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September 09, 2004

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» Document Disclosure: from The Volokh Conspiracy
I don't care much about Swift Vets, Winter Soldiers, Air National Guard stories or draft deferments. I am more concerned about what a prospective President will do over the next four years than what he may have done (or not done) decades ago. And I h... [Read More]

Comments

Pouncer

Kevin Drum has seen documents proving Kerry WAS in Cambodia that Christmas?

Kevin has seen documents proving Kerry's boat struck a mine during his Bronze Star engagement?

Kevin has seen documents proving that the anti-war protestor who appeared before Congress to denounced Vietnam veterans as killers reminding one of Genghis Khan was some sort of evil twin, clone, or rubber-masked imposter, but NOT John Kerry?

This is big news. I want to see those documents, too!

TexasToast

Tom

You keep spinning that the White House has released all the records. What about the copies of the Killian memos they just released yesterday? I wonder how long those were sitting around at the White House. It looks like the rule going to be "we'll release it when you find out about it - and we will veto all FOIA requests."

You keep pointing to a double standard that doesn't appear to exist.

martin

Meanwhile theres a fucking war on.

mcg

Speaking of documents, listen to what one Powerline reader had to say about the Barnes memos:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/007760.php

Short version: they are forgeries.

Brainster

What amazes me is the continuing claim that the Swiftees have been proven to be lying about anything. Consider:

1. They claimed that Kerry was never in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968. Status: Kerry acknowledges lying on this point.

2. They claimed that Rassmann fell off the boat because of Kerry's evasive action on March 13, not from a mine exploding nearby. Status: Kerry acknowledged this during a eulogy for one of his crewmembers, despite claims to to contrary in numerous newspaper reports and Tour of Duty.

3. They were not sure if Rassmann was on Kerry's boat or another, but almost all accounts (including Tour of Duty) prior to July have Rassmann falling off another boat. However, Rassmann acknowledged in his Wall Street Journal piece that he was on Kerry's boat.

Indeed, if you were to say that Kerry's Swiftee supporters have been proven to be lying you'd be closer to the mark:

1. At the Democratic Convention, PCF-94 crewmember David Alston gave accounts of two incidents regarding Kerry's command of that boat; interestingly, Kerry wasn't there for the first incident, and Alston wasn't there for the second incident.

2. Fellow Swift boat skipper Skip Barkley claimed in Tour of Duty to have been with Kerry at the Bronze Star incident; the Washington Post has proven that he was not.

Ripclawe

They realize that Kerry has not authorized releases or knock down without a doubt any of the swiftboat vets claims. They just don't care about being honest about it.

Captain Salty

Do I realize that John Kerry hasn't released all of his Vietnam-era records? No. Do I care? No.

The available documentation and eyewitness reports suggest an insidious, unfair smear of John Kerry's reputation -- on an even higher order than the character assassination hit pulled on John McCain in 2000.

The available evidence, to me, is convincing enough not to speculate on what sealed records might or might not say. They could hold some silver bullet that would expose John Kerry as a coward, or they might provide support for Kerry's later claims of war atrocities -- and release of them might rip open a 30-year-old wound.

In a larger picture, this presidential campaign shouldn't be about Vietnam, but about the problems existing today in this country. So, I'd rather just see the entire issue go away than release a bunch more documents that will split the country apart even further.

Kevin Drum has done great work pulling the threads of the story together and providing a coherent picture of George Bush's military service. I don't think anyone should base their vote on this issue (frankly, I think this issue only soldifies pre-made decisions), but if it is your bag ... he's got the goods.

jim jones

Well, if George Bush was AWOL by the UMCJ definition you need to consider one thing:

Was he really subject to UCMJ?

QandO covers what being subject to UCMJ really means here: http://qando.net/archives/004044.htm

In short, unless the texas ANG was placed under federal service during the time Bush was assigned, then he could not have been subject to UCMJ and thus could not have been AWOL. I checked and during that time, it was not.

okay.

Now, you can discuss whether he fulfilled his obligations or not. But the discussion of AWOL is silly since he can no more be AWOL than Kevin Drum since Drum is also not subject to UCMJ.

I think Kevin Drum is pissed at the SBVFT attacks on Jerry and is squeezing water from a stone that was previously squeezed and found to be devoid of water.

