60 Minutes Bush National Guard Docs Forged?

There are 193 TrackBacks (not including links from InstaPundit and Drudge) and counting on this big story from The Big Trunk at Power Line. He’s updating constantly.

I noted the story early today via Glenn Reynolds and saw a lot of discussion of it elsewhere as I perused the blogosphere this afternoon but, frankly, find the whole thing so mindnumbingly boring that I decided not to post on it.

As I’ve noted several times previously, a candidate’s military service matters only to the extent that it sheds light on his likely performance in office. This is especially true for those seeking the presidency, since it carries with it the hat of Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces. But given that George W. Bush has been President for nearly four years, and leading a war effort for three of those, one would think that service as an 0-2 would be rather irrelevant at this stage. It would be rather like deciding whether to re-appoint Richard Myers to a second term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff based on his performance as an ROTC cadet at Kansas State.

The story is interesting, however, as an indication of the scandal bias of the mainstream press and the power of the blogosphere to “fact check their ass.” McQ has some particularly good observations on the former count, while Dale Franks chimes in with an ironic CBS graphic that touches on both themes. Kevin Aylward dubs this “Rather’s Trent Lott Moment.”

Update (2105): Stephen Hayes has an interesting summary piece, “Is It a Hoax?” in the Weekly Standard.

Update (9/10 1022): Matt Yglesias points out that IBM invented typewriters with proportional fonts in 1941 and that, “More and more this forgeries theory is looking like just some more rightwing BS.”

Developing. . .

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004, The Presidency, , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. dw says:

    Boing Boing has more on it too.

    I had to explain to someone that Kerry’s letters weren’t forgeries. Apparently, there are a lot of people out there who have completely forgotten about the IBM Selectric and all the amazing advances in typing it brought about. I remember well the Selectric typeballs.

    Anyway, these docs really do look like hoaxes. The only way they could be real is if the originals were in such bad shape that somewhere along the line they were OCR’d and rebuilt. Still, you’d think there’d be an original to coorobrate the document.

    Doesn’t surprise me that this slipped by CBS. Fact-checking at major media houses is now non-existent. That includes Fox.

  2. jd watson says:

    Mr. Joyner:
    The significance of this is that someone sympathetic to, and possibly associated with, the Democratic Party attempted to influence a Federal Election using forgeries, and that a major network, CBS, was negligent in vetting the story and therefore complicit.

  3. BigFire says:

    Democratic Underground’s train of thought: This is a forgery made by Karl Rove to discredit both CBS and the Kerry Campaign.

    Hillary Clinton Conspiracy thought: Kerry campaign is eseentially run by Clinton people after the diasterious month of August. They’d be in position to submit this blatant falsehood via a lowerlevel Kerry campaign worker to CBS knowing full well that CBS will implicitly trust Kerry campaign. This will sink Kerry campaign, while doing minimun damage to Hillary’s chance (afterall, if they managed to trace back, it’ll be to Kerry campaign). This clears Hillary ’08 run for President.

  4. Paul says:

    Hey James…

    Maybe it shouldn’t matter… But clearly it does.

  5. bains says:

    The reason these stories are so compelling has nothing to do with candidates’ actions 35 years ago, and frankly the candidates themselves.

    The real story is our fourth estate, the traditional media. How much power do they wield, what biases are they propagating, are they trustworthy, and are they really serving the interests of all this nation?

  6. Dodd says:

    BigFire’s speculation that the Clintonistas newly ensconced in Kerry’s HQ were behind this doesn’t work. As more of this story comes out, it becomes clear that CBS has had them for several weeks. It is starting to look as if they originally came from the DNC via the Kerry campaign, but well before the infusion of Clinton people a couple of weeks ago.

  7. Bithead says:

    Matt Yglesias has ceased being a serious source, and is there merely as comedy relief. If we accept his story about the Selectric one must wonder what anyone under the rank of a two-star general would be doing wiht a typewriter that cost at that time more than the average car.

    Add to this the report from the man’s family he couldn’t type at all, much less on a machine of such complexity.

    I understand he’s trying to hold up his end, but the arguemts he attempts to mount are more transparentthan the forged documents themselves.

  8. attila says:

    CBS, aka: Mainstream Media (MM). To the unfortunate innocents among us who blindly accept as ‘fact’ every fishwrap item MM dishes out daily, whatcha see is whatcha deserve. Some posts herein were well stated and sensible, but nary a mention of the issue of old fashioned truth re the documents …


  9. Nate says:

    If you read the Boston globe article its pretty much been put to rest they are real documents.


  10. Authenticator says:

    It’s likely the DNC was involved as well as the Kerry campaign. But it’s too early to excuse the Clinton people. Kerry’s campaign has had liason with several former Clinton people for several months. You might call the Kerry campaign “well infiltrated.” Plenty of time for a mischief maker, a traitor if you will, to slip in the poison pill.

    These documents are clearly forgeries. The list of mistakes made by the forgers is too long for this comment box.

  11. Mbaehr says:

    Dan Rather keeps saying he “knows the documents to be authentic” Well Dan, it is not what you know, it is what you can prove. Who do you think you are, Walter Cronkite?