Sunday, September 12, 2004

"Forging" Ahead with the "AWOL" Canard

The centerpiece of the Democrats/elite media's September sleaze offensive so far has been the "Bush was AWOL from the National Guard" allegation. There are several problems with this approach. For one thing, there is little evidence that people actually care about the issue. After all, George W. Bush has based his campaign around his four years in office, not on what he did 30 years ago. There's also the slight technicality that you can't actually be "AWOL" from the National Guard unless you are called into federal service, which Bush never was. Finally, the charges themselves are overblown at best, ridiculous at worst, as pointed out by the following sources, among others:

-Bill Hobbs

-The Hill


-National Review

It is a a sympton of the stunning incompetence of the Democratic campaign that their efforts to exploit this "issue" have been marked by two small yet still ridiculous blunders. One is their decision to use Senator Tom Harkin as their point man in attacking Bush's guard service, considering that Harkin is a proven liar regarding his own military record. The second mistake is their use of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song "Fortunate Son" as a dig at Bush and his guard service. Unfortunately, the Democrats failed to note that CCR front man John Fogerty sat out Vietnam while serving at home in the Army Reserves.

Still, the Democrats seem determined to proceed further down this path, and their coalition partners in the elite media are stepping up to do their part. On Wednesday, September 8, CBS ran an interview with Ben Barnes, a former Texas politician, on "60 Minutes 2". Barnes, who was Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives in 1968 when George W. Bush joined the Texas Air National Guard (TANG), claimed that he interceded to get Bush into the TANG, at the behest of a Bush family friend. To quote Barnes from the interview:

This is about what the truth is. About the time in which I served and the role I played. Sid Adger (PH), a friend of the Bush family, came to see me and asked me if I would recommend George W. Bush for the Air National Guard. And I did.

And I talked to a Gen. Rose, who was the commander of the Air National Guard. I don't know whether my recommendation was the absolute reason he got in the Guard. He was a Congressman's son. He graduated from Yale. He was a person that would have been eligible.

Of course, what Dan Rather, who did the interview, neglected to mention is that Ben Barnes is an active Democrat and major Kerry fundraiser, whose political career ended in disgrace due to his connection to a major Texas political scandal. His own daughter has come forward to say that Barnes is lying.

To support its story, CBS released four documents written by TANG Lt. Colonel James Killian in 1972-73 that purport to show that George W. Bush disobeyed direct orders, failed to fulfill service requirements, and received favorable treatment while in the guard.

Impressive, but for one problem. As blogs like Power Line and Little Green Footballs pointed out almost immediately, the evidence is overwhelming that these documents are forgeries. Others have done a terrific job of analyzing this evidence, and I will not duplicate their efforts. Hugh Hewitt provides an excellent summary, as does Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard. For full updates and detailed analysis, see the following:


-INDC Journal


-Just One Minute

-Little Green Footballs

-National Review Online: Kerry Spot

-Power Line

-Rather Biased

-Shiny Happy Gulag

Incredibly, Dan Rather and CBS continue to insist in the face of voluminous evidence that the documents are genuine. They have made clear that they intend to stand by their partisan hit piece no matter what. CBS has perpetrated a fraud on the American people in support of a political agenda. To their credit, other media outlets like ABC and the Washington Post have reported on the forgery issue in a reasonably fair manner. Still, it is clear that much of the old media is blatantly pursuing an anti-Bush agenda.

That leaves the question of where the forgeries came from. The American Spectator posted an article on its Web site that, if true, would almost certainly mean that CBS was given the forged documents by the Kerry campaign and Democratic National Committee (DNC). If the forgeries can be directly tied to the Kerry camp or DNC (i.e. not via the "six degrees of separation" methods used to "connect" the Bush campaign to the Swift Boat Vets) then frankly the presidential campaign is over. The ironic thing is that the smear offensive was unlikely to do much damage to Bush anyway, and was little more than a sympton of the Democrats' desperation. Instead, it could turn out to be the final nail in the Kerry campaign's coffin.


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