And Captain Salty, Bush is not making Vietnam the cnterpiece of his campaign. Kerry is. Show me where Bush has stood up and talked about his service in the same way as Kerry.

In fact, the amount of time Kerry has spent talking about his service actually exceeds the amount of time he spent there which is 4 months (or as he describes it 2 tours, funny I thought a tour was 12 months).

jim jones

Also, if one os to compare how actual vets feel about things.

- Bush service
- Kerry service

Then how come Bush is getting the endorsement from the 2 major veterans groups

http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20040908-032423-4443r.htm

i.e. VFW and American Legion

funny that. I would have figured that they would have gone for the "war hero"

Captain Salty

And Captain Salty, Bush is not making Vietnam the cnterpiece of his campaign. Kerry is. Show me where Bush has stood up and talked about his service in the same way as Kerry.

George Bush chose to make his military service a legitimate campaign issue when he took the unprecedented step of wearing a military uniform while also acting as civilian overseer of the military. No other president -- not Grant, not Eisenhower -- did that.

Again, we shouldn't pick our president based on what they did 30 years ago, but rather on what they'd do in the next four. Anything else is cheap political theater.

Slartibartfast

Cap'n, as far as I've been able to see, a flight suit is NOT a uniform. If you'd been on that plane as a civilian, you'd be wearing the same outfit.

Kathy

Anyone who flies in a fighter has to wear the flight suit. First, it's no-mex (fire retardent), second, you need to wear the G-suit to squeeze so you can breathe when pulling G's. Oh, and let's not forget the helmet.

I guess that means all those congressmen, journalists, including Greta Van Sustern, Lester Holt, et al should never have been allowed to wear the green bag, along with the helmet and g-suit?

And, your candidate, walking around in his leather flight jacket (which he didn't earn the right to wear just walking around), is ridiculous.

Also, Kerry was a pilot in his years at Yale, belonged to the Aviation Club there. Didn't want to go into the service as a pilot -- Gee, I wonder why. Could it have been because the commitment was too long? Let's see, one year of pilot training, another 6 - 7 months of upgrade training (longer than his time in Vietnam)-- all with their own commitments.

All I see here is another try by the leftists who failed in the 60's and 70's to ruin the military are at it again. It's just ironic, that it's still the same crowd trying to complete the job they couldn't do then and won't be able to do now.

Kerry tried to defame and demoralize this entire nation after he came back from Vietnam -- he lied about the atrocities, he is basing his whole campaign on what he did -- his fabrications, which he has never recanted, never said that they were outright lies, should be enough justification for anyone not to vote for him.

Oh, and let's not forget his 19 year Senate Record that we are not supposed to question or have opinions on. He can't even remember if he's Kerrey or just plain Kerry -- nothing like claiming someone else's votes as your own.

Bill Peschel

"The available documentation and eyewitness reports suggest an insidious, unfair smear of John Kerry's reputation -- on an even higher order than the character assassination hit pulled on John McCain in 2000."

Really? You've seen "available documentation" that Kerry was in Cambodia, the incident that was "seared, seared" into his memory, and which he used on the floor of the U.S. Senate to attack Reagan?

Wow. I'm impressed.

TM

What about the copies of the Killian memos they just released yesterday? I wonder how long those were sitting around at the White House.

First, welcome back, Texas.

Second, I don't think you have any evidence at all that those documents came from the White House, or even government archives. The CBS stories I have seen (IIRC) say that CBS won't say where they came from. My guess is that Killian kept a secret stash of docs (duplicates, we hope), but CBS isn't saying.

Captain Salty

Cap'n, as far as I've been able to see, a flight suit is NOT a uniform. If you'd been on that plane as a civilian, you'd be wearing the same outfit.

Yes it is. You have to salute a pilot in a flight suit, just as if he were in his khakis. It's a military uniform.

Anyone who flies in a fighter has to wear the flight suit. First, it's no-mex (fire retardent), second, you need to wear the G-suit to squeeze so you can breathe when pulling G's. Oh, and let's not forget the helmet.

True enough, but the Lincoln was within helicopter range of the San Diego coast. He could have flown aboard in a helicopter -- he might even have a helicopter or two detailed specifically to him, as a matter of fact -- in civilian clothes, just as other presidents have.

Instead, he chose to fly aboard in an S-3 (sub-hunting plane, not a fighter, if you want to split hairs) wearing a flight suit, which is a military uniform.

