point about Clinton during all of his scandals: he didn’t “suborn perjury” from his supporters—they’d have lied for him without his asking, or his (or anyone else’s) needing to ask. There are limits; this sort of thing wouldn’t happen if you killed someone in cold blood, for example,* but it’s a cornerstone of small-town dynamics that many fail to appreciate.

* Well, it might have happened during the Jim Crow era if the victim was an “uppity Negro” or other malcontent; ultimately, that was the problem in Neshoba County, because quite a few people so confused their “loyalty” to the community to the point that they dismissed basic human decency.


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.

I’m guessing that the forgeries are the work of a disgruntled former employee of CBS, who wanted to make Dan Rather look like a fool, and succeeded.


Brock: interesting angle on that one. I thought I’d heard it all when Media Matters argued that the documents weren’t forged after all, and besides, it was Karl Rove who had forged them.

Chris: might want to re-phrase that “uppity Negro” line, given the recent tragedy in the Blogosphere.

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