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September 10, 2004

Comments

Gary has surprising useful comments unsurprisingly - a kerning lever?. If Killian didn't type himself then it seems more plausible to me that fancy features of the Selectric were employed, presumably by a skilled secretary. (My "Killian wanted to make this memo look
esp. good since higher ups would see it" speculation didn't make me that happy.)

Boo for the title and first sentence.

A pro-doc comment of interest and another one. This would be kind of a fun puzzle if it didn't have such possibly dire consequences.

I just happened to still have my Officer Fitness Reports from 1971 to 1973. The biggest error the forgers made was that they used 8.5" by 11" paper instead of 8" by 10.5" paper. That was a very obvious error and but also one that was easy to make. I had forgotten about that major difference myself. As soon as somebody mentioned it, I remembered the smaller paper, although I had never known what size it actually had been. I pulled out my old Fitness reports and measured them. Sure enough 8" by 10.5". I believe that size was a federal government standard for several years. I also worked for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and I remembered that when I had looked at older documents (about 1976) they were always smaller. At some point, the feds went to standard size paper. The dates were also incorrect on the forged documents as well. Military documents at that time always had dates like "28 MAR 72", not "13 August 1972". After being in the military for a few months, one got in the habit of writing dates in the military manner.

Although it is obvious to an ex-military person that the documents are forged, it is not obvious to a person who has not been in the military. I wouldn't be surprised if CBS actually helped with the forgeries.

Isn't it a bit odd, though, whether these documents are forged or not, that the White House and Bush aren't furiously refuting them?

In fact, isn't the question of their authenticity something of a sidetrack, interesting though it is, from the issue of whether Bush has continually lied about the events in question?

"if a source screws you, you screw the source", Ben Bradlee used to say. There is no reason not to reveal a source that spreads false information.

By the way, would it still be okay for other news reports to say that "CBS news has recently learned that George W. Bush disobeyed a direct order from a superior?" After all technically CBS did learn that. And if these are forgeries, well, we don't know for a fact that CBS doesn't have another source that shows that Bush disobeyed a direct order. And even if CBS news issues a retraction, there might be another news article 6 months from now that suggests that Bush might have disobeyed an order, and that would make it all okay....

Nah, nevermind. You're right to treat the two cases differently. I mean, it's pretty obvious that the Bush administration went to war as a last resort and was scrupulously careful not to mislead the public about Iraq's nuclear program. And it's pretty obvious that that those liberals at CBS are at best dupes and at worst co-conspirators with the Kerry campaign, in its effort to smear Bush with amateurish forgeries that if revealed would kill CBS' credibility and the Kerry campaign's electoral chances.

By the way, Sebastian, your third link doesn't work.

It looks to me like someone wanted to make a fool of CBS. And succeeded.

I have 'google' eyes from reading half the night. As much as I'd love to see the Demo Dirty Trick Squad go down with Rather at KBS, I'm not convinced yet that the docs are forged. However, if they're not, it just doesn't matter. We need to hear more from folks that were in the Guard in 72-73. Many good Americans got into the Guard any way they could. Many good Americans pull strings for 'important' people whether they are asked or not. Many good Americans busted their butts to do it right their first 3 or 4 years and then started planning 'life after' the last year or so. Many good Americans, when VN started petering out, explored ways to legitmately cut their Guard tour short and go back to school.

If the docs are forged, the backlash will serve them right. If they are not - well it just doesn't matter, does it?

Oh yes, it's COMPLETELY suspicious that a Presidential candidate would not immediately, loudly, and with great energy refute every single thing thrown his way, especially if he considers said things ridiculous or beneath notice. Why, indeed, every candidate should waste time refuting ever little thing that comes up, thus making it easier for their opposition to simply keep them busy by generating a 'scandal of the week' and bog down their campaign schedule.

So suspicious, indeed. And it's amusing that such 'sidetracks' are generated by the same people who label them thus after they have failed to get a huge response?