Alternately, since the Lincoln was within visual distance of the California coast, he could have waited until the ship moored and walked on board ... wearing civilian clothes.

Point is that he broke precedent so he could score cheap political points. In doing so, he made his military service a legitimate target.

Really? You've seen "available documentation" that Kerry was in Cambodia, the incident that was "seared, seared" into his memory, and which he used on the floor of the U.S. Senate to attack Reagan?

My position is that the bulk of Kerry's story is supported by the bulk of available evidence. His entire Vietnam narrative is not supported by all the evidence, just the majority. If you've followed the link over to where I've laid out my position clearly, you'd see that.

Was he in Cambodia in December, January, or ever? Who cares. Just as I don't care if George Bush was grounded because he blew off a physical he was ordered to take.

Good God people. This was 30 years ago. We're not is such good shape right now that we can afford to ignore current problems in favor of hashing out who was the bigger fuck up during Vietnam (pardon the language).

Slartibartfast

True enough, but the Lincoln was within helicopter range of the San Diego coast. He could have flown aboard in a helicopter -- he might even have a helicopter or two detailed specifically to him, as a matter of fact -- in civilian clothes, just as other presidents have.

Irrelevant. Either the flight suit is a uniform or it's not. Obviously, since civilians too must wear one in a like situation, it's not.

Reid

Captain Salt: You are wrong. Kerry's service has everything to do with this election because it is the best indicator of how he will act in the war on terror. And, the indications are not good.

Conversely, we have George W. Bush's past four years of active prosecution of the war. We know his qualifications.

Mostly, Kerry's service record is a means to wake up people who are not paying attention. Even a cursory examination of the record indicates that Kerry will cut and run from Iraq, just as he advocated cutting and running from SE Asia.

If we leave Iraq and the Middle East in as big a mess as we left SE Asia, we are in for some seriously bad times. The attacks to come would make 9-11 look like a sleepover.

C'mon. You know it. I know it. The liberals want it. Maybe you want it. Say it with me: "Given the chance, Kerry will cut and run from Iraq."

TexasToast

Tom

I saw a story that said the WH released two of the Kilian memos without comment - it did not say they released copies that had been faxed to the WH by CBS. It appears that CBS is the only source.

I am still puzzled why the White House released them - and why only two of them.

(Tin foil thought - the story of Kark Rove's bugging his own office in the Texas governor's race in 1986. Is this a big Rovian "honey trap" ?) :)

Captain Salty

Irrelevant. Either the flight suit is a uniform or it's not. Obviously, since civilians too must wear one in a like situation, it's not.

Look, dude, if it's a military uniform, it's a military uniform at all times. Civilians don't wear military uniforms. Period. And, although you could maybe argue an exception in extreme circumstances (things aren't black and white), in this case they chose to deck him out in a military uniform when there were options not to.

Mostly, Kerry's service record is a means to wake up people who are not paying attention.

If it applies to John Kerry, it applies to George Bush. I say it applies to neither of them, since Vietnam was 30 years ago and people get older, more responsibile, more mature. That is, unless you're unwilling to admit that someone is capable of learning from their mistakes.

If you disagree, that's your prerogative. But, don't tell me I'm wrong just because I see things differently.

Bostonian

Captain Salty,
Wearing a flight uniform once is not the same as endlessly bringing up one's Vietnam service, starting a speech with "Reporting for duty," and being accompanied everywhere by your "band of brothers."

So Bush wore a flight uniform for a photo-op once. Big deal. It's not like he's not a pilot.

Bostonian

Readers, has anyone been able to detect what the WaPo meant when it claimed that "the Post's research shows that both accounts contain significant flaws and factual errors. "?

When I read the WaPo's piece, the flaws & errors they highlighted were Kerry's.

TM

Tex, your return has lent me inspiration... Developing, in a new post.

Retief

Jim Jones, Actually it's Bush and the Swift Boat liars who are making Vietnam the center of their campaign. The center of Kerry's campaign is a more recent war in Iraq and Bush's continuing failure to defeat our enemies there. Also he continuing failure to defeat Al Qaeda. Also his continuing failure on the economy. And the disaster that is Bush's federal budget. Like Reid says we have Bush's three years of active prosecution of the war with nothing but failure to show for it. We know his qualifications.

