Recently Dan Rather, “retired” CBS News anchor, teared up at the premier of the deceptively titled movie “Truth,” starring Robert Redford. Redford is known as an activist for leftist causes. Previously, Redford visited Cuba and payed his respects to dictator Fidel Castro. To Redford and his Hollywood pals like Sean Penn and Danny Glover, it is Castro sí, Bush no.
The movie reportedly gives Rather’s side of the story of his forced retirement from CBS, brought on by his use of a “fake but accurate” letter regarding George W. Bush’s service in the Air National Guard. This was an attempt to defame Bush by portraying his service as inadequate at best, and as his being AWOL (absent without leave) or even as having “deserted” at worst.
Remember Dan Rather’s CBS “news” story that broke during the 2004 election season? Remember the letter, supposedly from George W. Bush’s commanding officer in the Texas Air National Guard? The letter stated that Bush had been absent for large portions of the service he claimed to have performed:
It soon became obvious that this letter was not written on a typewriter, but on a modern computer and printer:
● The font was Times New Roman, which was not offered on old typewriters.
● The letters were “proportional,” that is, m was wider than n, which was wider than i. On a typewriter, each letter takes up exactly the same width.
● The letters were “kerned,” that is, nested together. For example, fl, not f l as they would have appeared on a typewriter.
● Quotation marks and apostrophes were curly “smart,” not straight as they would have appeared on a typewriter.
● In 187th the th was written as a superscript, which was not available on a typewriter.
CBS “verified” the documents by interviewing the 86-year-old woman who had been the secretary for the supposed author, now conveniently dead, and for several others as well. She stated that she never typed those documents, but she recalled typing similar ones 32 years earlier.
That is, we had fabricated copies of nonexistent documents not typed by the secretary of a dead man. This gave “verify” a whole new meaning.
Even worse, the fabricated document didn’t arrive in the mail from an anonymous tipster. CBS solicited the document by asking a known anti-Bush activist if he could back up his accusations. Obligingly, the man sent what he said was a photocopy of a typewritten letter from 1973. But CBS was so stupid as to post it on the Internet. When the fraud was pointed out, the man was asked to provide the original letter. He said he had burned it. This doesn’t pass the laugh test.
The purported letter was an official record of the Air National Guard. It is a federal felony to prepare, or cause to be prepared, a false document for purposes of fraud. (26 U.S. Code § 7206 et al.) If I did that, I could be sent to federal prison for three years and fined $100,000. But media moguls got a pass. Perhaps no one expected them to be truthful in the first place, so it would be hard to prove that anyone was deceived.
When this fraud was revealed, Rather insisted that the letter was “fake but accurate.” Apparently Rather meant that it accurately reflected his own bias against Bush. This is the viewpoint of a propagandist, not a reporter. Rather “retired,” but did the media learn anything about altering evidence? Did liberals learn anything about the credibility of the media? Not really.
President Bush released his Air National Guard records. They show that he completed two years’ active duty for pilot training. They show that his subsequent years of service were all satisfactory years, meaning that he attended more than the required number of drills annually. They show that he was rated highly by his superiors. They show no letters of reprimand or other punishments. They show that he received an honorable discharge.
In short, all relevant questions were answered. What Bush did in the Guard was quite clear to anyone capable of being objective. This obviously excludes some liberal journalists.
Implicit in the argument over Bush’s service records is that they accurately reflect reality. Anyone who ever served in the military will question this assumption. My own story illustrates this point clearly.
I served in the Army Reserve from 1960 to 1963, prior to going on active duty with the Public Health Service. A few years ago, I obtained my records from the Army for the purpose of getting auto insurance from USAA, an excellent company that insures only active or former service members.
During those three years, I attended three sessions of annual active duty for training. But my records reflect only two sessions. I spent two weeks at Fort Ord with my unit, but it wasn’t recorded. I rode there with my unit in an Army bus, and I rode back again. My colleagues and superiors saw me every day, but it isn’t in my records.
What’s more, I was paid for two weeks’ duty at my pay grade, just as the Bush’s pay records show he was paid. But some now claim he may have been paid for drills he never attended. So if anyone could find my pay records, rather than verifying that I indeed did attend the third session of annual active duty for training, instead I could be accused of fraudulently collecting money from the government – a felony.
My commanding officer, who had landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, died in 2003 at age 85. But if he were alive, he wouldn’t remember me. It was a large unit of over 200 doctors, nurses, medics, and administrators. A colonel wouldn’t recall a lieutenant. But Bush’s critics claim that because a general doesn’t recall him when he was a lieutenant, that means he wasn’t there. What nonsense.
Even worse, during one of these training sessions, I was involved in a serious vehicle accident. I was injured and spent two days in the hospital at Army expense. There were two civilians in the other car. One was seriously injured; the other was killed. That risked a lawsuit, as well as criminal charges.
To show that the Army and I were blameless, I had to sign seven copies of a report for Sixth Army Headquarters. But not one copy found its way into my records. I had to write up my own report, obtain my medical records, and have them inserted into my file. Otherwise my records would not have reflected this critically important event.
I missed weekly drills while I was recovering from my injuries. But I still had more than the required number, so my year was satisfactory. Nobody suggested that I was AWOL (absent without leave) when I missed drills, as Democratic officials claimed President Bush was. And no sane person would charge me with desertion, as has been claimed for the president. Desertion is leaving with no intention of returning, or to avoid hazardous duty. It is punishable by death. If you doubt this, ask Private Slovik.
So now my official Army Reserve records reflect only two sessions of annual training, not the actual three. They reflect my injury and medical treatment only because I had these reports inserted on my own initiative. If I had left things to the Army, these reports would now be missing. If I described a line-of-duty injury, I could be branded a liar and a malingerer.
From personal and rather painful experience, I learned two lessons:
● If military records, especially Reserve or National Guard records, contain something, it probably happened.
● But if they don’t contain something, no inference whatever can be drawn. The missing months on George W. Bush’s records prove absolutely nothing.
In the unlikely event that Robert Redford and the liberal media ever accept that President Bush served his country in the Air National Guard honorably and satisfactorily, they can shift their inquisition to me. Surely “questions remain” about my service, and about what I did in the Reserve. Not relevant questions. Not logical questions. Not appropriate questions. Just questions.
You still believe that the mainstream media provide accurate, unbiased news of crucial world events? You still believe that the Iran deal provides adequate inspections of nuclear facilities? Then you have to believe that a 1970s typewriter had proportional, kerned, Times New Roman type with superscripts and curly quotes. But remember this:
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
The liberal media in general, and Hollywood in particular, still don’t grasp the meaning of “truth.” Truth is something we do our best to discover. Truth isn’t something we fabricate to further our agenda.
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