Looks to me like a media outlet goofed up, whether by bad choices in creating such a story to begin with or by bad choices in supporting an unreliable source. Glad we have more than one to rely on here. ;)

Albatross;

Oh yes, it's COMPLETELY suspicious that a Presidential candidate would not immediately, loudly, and with great energy refute every single thing thrown his way, especially if he considers said things ridiculous or beneath notice.

Who said anything about "every single thing"? Apart from you? Actually, the Bush Administration has been pretty good at denunciations of this whole story, so their silence this time round is surprising if the underlying facts are false.

So suspicious, indeed. And it's amusing that such 'sidetracks' are generated by the same people who label them thus after they have failed to get a huge response?

Are you saying I'm the one who forged them...? Or, indeed, have posted about them saying "Ah, look, look what Bush did!"? Please give me a cite from Obsidian Wings or indeed the entire Web. I haven't mentioned them except to make the point above on this thread and on Gary Farber's website.

In fact, what makes you decide I create or blog about anti-Bush stories in the first place? Do you know me, Albatross?

Furthermore the 'sidetrack' I refer to is the question over the authenticity of the documents, not the question of whether what they say is true or not (which, so far as I've seen, no one on the Web is [yet] denying).

James Casey wrote:

Isn't it a bit odd, though, whether these documents are forged or not, that the White House and Bush aren't furiously refuting them?

No, not all, although it is rather amusing that the President’s critics keep throwing wild punches at someone who keeps beating them with judo.

Thorley, that doesn't make sense. The White House hasn't responded to this. Now, I freely admit I've not had a single judo lesson in my life (though I did defeat a brown belt once... though not with wild punches, from what I recall), but doesn't it require contact or a response?

I mean, how can it be judo if they're standing there doing nothing? If the wild punchers are failing, it's because they're falling over of their own accord, and you might as well therefore say the President's using ninjitsu, or the Force, to defeat them.

This judo analogy makes no sense.

From your weekly standard link Sebastian;

"Although it is nearly impossible to establish with certainty the authenticity of documents without a careful examination of the originals,"

You don't know they are fake, and it has not been proven yet. When you get your 100% proof let me know.

My one and only comment on this: I agree with Mark Kleiman (the pre-update part; the update gets into technical questions that are beyond my knowledge.)

Although it is obvious to an ex-military person that the documents are forged, it is not obvious to a person who has not been in the military.

Sorry, Donnie, but we had an old saying in the Navy: "Different ships, different long splices."

The saying was used to describe the fact that different ships, or units, often had very different processes, procedures, etc. The saying was usually invoked when some 'nugget' (junior officer) would tell us this was or wasn't the way he did something on the MCINERNEY; he'd also be invited to go read what was inscribed on the stern of the ship.

In looking over my paperwork, including FITREPS, commendation letters, medical reports, training reports, memos, personal notes, etc., I can see a variety of paper sizes and paper types. And that's just the active duty paperwork. The reserve unit paperwork was much more varied and, sometimes, pretty bizarre.

Jadegold - you have your paperwork? From what years. Any superscripts? Proportional spacing? Kerning? Not that it matters to the presidential race I'm just wondering if your docs are forged.

I've been tremendously amused by this latest episode of CSI:Blogville, especially the way that those on the right have gone from "These memos mean nothing" to "Hey, are these memos even real" to "These memos are definitely forged, let's hang the bastards!" in the span of 36 hours.

There's been some interesting discussion by people with expert knowledge and some serious silliness by people who absolutely no clue whatsoever "Look, I created a document in MS Word and it looks almost the same. It's a fake!"

I think it's real funny that people think they have conclusive proof one way or the other at this point when the evidence is still being evaluated. Maybe they're fake, maybe not. I can't make that judgement. It's not my area of expertise.

By the way, here are some words from Dr. Bouffard, who has been quoted some on the pro-forgery arguments in the right-wing blogosphere

Philip Bouffard, a forensic document specialist from Ohio who created a commonly used database of at least 3,000 old type fonts, said he had suspicions as well. "I found nothing like this in any of my typewriter specimens," said Dr. Bouffard, a Democrat. He also said the fonts were "certainly consistent with what I see in Times Roman," the commonly used Microsoft Word font.