Captain Salty

Wearing a flight uniform once is not the same as endlessly bringing up one's Vietnam service, starting a speech with "Reporting for duty," and being accompanied everywhere by your "band of brothers."

Who's saying they're equivalent? I said George Bush made his military service a legitimate campaign target when he tried to pass himself off as a manly man by wearing a pilot's uniform. What he did was tried to score cheap political points by taking advantage of the natural respect most Americans have for the military uniform and what it stands for -- sacrifice and duty for country instead of political leader.

In some ways the one photo op was worse than hyping his military service, because it blurred the lines between civilian commander in chief and the military, which is supposed to be neutral in political affairs.

But, again, this shouldn't be what determines our next president.

Dean

Captain Salty:

Look, dude, if it's a military uniform, it's a military uniform at all times. Civilians don't wear military uniforms. Period.

Is body-armor part of the uniform? How about the "fritz" style helmet? How about BDUs?

There are civilian contractors, reporters, and various other civilians who wear all of those things. Some even carry military-issued sidearms. Were these folks all inducted into the military?

Captain Salty

Dean,

Give me a break. Honestly.

He wore the flightsuit so he could fly in the S-3 to an aircraft carrier within easy helicopter range. It's a military uniform, and as far as I know, none of the contractors associated with our government fly the S-3.

He wore a military uniform for a political photo op, blurred the lines between the apolitical military and its political civilian oversight, and made his own military service record a legitimate campaign target because of it.

But, beyond that ... there are more important things for us to worry about than what Kerry/Bush did 30 years ago.

Dean

Captain Salty:

Then you'd be quite incorrect. There are contractors who fly aboard US naval aircraft, including those requiring catapault take-offs and landings (such as the S-3). And they most certainly wear the flight suit.

Cecil Turner

"George Bush made his military service a legitimate campaign target when he tried to pass himself off as a manly man by wearing a pilot's uniform."

You can "target" it all you like . . . it just isn't very persuasive. Unlike, say, if the candidate's only discernible position on national defense was to point at Max Cleland and claim: "We may be a little older now, we may be a little grayer, but we still know how to fight for our country." In that case, you could expect a bit more scrutiny on his military record. And if that record shows someone who got two of his Purple Hearts from his own grenades, while enemy guns were silent, it's not gonna help him any. At this point it would be useful to discuss his Iraq policy. But until he gets one . . .

captainsalty

Cecil Turner,

Thank you for finally posting something sensible. None of it is very persuasive -- not the attacks on Kerry, not the attacks on Bush.

It sounded like Kerry was coming out with the start of an Iraq policy the other day -- get the boys home in his first term -- but then again it might be a modern-day version of Nixon's "My plan to end the fighting in Vietnam is to invade Laos and Cambodia."

Cecil Turner

Well, I can't really argue with that. My problem with Kerry has very little to do with his Vietnam record (though his Senate testimony still grates)--it's his lack of a coherent policy on the most important issue of the day. As a first step, he owes us an answer to "whether, knowing what we know now, he would have supported going into Iraq?" And "Yes, I would have voted for the authority" is not an answer.

Captain Salty

Agreed. What happened 30 years ago is a distraction from more important issues.

Slartibartfast

Look, dude, if it's a military uniform, it's a military uniform at all times.

And if it ain't a military uniform, it's a uniform never. Anyone can wear one, and there's no rank insignia. I'm not sure what criteria is left that makes it a military uniform. It might as well be scrubs, or a coverall.

Feel free to continue arguing from a position of utter wrongness. Hey, someone's got to do it.

jim jones

Capt Salty, you are being ridiclous with the its a uniform thing. I worked on a contract with the US navy to develop a LIDAR (laser radar) system for detecting underwater mines. We had the system mounted on a blackhawk for testing. They told me I had to wear a flight suit because of safety issues. So did I suddenly get inducted into the military without knowing it. Come on. Your logic is exceptionally lame. Give it up already.

Also, tell me this. What is the big joke John kerry, "by the way served in Vietnam" about anyway. He spent more time on his campaign explicitly focussed on talking about his 4 months, excuse me 2 tours. Rasmussen and his band of brothers went everywhere. God sakes, he's spent more time talking about it than he actually served

Bush has talked about his Vietnam service how many times.

So who exactly is focused on 30 years ago. Whay can't kerry take "a" position on the Iraq war. Just one that lasts more than a week. For or against, that is all I am asking.

