Memogate Not Over With CBS ‘Apology’
Vol: 36 Issue: 21 Tuesday, September 21, 2004
One would think that with the admission by CBS News that its major hit piece questioning President Bush’s National Guard service was based on forged documents, the story would go away. Or at least, fade into the background.
But it hasn’t. Even with the admission, there are still idiots out there who are demanding President Bush answer the charges contained in the four memos.
I published a parody last week, reversing the Rather situation by making wildly outlandish charges against Dan Rather, admitting they were based on ‘forged documents’ but demanding Dan release all his private records in order to disprove my charges.
I received dozens of emails criticizing me for being unChristian, or being a Bush partisan, and even a couple of emails suggesting the only reason I wrote the parody was because I was envious of Dan Rather.
But a few people got the point. Yesterday, Gayle phoned me from the car. She was listening to a radio talk show when she realized the host was reading my parody on the air.
The radio guy got the point. He ticked off each of my imaginary charges, plus my imaginary responses, and commented, “Isn’t that just what Dan said?”, as he went through the piece.
(I was relieved to find Gayle was tuned to Christian radio. Not everybody thought the parody was ‘unChristian’ of me.)
But other columnists came away from the Memogate story with a different perspective. Syndicated columnist EJ Dionne, writing in the Seattle Times, headlined his column, “Yes, Mr. President, there are questions to be answered.”
Dionne opines, “. . .what’s good for Rather, who is not running for president, ought to be good for George Bush, who is. “There are a lot of questions and they need to be answered. Surely that presidential sentiment applies as much to Bush’s guard service as to Rather’s journalistic methods.”
Dionne goes on, saying; “The New York Times put the relevant questions on the table Monday in a lengthy review of Bush’s life in 1972, “the year George W. Bush dropped off the radar screen,” as the Times called it.”
RELEVANT questions? What relevant questions? Talk about a tempest in a teapot! Let’s contrast this mess, (one more time) and see what is ‘relevant’ here.
According to the New York Times, the suspicion is that George Bush may have missed some weekend drills towards the end of his Guard service and didn’t get a dishonorable discharge (or something) because he was getting preferential treatment because his dad was a Congressman.
That same charge was made against Al Gore, but it never got legs because it, (like Bush’s Guard service), was irrelevant to a campaign some thirty years after the fact.
Dionne acknowledged that fact, writing, “Oh, I can hear the groaning: “But why are we still talking about Vietnam?” A fair question that has several compelling answers.” I read through to the end of the piece, but Dionne never reveals what those ‘compelling answers’ are. He just repeated the ‘compelling’ charges against Bush.
First, Dionne had to dismiss the charges made by the SWIFT Boat veterans who served with John Kerry as ‘untruthful’. Dionne doesn’t say how he knows that all those veterans are really partisan liars with no honor or dignity of their own.
The Kerry campaign makes much of the fact only one SWIFTEE actually served on John Kerry’s boat, as if the rest were merely repeating hearsay. SWIFT Boat commanders lived together, ate together and patrolled together.
But to liberals like Dionne, “Republicans were conspicuously happy to have a front group spread untruths about John Kerry’s Vietnam service in August and watch as the misleading claims were amplified by the supposedly liberal media. The Vietnam era was relevant as long as it could be used to raise character questions about Kerry. But as soon as the questioning turned to Bush’s character, we were supposed to call the whole thing off. Why? Because the media were supposed to question Kerry’s character, but not Bush’s.”
(Let me interject here — the ‘supposedly’ liberal media? You mean like the NYTimes, CNN, ABC, NBC and, of course, CBS? What country is Dionne living in?)
Dionne’s argument would make more sense if the Kerry campaign hadn’t resurrected the National Guard issue six months before the first SWIFT Boat ads appeared. But since Bush has NEVER raised Vietnam, and Kerry has campaigned exclusively on his Vietnam service, it makes you wonder what Dionne’s been smoking.
Is George Bush’s National Guard service ‘relevant’, as Dionne claims? If so, I am still trying to figure out how. The whole Guard controversy was designed to create the impression that, as a National Guardsman, Bush demonstrated a lack of character that makes him unfit to serve as Commander in Chief.
In 2000, when George Bush was an untested state governor, it may have been relevant. But since Bush has BEEN Commander in Chief for the last four years, how relevant is his Guard service 30 years ago?
It would seem that, if there were something relevant to this election to attack, it would be related to something Bush did as Commander in Chief in the 21st century, not as a twenty-something 1st Lt. in the 20th.
On the other hand, John Kerry does NOT have four years experience AS Commander in Chief coming into this election. Since it was Kerry who made it a benchmark, and since it is Kerry who claims service in Vietnam makes him qualified to lead America, John Kerry’s Vietnam service is extremely relevant.
(In particular, since he hasn’t provided anything else for the electorate to consider when making up their minds)
The point isn’t Vietnam, or the National Guard or whether or not George Bush (or John Kerry, for that matter) satisfactorily completed their military obligation.
What is beyond question, when you get down to it, was that John Kerry certainly did NOT. Both John Kerry and George Bush signed up, as do all US military, for a six year term. Bush with the Guard, Kerry with the US Naval Reserve, but both for six years.
All the questions seem to be swirling around what George Bush did during the last couple years of his military obligation. But not around Kerry. Why?
Because we already know how John Kerry finished out his final two years as a US Naval Reserve officer.
He testified that he and his military comrades who were still serving in Vietnam were war criminals. While still a US Naval Officer in time of war, he traveled on his own to Paris to meet with representatives of the North Vietnamese government.
He presented an unauthorized peace proposal of his own, favorable to the North Vietnamese, and then returned to the United States to suggest the US wasn’t really interested in peace, undermining ongoing efforts at the peace table to reach a solution favorable to the United States.
One would think THAT might be relevant to the question of who is better qualified to be Commander in Chief. But apparently not.
The year is 2004. The threat facing America is a nameless, faceless enemy, driven by a fanatic religious ideology and dedicated to America’s destruction. As the hours count down to Election Day, America is gearing up for another onslaught of attacks against the homeland, possibly involving the use of weapons of mass destruction.
The candidates are 56 and 62 years old, respectively. But the debate is stuck in a war that America LOST thirty-five years ago. At the expense of a war we are fighting right now.
It is being driven by ideologues on the left who know their guy can’t win based on anything he’s done in the Senate, and now realize he can’t win based on anything he did in Vietnam.
It appears the only way Kerry thinks he can win is to ‘prove’ George Bush’s military records are MORE suspicious that his are. No evidence is too flimsy to examine, no charge too outrageous to demand answers to. Even forgeries have credibility with the liberal left — if it will defeat George Bush.
And there are no shortage of idiots in the media who think Americans are too stupid to figure all this out on their own.