Monday, September 13, 2004

Be on your Guard

Ed Cone notes that he was going to write about the CBS "GuardPapersGate" thing, but Dave Winer had pretty much nailed it. Guess that goes double for me, having to cite someone who recognized that someone else had already done the job.

But I do have some questions:

1. Does anyone seriously doubt that Bush did in fact bail on his commitments, both when he was supposed to be in Alabama and later when he was supposed to connect with the Guard in Boston? Anyone? Why the heck do we care that these particular documents appear to have been forged? (Frankly, Peter Duncan pounded the snot of those guys at CBS. There is really nothing left to say, except sing the HEYHEYHEY: GOODBYE! song to Dan R).

2. Does anyone else wonder if a Republican sympathizer / free-lancer came up with this to discredit both CBS (for being goofs) and Kerry (for not doing anything other than being alive, but appearing to benefit from CBS's using the documents to attack Bush)? I mean, the things are so clearly fake. The IBM ball change, the perfect spacing on the superscript. If the Democrats had actually done this, they would have used a typewriter. They may be dumb enough to nominate Kerry, but they aren't stupid.

(UPDATE: Michael Totten had pretty much the same reaction, but earlier than mine. Nod to CL, just for being CL. And his use of the razor does have much to recommend it.)

(UPDATE AGAIN: Angryouser and angryouser...Nod to Dale)


Anonymous said...

Point 2 is a compelling argument. Similarly, Kerry is such an obvious phony (reenacting scenes of derring-do for home movies!?!) that it's silly to go to all the trouble of examining the technical accuracy of the Swifties' various claims. And I certainly don't need to worry about a news organization that stands ready to use forged documents to report the news--I can still trust it to report the larger truth.

However, your point 1 makes no sense. Why would the Rovepublicans think they could successfully plant such ridiculous fakes with CBS? Wouldn't that have given Dan Rather the irresistible chance to report on a clumsy attempt by the Bushies to discredit the media and the Democrats? Of course it would.

Applying the "cui bono?" test leads to only one conclusion: Dan Rather himself forged the documents in order to boost the sagging ratings for "60 Minutes II." This clever gambit has yielded tons of free publicity from Drudge alone.

Mungowitz said...

As Jimmy Buffet would say, "This point is so obvious, it was like the Charleston, it plumb evaded me."

Kudos. You have ended the discussion, by solving the mystery, and outing Dan.

Anonymous said...

Well, you're a smart guy to see past my dyslexic misnumbering of your points.

BTW, I found someone who does indeed doubt that Bush bailed on his Guard commitments. This comment comes from someone claiming to have 15 years Marine Corps experience, posted here:

A guardsman or reservist needs 50 Reserve Retirement Credits in a service year for it to be counted as "SAT", ie. satisfactorily completed. You get 15 points just for being under contract. The other 35 are obtained thru drill points (4 points per drill weekend - 5 if you report Friday night), 1 point for each day of "AT" - usually your 2 weeks of Active Training plus extra days/points if you leave on Friday instead of Sunday, correspondence courses, enlistment referrals, yada yada, and, oh yeah FLIGHT HOURS. Bush accrued more than the required 50 points in ALL 6 YEARS of his required service. In his first four years, he WELL EXCEEDED his requirements by 100 and 200 points.Reservists are not required to meet every drill if they give notice, have met their point requirements or made up drills/points, and especially not if they request absence and are given a CO's blessing. Not drilling for 6 months in '72 and 3 months in '73 is ABSOLUTELY IRRELEVANT. He doesn't need to. He only needs to fulfill his contract obligations of 6 completed years. And a completed year consists of 50 points, get it?...BTW, it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to be AWOL as a reservist unless you are mobilized and don't show up or bolt later.

Mungowitz said...

i was always better with symbols than numbers myself.

if i had been in prison 15 years, that wouldn't make me a lawyer. our marine friend here may be right about the point system, but the failure even to contact a Guard unit in New England doesn't seem to fit.

Anonymous said...

If you'd been in prison for even a week I'll bet you'd be very familiar with the parole board's point system. And I thought the NG flap was about Bush's move from Texas to Alabama. What's this about New England?

Oh, and to wrap myself in the mantle of self-constituted expert, I was in the Reserves for 6 years and only attended one summer training camp out of 6 possibles. There's no official record anywhere about any of that--they were informally excused absences based on nothing but the spoken word. So are you going to impugn my patriotism? I won't stand for it, you know, so don't you dare do that.

It's pretty funny to see how seriously people who've got absolutely no military experience treat the military. You seem to think it's some kind of hugely efficient administrative entity with files full of detailed records of everytbing that ever happened to anyone in uniform. If we're lucky--and we are--the military is good at one thing, which is kicking the other guys' asses. Other than that, it's a lot like the Department of Agriculture. But you can be sure of one thing: the people in the organization are fully aware of the rules governing their minimum necessary performance criteria. Just like John Kerry knew exactly how many grains of ass-embedded rice it would take to get that third Purple Heart and a ticket home.

Mungowitz said...

I can't tell if you're just yankin' my chain about the patriotism thing. Good on ya!

The only criticism that matters, to me, is that Bush DID NOT REPORT to the Boston guard unit, after he promised to do so.

So, I'm with you on the Alabama part. But I have heard no answer from Team Bush about the "Please come to the springtime" bit.

Oh, and that's a complete win for you, on the "prisoners understand parole points" thing. Mea culpa. Kerry clearly could count to three, as you say.

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