Skip Kent

It really cracks me up the whole dynamic of "We should just ignore what happened 30 years ago . . ."

Do they say this out of some real sense of moral virtue?

No. They say this because what happened 30 years ago is very damning to John Kerry and not damning at all to George Bush, so please, can we . . . um . . . take the fight somewhere else?

I almost respect the attempt to make things 'relevant' by saying that 'Bush has screwed up the war', but that's really not true.

At least not to Saddam or the Taliban!

But . . .

I know, Saddam was just a regular ol' fellah minding his own business whom we picked on for no reason, yadda yadda yadda. Go cry me a river for Saddam and his 'soverign nation' and then we'll talk some more. The argument that 'Bush has screwed up the war' also gives NO indication of what Kerry would do differently. By (one of) Kerry's own (numerous and condradictory) admission(s), he would have done what 'the other guy' did and supposedly wouldn't cut-and-run.

Okay, pal. Whatever you say! I'll take the devil I know, thankyou very much.

Sound judgement is an important quality in a President. Kerry has shown poor judgement in the Vietnam past he loves to toot, and in his choice of campaign staff, most of whom have quite recently recieved walking papers. Bush shows great judgement, in big things like waging a wise and timely war in the face of great adversity, and in little things, like great photo-ops which also serve to inspire our fighting service men.

capt joe

It looks like Bill at INDC has an exclusive.

He tracked down one of the two experts in the world on typefaces. Someone who does forensic work on document identification. That guy says there is a 90% probability that those docs are fake.

The reason why he is not 100% certain is the number of times they were photocopied (blurs and photocopier noise).

Now given that CBS got those docs and gave then to the WH. Where did CBS get them. Very Interesting. But read for yourself.

  • He looked through old papers he's written, and noted that he's come up against the inconsistency of the "4" several previous times with forgeries that attempt to duplicate old proportional spaced documents with a computer word processing program.
  • Regarding the small "th" after the date, Dr. Bouffard told me that it was possible to order specialty keys that would duplicate the automatic miniaturization completed by word processors after a numerical date, but it was certainly not standard, and wouldn't make a lot of sense in a military setting. "That by itself, while suspicious, is not impossible, but in conjunction with the (font irregularity of the) number four, it is really significant," he said.
  • Dr. Bouffard said that signature analysis isn't that relevant because the signature could have easily been copied and pasted onto one of the photocopied forgeries from another document.
  • He said that he didn't know who CBS contacted to verify the document's authenticity, but that there is really only one other man that may be more qualified to determine authentic typefaces than himself. I think that the burden of proof may be on CBS to reveal this information.
stan

"Look, dude, if it's a military uniform, it's a military uniform at all times. Civilians don't wear military uniforms. Period."

Obviously, dude, you're unaware of two things. 1) DoD CIVILIANS working as flight crews and civilian contractors wear them. They're obviously not members of the military. 2) The POTUS doesn't fall under uniform regulations.

With no service insignia and no rank, there's nothing about the garment that makes it a uniform...

Captain Salty

All right, all right. I thought this was headed towards something sensible, but...

Okay, you're all right. George Bush had no option but to put on a military-issue flightsuit and fly out to the USS Abraham Lincoln, which was so close to San Diego that you could see the shore from the flightdeck, in a sub-hunting aircraft. Flying him out in one of the president's helicopters was also impossible, even though helicopters during past administrations have landed on aircraft carrier flightdecks.

Flightsuits aren't military uniforms. You're all right. I got two myself.

Not only that, but since John Kerry wasn't in Cambodia in December 1968, today he'd immediately pull our troops from Iraq and leave the place in chaos.

Slartibartfast

I love the smell of napalm in the morning. And the smell of burning straw.

Dean

Captain Salty:

(Is that CPT or CAPT, btw?)

You might have scored better w/ the following line of argument:

As we're approaching the third anniversary of 9-11, it is amazing that so much hype and effort is going into covering the events of a war 35 years past, rather than events three years past, never mind where we're going for the next four years.

Whether Dubya should have gone to Vietnam, whether Kerry was in Cambodia, are irrelevant to the far larger issues of fighting the War on Terror.

Let's be frank: The Kerry people made a gaffe by talking too much about Vietnam. They should talk about Iraq (and health care and the economy and the War on Terror). And even if they won't, the blogosphere should. Etc., etc.


