Wednesday, 15 September 2004

“Fake but accurate”

You can tell that things are going badly for the Democrats when the New York Times says the silver lining is that the forged memos are somehow “accurate” despite being, by any objective or sane standard, complete fabrications. I hate to break it to the Times, but this isn’t the Critical Studies department; this is the real world, where we have these neat concepts like “empiricism,” “evidence,” and “temporal order,” not to mention “Word didn’t exist in 1972.”

Such concepts do not appear to hold sway with anti-Bush smearmeister Bill Burkett (a Kerry and DNC fundraiser, not that the Times bothers to mention that in its article) or his attorney, mind you:

Asked what role Mr. Burkett had in raising questions about Mr. Bush’s military service, Mr. Van Os said: “If, hypothetically, Bill Burkett or anyone else, any other individual, had prepared or had typed on a word processor as some of the journalists are presuming, without much evidence, if someone in the year 2004 had prepared on a word processor replicas of documents that they believed had existed in 1972 or 1973 – which Bill Burkett has absolutely not done’’ – then, he continued, “what difference would it make?”

That’s right, kids, it’s acceptable to prepare forgeries of documents you think might have existed in the past, or perhaps even ought to have existed, like that B.A. summa cum laude from Stanford I “deserve” even though they rejected my application 11 years ago, all in the name of greater truth.

Update: Jane Galt has more on this theme:

So if I honestly believe that Bill Clinton had Vince Foster killed, and gave written orders to someone to do so, it's okay if I go ahead and type up a couple of memos to that effect and hand them to the press… and okay if the press runs with them.

The Rather Doctrine spreads . . . and my job just keeps getting easier. By next week, we're going to give up printing news entirely, and give our pages over to Tom Clancy.


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 think the point the Times is less than adequately making is basically this: “Are the Killian memos forged? So what? Stop talking about them, and get to the real point: George W. Bush, his lies to the contrary, did not” [and this is my personal opinion as a former Navy Judge Advocate] “satisfactorily complete his Guard duty, and should have been disciplined for his failure to do so and forced to serve two years active duty for such failure.” I’d think a lot more of Bush if he’d just acknowledge he was a slacker, stop having his stand-ins trash Kerry’s Vietnam service, and move on to more substantive issues.

Like, will I have to kill myself at age 65 or 70 because I have a chronic and ultimately fatal disease (diabetes) and because Bush has screwed up the economy I won’t be able to afford healthcare when I retire? (At least, after Four More Years handguns will be cheap and plentiful, most likely.)



Unfortunately, Len, such claims about Bush require evidence.

As one who has no clue about the norms of Guard service, I can only note that those who wanted to prove this point were forced to manufacture evidence in order to do so.

You may be right. But the evidence has been shaky at best, and now, with one side accused and convicted of lying, I doubt there’s much you can do to convince me that Bush did not fulfill his duties in the Guard.

What are you going to do, after all? Offer more evidence? How will you prove to me that this evidence isn’t just as fake as the memos?

“Once burned, twice shy” is the appropriate cliche, I believe.


The evidence is in both the service records released by Bush and pursuant to FOIA requests by the AP. See, e.g., the U.S. News article at: and the analysis by COL G. A. Lechliter, U.S. Army (Ret.) at

After a detailed review (over thirty typed, single spaced pages, extensively footnoted) of the available records, COL Lechliter concluded:

In the final analysis, the record clearly and convincingly proves [Bush] did not fulfill the obligation he incurred when he enlisted in the Air National Guard and completed his pilot training, despite his honorable discharge. He clearly shirked the duty he undertook in 1968 umon enlistment and in 1969 upon completion of his flight training at Moody AF Base. Less than two years after Bush won his solo wings, he walked away from his duty to serve as a fighter pilot while troops were still dying in Vietnam. Moreover, he received fraudulent payments for INACDUTRA. [INACtive DUty for TRAining—LRC]

We have not yet heard a satisfactory explanation by the President for his abandoning a profession he purportedly loved passionately. He, therefore, must four-square his past public statements about his performance with the official record and must explain why he prematurely abandoned a commitment to serve his Nation in the TXANG during another war to pursue personal goals. As a self-proclaimed “wartime president,” this President owes the U.S. public, especially the military and verterans, no less. He certainly cannot rely on his military record to answer these questions.

You can’t hide behind the position that all this evidence is forged, unless your blind, unthinking loyalty to Bush compels you to stick your head in the sand. The evidence has been out there for quite some time (since the 2000 election) and that the press has given Bush a free ride over this for so long is a disgrace and a scandal.

As a veteran who, unlike Bush, honorably served my country and fully completed my obligations to the service, I’m disgusted.

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