Those of you who've been around the blogosphere for a while will greatly enjoy this new investigation of the Bush National Guard story.
[T]he CBS documents that seem destined to haunt Rather are, and have always been, a red herring. The real story, assembled here for the first time in a single narrative, featuring new witnesses and never-reported details, is far more complex than what Rather and Mapes rushed onto the air in 2004. At the time, so much rancorous political gamesmanship surrounded Bush’s military history that it was impossible to report clearly (and Rather’s flawed report effectively ended further investigations). But with Bush out of office, this is no longer a problem. I’ve been reporting this story since it first broke, and today there is more cooperation and willingness to speak on the record than ever before. The picture that emerges is remarkable. Beyond the haze of elaborately revised fictions from both the political left and the political right is a bizarre account that has remained, until now, the great untold story of modern Texas politics. For 36 years, it made its way through the swamps of state government as it led up to the collision between two powerful Texans on the national stage.
While it doesn't solve the mystery, there are tons of new details. As a blogger who was writing about this stuff in real time, I especially enjoyed this:
The first person to publicly question the memos was an Air Force officer in Montgomery named Paul Boley, who posted on the conservative online forum Free Republic under the handle TankerKC. Boley’s comment popped up while the program was still going on.
But the man officially credited with inspiring a fusillade of blog attacks was Harry MacDougald, known on message boards as Buckhead, a GOP lawyer in Atlanta who missed the segment but downloaded the Killian documents from the CBS website later that night. He specifically claimed that the memos used proportional spacing and superscripts that didn’t exist on typewriters of the early seventies.
A conspiracy theory has since arisen that Bartlett, knowing in advance that the documents were forgeries—and, in some fevered imaginations, knowing his boss Karl Rove was the source of them—tipped off right-wing surrogates to attack the documents.
When I asked Lloyd why Bartlett ignored his assessment, he said, “I guess he was trying to set Rather up for getting mauled.”
Bartlett told me that the online attacks began “before I started any outreach” to the press. He added that Bush himself didn’t learn of the Killian memos until after the segment had already aired, because Bartlett felt the documents didn’t show anything revelatory. He initially dismissed them as “old news.”
In any case, MacDougald’s arguments about the documents turned out to be inaccurate. He acknowledged as much in an interview with me in 2008. And in a speech given that same year, Mike Missal, a lawyer for the firm that CBS hired to investigate its own report, said, “It’s ironic that the blogs were actually wrong. . . . We actually did find typewriters that did have the superscript, did have proportional spacing. And on the fonts, given that these are copies, it’s really hard to say, but there were some typewriters that looked like they could have some similar fonts there. So the initial concerns didn’t seem as though they would hold up.”
You don't say ...
It more or less comes back to the same conclusion: for some reason Bush became afraid to land his plane and so he quit flying and, like other privileged princes at the time, found a way to check out of his obligation early. And he seems to have been in some kind of other "trouble" at the time but nobody knows exactly what it was. What's new is the dirty cover up in Texas political circles going back years. There are obviously people who know the truth. Certainly George W Bush does. But they're not telling. Yet.