But you decided, like Kerry, to go down a blind alley about a flight-suit (one, btw, that got hashed out when he landed on the Lincoln, what was that, over a year ago?); don't blame us for that choice.

pj

Hey, not only did Bush deck himself out in a flightsuit, but he wore a nametag labeled "Commander in Chief" to desginate his rank -- what an insecure loser.

But set aside the trivia, BUSH REFUSED TO COMPLY WITH A DIRECT ORDER FROM A SUPERIOR OFFICER. He was ordered to take a physical by May 14. He refused, based on HIS belief that he wasn't going to fly anymore, or HIS belief that he'd go to Alabama. But his superior officer ORDERED him to take the physical, and he disobeyed that order. And his superior's officer's views on the matter didn't change. Bush was stripped of his flight status for disobeying that order.

That is dishonorable conduct -- regardless of Poppy's friends ability to get him an honorable discharge.

Compare that to the trivial criticism of Kerry above -- it is silly.

You've got a guy who disobeyed a direct order, and his lied about it, and covered it up for 30 years.

Deep down, all you righties now know that this was shameful conduct by Bush -- in military terms he committed the cardinal sin.

Slartibartfast

What's that? Smells like burning hair.

pj, are you talking about the forged direct order, or some other version?

pj

Slartibartfast -- how 'bout we set aside the authenticity for a moment, because that's one that can be confirmed one way or the other through other means. Can we agree that if its not a forgery, then Bush is a liar and a criminal (in breach of military law)?

Slartibartfast

In return, let me ask you a question:

If you'd ever gotten a direct order while in the military, would you think that anything you've seen coming out of CBS bears the least resemblance to said orders?

pj

You're just avoiding the issue -- I'll admit right away that I have no particular skill in assessing the genuiness of these documents. Have you ever gotten an order from the Texas National Guard circa 1973? I've got no clue what they look like -- in fact, I was in kindergarten in 1973, so the only papers from that era that I'm familiar with were printed in crayon. CBS apparently did a lot of investigating to determine the authenticity of the physical appearance and the chain of custody. But I'll give you the forgery point as an open question for the moment -- the view that its a forgery is far, far, far from proven, but let's let that play out over the next week or so, we'll get more info soon enough. Knowing your position on the authenticity, do you disagree that disregard of a direct order to take a physical based on a pilot's own views of the issue would be derelection of duty and a criminal offense?

capt joe

Well, "direct orders" are not written that way in military memos. I get the feeling the "memo" (which is looking more and more forged by each minute) was written by a non military person who tried to appear military.

A "direct order" would be fairly precise so as not to allow weasal room or confusion. The "direct order" would reference the subordinate by full rank and name and then mention a time and place.

This writing is too imprecise.

As to the memo, Killian's own son is disputing it saying it did not come from them. CBS indicated it had come from personal records. So whose personal records did it come from. Also paper of that time was 8.5" x 10.5" (http://www.afandpa.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Pulp_and_Paper/Fun_Facts/The_U_S__Standard_Paper_Size.htm), so why isn't there a photocopy line down one side.

Anyway, it looks like CBS rushed with it before they were able to really check it out.

Bet you anything, that this will all be down the media memory hole is a day or so once the media clues in.

Greg F

CBS apparently did a lot of investigating to determine the authenticity of the physical appearance and the chain of custody.

Poppycock, what proof do you have for such an assertion? In the document dated August 18th, 1973 it states:

"Standt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush."

Problem is, Standt retired in 1972. There is so much wrong with the documents it isn't funny. Why don't you start here.

"the view that its a forgery is far, far, far from proven..."

You have it backwards, the burden of proof is with CBS to prove the documents are authentic.

Slartibartfast

Here's a picture of some actual Texas National Guard orders. Some resemblance, eh?

Of course, there's scads of orders in Bush's records as previously released. Take a look. There's a few things missing from the obvious forgeries.

Cecil Turner

Even if you accept the documents as legit, there isn't much there. The 4 May memo to get a flight physical is improperly formatted (which doesn't really matter), but appears to be addressed to him at a residence (5000 Longmont #8), which implies it was mailed. With a ten-day time frame, it's perfectly plausible he didn't receive it before the deadline. The 19 May memo talks about the physical again, and apparently Killian is trying to talk him into it ("I advised him of our investment in him and his commitment")--as opposed to telling him to report immediately for a counseling session (or court martial) for failing to obey a direct order. In any event, it completely discredits the former memo.

