Were the “bush AWOL” documents shown on CBS forgeries?

There’s a lot of buzz going around at the moment that they may be fakes, and some of the points I’m hearing are damned good. Go here for an explanation, and for a fascinating theory of how this may well be just another good old-fashined piece of Karl Rove mischief-making. (If you saw the movie Bush’s Brain, you’ll know that this is not nearly as far-fetched as it seems — not by a long shot.)

The Discussion: 14 Comments

Never attribute to malice (ie Rove) what can easily be explained by stupidity (ie CBS operating procedures).

September 9, 2004 @ 11:22 pm | Comment

Or it really could be a clever insertion by the leather-winged harpies of Rove-ville. Forgery or not, I suspect the further demonstrations of desperation and shrillness in the general campaign to oust Bush are felt as a success by the Bushies.

There’s enough ineptness in the campaign to make you wonder if it’s all accidental. I’m sure the black hearts of the VWRC were secretly warmed that the Anybody
But Bush candidate shared the convention stage with a rich, repulsive celebrity famed for saying “Americans are stupid” and “White men are cowards” (way to go, Einstein, throw away a couple of million votes!).

September 10, 2004 @ 3:54 am | Comment

You’re right, Rove did it, on the grassy knoll. The idea was cooked up a secret meeting with the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy at Area 54. The papers were sercretly flown to CBS by private plane from Mena Airfield. Big Foot flew the plane. The Loch Ness Monster was the actual forger. The copies were run by the same team that faked the moon landing.

September 10, 2004 @ 4:04 am | Comment

Boo, I simply don’t know. I’d be inclined to agree with Conrad that it’s pure conspiracy nonsense — except I know what Rove has done in the past, and it boggles the mind. He has indeed cooked up intricate conspiracies, making it appear that the other side created situations that he himself created. He has done it before and no matter how farfetched it may seem to those who don’t know the details of his past, it is absolutely, totally, depressingly possible. Again, I have no idea what happened or even if the docs are fake — but Rove has proven it is at least conceivable that he would do this type of thing.

September 10, 2004 @ 7:15 am | Comment

I hope that they are forgeries. I don’t care about conspiracies or anything else, but right now the Kerry campaign needs to do ANYTHING other than talk about what happened 35 YEARS AGO. Unfortunately, I think that the mismanagement in the Kerry campaign has given the presidency back to Bush. The only thing that will help is talking about issues, and Bush’s national guard service is not a relevant issue.

September 10, 2004 @ 8:06 am | Comment

I tend to agree with you. If bush has been covering up a lie, that is news and the media should cover it. But Kerry needs to focus on issues that matter. Right now I am quite unhappy with his inability to rise above the noise over inconsequential shit. But then again, keeping the decibel level extremely high over little things is a typical Rove tactic; he wants to see Kerry perpetually off balance and off message. Very smart, and Kerry has to come up with a way to get around this.

September 10, 2004 @ 8:17 am | Comment

The explanation is factually Wrong anyway.

Via here, you can see that

1. Typewriters in the 70s DID use proportional fonts – eg the IBM Executive

2. Typewriters in the 70s DID use superscript “th” – eg the Selectric

September 10, 2004 @ 10:06 am | Comment

Was this an actual forgery or mearly a modern print of a document that should have been done during the war?

The contents might be correct even if they were made last week.

September 10, 2004 @ 8:19 pm | Comment

It depends on which web site ou go to. There are “experts” on all sides. Mark Kleiman is a very level-headed center-left blogger and he believes they are not fogeries. If you go to Little Crazed Footballs on the other hand, it’s a whole different story. All I can say is I don’t know, but it’s masterful, how the argument is now all about this. There’s more evidence than just the documents. It’ll all come out in the wash.

September 10, 2004 @ 8:41 pm | Comment

I’m with Kevin on this one. Every day that Kerry’s campaign is not about “My Pet Goat” is a small victory for Bush.

I’m trying to get used to the idea that Bush is getting re-elected. It’ll blunt what would otherwise be suicidal disappointment in November.

September 10, 2004 @ 9:54 pm | Comment

Unfortunately, the “president” has proven invulnerable when it comes to terrirism, even though he ignored every warning and even though the catastrophe occurred on his watch and even though he read My Pet Goat while NY burned. Nothing sticks here because he picked uo the bullhorn and looked godlike. People remember that. A true Kodak moment. Where he is vulnerable is Iraq and the economy, and hopefully he’ll make headway there. Kerry is a smart guy and I believe he has a plan. But whether it can get him out of this rut and back on top, I just don’t know, and I, too, and getting resigned to another four years of hell. Whatever you do, please send in your absentee ballot. It’s clichee, but every vote counts. If we’re gonna go down, let’s put up a good fight first.

September 10, 2004 @ 10:09 pm | Comment

Wow, I like Rove more every day.

Just joking, I don’t think he had anything to do with this really.

Now Conrad, I’d keep on eye on him. Planting false evidence he knew CBS would trip over to run and then slamming them and the Kerry campaign, now THAT’S Conrad’s style. And the comment about the moon landing guys, that’s a dead give away – those guys were much better than this.

Anyway, when you discuss whether the documents are fake or not, these articles may help:


“… The Post contacted several independent experts who said they appeared to have been generated by a word processor. An examination of the documents by The Post shows that they are formatted differently from other Texas Air National Guard documents whose authenticity is not questioned.”


“”These documents do not appear to have been the result of technology that was available in 1972 and 1973,” said Bill Flynn, one of country’s top authorities on document authentication. “The cumulative evidence that’s available … indicates that these documents were produced on a computer, not a typewriter:””

September 11, 2004 @ 4:45 am | Comment

tom, there are now quotes from experts all over the place, some wildly contradictory. I suspect that they were computer generated and that Rove didn’t do it (who knows?). The important thing is that there are other sources and a living colleague of Killian who says the documents accuratly reflect his point of view. Very cool, how the spotlight moves completely away from our awol non-president and focuses instead on one piece of the puzzle which does not make or break the case against bush.

September 11, 2004 @ 10:33 am | Comment

From the NY Times:

Mr. Matley, the documents expert, said in an interview after the program, that he had examined documents and handwriting since 1985 and had testified in 65 trials. Mr. Matley said the documents the network sent him were so deteriorated from copying that it was impossible to identify the typeface.

“It’s sheer speculation to say that you couldn’t have done that until a computer came along,” he said.

Who knows?

September 11, 2004 @ 11:30 am | Comment

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