However, Dr. Bouffard said, a colleague had called his attention to similarities between the font in the memos and that of the IBM Selectric Composer of the early 1970's.

But he said it would be unusual for Mr. Bush's commanding officer to have had the IBM machine because of its large size.

Dr. Bouffard said he would see if the fonts match more closely on Friday. "The problem I'm going to run into if this matches and Times Roman matches, to the extent of what we are able to see on these poor miserable copies that are passing around,'' he said, "then I don't think anybody's going to be able to say for sure.''


The expert doesn't think anyone is going to be able to say for sure. Yet, the amateur sleuths are saying that they are, in fact, completely sure. Color me less than impressed.

Fabius: Yes. From a period not too far after Bush decided to renege on his commitment. Yes. Yes. Yes. No, I'm pretty certain my docs aren't forged. But who knows? It could all be a massice conspiracy.

Look, while I'm not an expert, I used an IBM Selectric to publish a small magazine for a couple of years in the mid-seventies. I also worked on layout for several newspapers that used typesetting from a Linotype. I also designed book covers, using Letraset. While at Art School, I concentrated a great deal on typography. When I first began using computers, I created specialized typefaces for native language characters. I spent several years doing desktop publishing when it first arrived on the scene, and I've worked for several years in software development in the largest producer of pre-press software and hardware in the world. And I recently reconditioned an Underwood #5 typewriter from the 1920s for fun.

There seems to be a lot of confusion from people who seem to have never used a typewriter, and who don't understand the difference between a proportional font and proportional spacing. Most mechanical typewriters simply cannot do proportional spacing, regardless of the font they use. The only one that could couldn't do kerning, which appears in these documents.

Lastly, Chuckundra, while you dismiss the fact that Word produces an identical document, I don't think you realize how important that is. It's barely possible to get two different word processing programs to produce documents that are identical. To say that an typewriter in 1973 produced a document identical to one produced by Word (including kerning), using all its default settings, is absolutely astounding. It simply wasn't possible to do this. And it doesn't take an expert to know that.

As for the Administration reaction, I don't think it is shocking that they don't immediately react to documents that they have never seen before, even if they suspect them to be fakes. If it turns out that you can't prove they are fakes (note this is true even if you think they are false) drawing attention to it will only make you look shady.

Chuchundra makes a number of excellent points.

Frankly, there's an awful lot of amateur sleuthing going on; much of it bogus and/or highly suspect.

And it's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility the documents are forgeries. However, absent the forger(s) coming forward and confessing, the bona fides of these documents won't be know until a forensic document examiner actually gets to study the documents in question.

As Lindsay Beyerstein sagely notes:

An expert examiner's assessment of authenticity is a holistic judgment. It depends not only on the typeface and spacing, but also on the physical characteristics of the original including ink, paper and signatures. The provenance of the document also makes a difference, as do the document's semantic, syntactic and stylistic features.

At the very least, an ethical forensic document examiner would wait to see the original document pontificating to reporters. Bear in mind that, unlike the CBS experts, the outsiders have had to make do with low quality pdf images of the Killian memos. Nor do the outsiders have access to the materials they need to compare the Bush memos to other Killian papers, or to compare the Bush memos to standard TANG memos of the era.

If true, even the strongest objections raised so far would merely show that Killian wrote the memo on an unusual typewriter. The critical question is whether the Bush guard memos match the other documents in Killian's files, not whether Killian's used a common type of typewriter. We can't assess the overall balance of probabilities without the full spectrum of information that the CBS team was privy to.

Seb As for the Administration reaction, I don't think it is shocking that they don't immediately react to documents that they have never seen before, even if they suspect them to be fakes.

Although I'm sure that they'll enjoy the happy coincidence that this will call into question in the minds of the public the reputation and reliability of any other news organization that brings up the guard record, or any other documents that appear.

CBS has a lot to answer for here. That was some pretty shoddy work.

