The game is afoot, you might say. CBS released a statement yesterday stating that it stands by the “Bush Guard Memos,” which recently added fuel to the fire regarding questions raised about Bush’s service in the Air National Guard over 30 years ago.
Never mind the fact that the Kerry Campaign and the DNC are trying to do to President Bush what Kerry did to all his fellow servicemen in 1971, dishonor the honorable service of any who serve in the armed services, past present and future. The fact that this is ugly politics for the DNC and business as usual for John Kerry is besides the point.
Meanwhile, nearly every other media source, such as MSNBC, The Washington Post, The National Review, and many other sources, all cast doubts on the authenticity of these new documents. The list of experts who have examined copies of the documents sent out by the White House after they received them from CBS repeatedly point to the same problems which lead them to believe that the documents are forged.
Furthermore, columnists such as Byron York of The National Review point out inconsistencies in what is being said in the questionable documents vs. the documents that have already been authenticated and reviewed by the media. Here is just one example:
A year before the “Not Observed” rating, according to the CBS documents, Killian was again concerned about the possibility of special treatment for Bush. A document attributed to Killian, dated May 4, 1972, orders Bush to report for a physical examination. Then another document, dated May 19, 1972, says Killian had a phone conversation with Bush about the young lieutenant’s desire to transfer to an Air National Guard unit in Alabama. Bush, according to the document, said he might not have time to take his physical exam. “I advised him of our investment in him and his commitment,” the document says, purportedly in Killian’s words. “I also told him I had to have written acceptance before he would be transferred, but think he’s also talking to someone upstairs.”
But according to the documents released by the White House, just seven days later, on May 26, 1972, Killian signed on to a glowing report of Bush’s performance. “Lt. Bush is an exceptional fighter interceptor pilot and officer,” the report, written by Harris, said. “He eagerly participates in scheduled unit activities.” The evaluation even took approving note of the fact that, “Lt. Bush is very active in civic affairs in the community and manifests a deep interest in the operation of our government. He has recently accepted the position as campaign manager for a candidate for United States Senate.” Below Harris’s signature, there was the statement, “I concur with the comments and ratings of the reporting official,” signed by Killian.
Additionally, family and fellow officers of Colonel Killian cast doubt on the authenticity of the documents:
But Killian’s son, one of Killian’s fellow officers and an independent document examiner questioned the memos. Gary Killian, who served in the Guard with his father and retired as a captain in 1991, said he doubted his father would have written an unsigned memo that said there was pressure to “sugar coat” Bush’s performance review.
“It just wouldn’t happen,” he said. “No officer in his right mind would write a memo like that.”
The personnel chief in Killian’s unit at the time also said he believes the documents are fake.
“They looked to me like forgeries,” said Rufus Martin. “I don’t think Killian would do that, and I knew him for 17 years.” Killian died in 1984.
What is CBS’ response to statements made by family, friends, and some of the top document specialists in the country?
Document and handwriting examiner Marcel Matley analyzed the documents for CBS News. He says he believes they are real. And he is concerned about exactly what is being examined by some of the people questioning the documents, because deterioration occurs each time a document is reproduced. And the documents being analyzed outside of CBS have been photocopied, faxed, scanned and downloaded, and are far removed from the documents CBS started with.
So, Mr. Matley calls the conclusions of dozens of other experts into question because they have been “photocopied, faxed, scanned and downloaded” too many times? Well then, the solution to everything is for CBS to turn over the original documents for their direct analysis.
So, is CBS offering to turn over the documents?
I haven’t heard even a whisper of an offer. But, if they stand by the documents, then it would make perfect sense for them to turn them over, right? So lets see them.
The answer to this debate is just one step away from resolution. Turn over the original Guard documents and let other experts have a crack at them, then lets see what the majority concludes and hear any additional debate.
Somehow, I doubt that CBS is going to turn the documents over without a fight. For all their hype about the “moral duty” of the press to question a sitting president, they don’t seem to be too open to being questioned themselves.
Media arrogance at its best.