You know, one thing that still burns me about this forgery story is that the underlying story was correct, but no one seems to care. And really, the underlying truth of how Bush evaded his military duty is the most important issue of it all. The secretary who typed up memos for Killian said she hadn’t typed these particular memos, but that she had typed some that said the same things in different words. That fact is always glossed over by the fanatical right-wingers who would defend Bush to the death (as long as its not their own), and who have taken such joy in Rather’s disgrace.
James Goodale has an article in the latest New York Review of Books where he hits hard on that correctness and criticizes the CBS report on the incident.
Lost in the commotion over the authenticity of the documents is that the underlying facts of Rather’s 60 Minutes report are substantially true. Bush did not take the physical exam required of all pilots; his superiors gave him the benefit of any doubt; he did receive special treatment and Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Killian, Bush’s commanding officer, was unhappy with the loss of ANG’s investment in him when Bush informed Killian he was leaving for Alabama. Before the broadcast, Mary Mapes, the CBS producer of the program, confirmed the facts in the documents with retired Major General Bobby Hodges, who had been Killian’s superior in the ANG. Later Hodges told the panel he did not think the documents were authentic, but did not disagree that the facts were substantially correct.
Add to this the fact that no one knows for sure who the forged papers came from, and it’s hard not to stray into frootbat/tinfoil territory. But then it’s easy to entertain tinfoil theories in any story where Karl Rove may be involved. He’s really capable of anything.
I know that the country has moved on from the issue of Bush’s lies and evasions in this matter, and the truth of it all will probably never get the hearing it deserves. But Bush’s lack of character was clear in his actions back then, as it is clear in his actions now. Even though it’s not a central issue any more, it ought to be.