The 1 Aug memo is again improperly formatted (it should be addressed to higher HQ, with copies to Bush, file, operations, and whomever else needs to know), but is essentially a form letter removing Bush from flight status for failing to get a physical--which is old news, and not very uncommon. The fact that higher headquarters declined to conduct an investigation suggests they at least acquiesced with the decision not to bother with a flight physical. Paragraph 4 (to fill the billet with a more seasoned Vietnam vet) is the bottom line on why it wasn't terribly important.

Killian's son suggested there was a mixture of legit and falsified memos (and singles out the 18 Aug 73 one as dubious). That makes more sense, but they all appear to've been retyped at a minimum. This is going to severely damage somebody's credibility . . . but I suspect it won't be the President's.

TM

Josh Marshall joins in praising Kevin Drum's sage commentary about the Kerry documents.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2004_09_05.php#003454

Gary B.

Sad Sack imitating Jahn Fonda Kerry-girl told us his Vietnam service was what qualified him to be president. The SwiftBoatVets said bullshit, you're not qualified to run a lemonade stand. Maybe teach a Ben a dick Arnold class on how to be a traitor and fuck over your fellow veterans for political and personal gain without feeling guilty is something he could do.

But he reported for duty and when questions arose from the guys who served with him, the fucking idiot tells President to "Bring it On". George Bush has nothing to do with it? And he can't even demand that the SwiftVets stop attacking Kerry anymore than he could tell Moore to quit attacking him. The SwiftVets brought it on, and Kerry's been AWOL from answering a single question about the charges. Wow, what a courageous display of leadership. Is this how he would act as president? He says he'd be better than Bush, he'd be more responsible and the buck would always stop at his desk. Kerry can't even get a gripe on his campaign, how does impersonating Gomer Pyle maike him think he could handle running the country?

Greg F

"Josh Marshall joins in praising Kevin Drum's sage commentary about the Kerry documents.

The blind leading the blind.

John Thacker

And of course there's Kerry claiming a nonexistent Silver Star "with V," which isn't awarded. There's a nice list of open questions for Kerry here, done fairly.

If you want a "consistent narrative" about Kerry, it's fairly easy to construct one. He sought deferments, and got some. When at some point he was drafted by the Army, he did not dodge the draft, but did volunteer for the Navy to serve on Swift Boats, which at that time were engaged in very low-danger offshore activities, to avoid serving in a more dangerous Army role. Their role ended up being changed, but he served anyway. Once serving, he seems to have filled his role adequately and with physical courage. However, he also seems to have strongly pushed for Purple Hearts and other medals to be awarded under somewhat questionable or borderline cases. This is significant because with those Purple Hearts (the first especially being dubious, according to admitted and written documention), he was able to secure an extremely early release from his tour of duty. After coming back his anti-war activities were as reported, with various notorious allegations of daily war crimes, meeting with the Vietnamese, and being present at the VVAW meeting where assassination was discussed as a tactic. (Kerry opposed, but he did initially deny being present until FBI files came out.)

With regards to his service, as opposed to the antiwar activities, Kerry seems to have served honorably and followed the law, but certainly seems to have attempted to manipulate the rules in order to serve as small an amount of time as possible and to minimize the risk to himself. In this way, the "coherent narrative" is very similar to that of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, both of whom sought deferments and other ways around service, but avoiding any law-breaking or such.

Cecil Turner

"In this way, the "coherent narrative" is very similar to that of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, both of whom sought deferments and other ways around service, but avoiding any law-breaking or such."

Sorry, but that's simply not true. The National Guard is service--not a "way around" it. Leaving aside the risk of non-combat service in century-series fighters, being a combat pilot is the most dangerous specialty in the military. And GWB volunteered for a unit that was actively involved in combat operations at the time. Ascribing those actions to risk-avoidance is nonsensical. (Though he very likely wanted to garner some useful training and avoid the cannon-fodder replacement policies of the time.)

I also don't believe Kerry's motive was to avoid danger (for which, getting 3 PH's isn't a very bright plan). Officers can (and do) generally avoid dangerous duty if they wish--and anyone who is in a risky job at least consented to be there. He appears to've been medal-hunting, but more likely for self-aggrandizement or future political gain.

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