CBS has a lot to answer for here. That was some pretty shoddy work.

Isn't the jury still out on that?

Isn't the jury still out on that?

Not as far as I'm concerned. This is like finding a bullet-hole wound in the skull of a T-Rex.

Atrios, Kos, et al are digging up old Selectric composer ads and manuals to prove that proportional spacing technology was available at the time. Yes, that's a given, but these were extremely expensive machines, very clumsy to use, and were usually used for large companies that wanted to create brochures, etc without having to use a pre-press shop. Why would there be one at a National Guard office? A National Guard office that apparently used "PO Box 34567" as its address, by the way. Even if they did have one of these machines, they could not do kerning. Kerning requires either a human being cutting apart film with an exacto knife, as I used to have to do, or it requires a computer.

All that aside, the fact that you can overlay the same output from Word, and it is identical, is really the stake through the heart. I can't say it enough, you could not do this, it's impossible.

Since (some of) the documents were supposedly ones that Killian wrote for himself and which never went into any official record or files, how would the WH be able to say whether they're genuine or not? Bush himself would not have known Killian had written them, and would never have seen them.

Going back to SH's original question about media responsibility: Promises of confidentiality have been held by courts (see the Cowles case from Minn. for the archetype) to be enforceable oral contracts. So unless the news organization didn't state to its sources that false information invalidated the agreement, it's legally bound to protect the sources whether it wants to or not. The way around that is for journalists to warn sources that bad info, intentional or not, nullifies the agreement, and to routinely burn sources who knowingly provide bad info.

One other point: Whether these particular documents are forged or not (and I could even see Karl Rove ordering up forgeries and having them slipped to CBS, though I don't think that's what happened) is irrelevant. The unchallenged documentary evidence shows that Bush didn't show up for a mandatory physical, got decertified for flight as a result, and suffered none of the consequences generally attending such behavior.

Fredrik
The charge is being leveled not because of content but because of similarities to the technology of today ie microsoft word program vs. typewriters.

Unfortunately Atrios has found similar type in documents from 1963

Excellent question, Fredrik. The reason, of course, is they understand the content is true.

The best defense (and, in politics, the best offense) is the truth. Bush's team is well aware Bush's NG service was deficient, so they're not about to try and refute something they understand is true. Instead, they try to deflect the issue to 'they wouldn't have given him an honorable discharge if he hadn't met his obligations.'

Contrast this to the way Kerry dealt with Swifties. Kerry didn't merely say 'look at my decorations,' he countered with eyewitnesses and the often contradictory statements of his accusers.

I strongly suspect that passing fraudulant documents (or documents that you knew were likely to be fraudulant without warning the reporter) would be deemed bad faith and would remove you from the legal protections of contract.

BTW Kerning, proportional type, and the little 'th' were are available, just not all on one machine.

Furthermore the alleged source's family says he didn't type, which would suggest that even if he decided to bang out a memo on a typewriter, he wouldn't have used fancy features like replacing the typewriter ball for the 'th' or kerning a document for a personal CYA memo.


Lindsay Beyerstein's sage notes about the inappropriate nature of document specialists commenting on copies is shown to be way off point considering this from the NYT: "But the characters were hard to make out after so much reproducing of the document, a problem, the CBS News official acknowledged, with the documents in the initial "60 Minutes'' program; those documents were not originals and have been copied repeatedly.

Even so, Sebastian, check out the overlay of a Word document and the original here. Even without a clear copy, you can see that the kerning, leading, justification, centering, margins, and line spacing are all identical. No amount of copying artifacts could possible do that.

By the way, in that example, the position of the superscript "th" is different, but when the document is printed from Word, the superscript position is corrected to be identical to the original.

Regarding Atrios' findings - those were Whitehouse transcripts of a President's conversations. It isn't out of the realm of posibility that they were typeset rather than typed.

"However, Dr. Bouffard said, a colleague had called his attention to similarities between the font in the memos and that of the IBM Selectric Composer of the early 1970's."

The idea that an Army officer had a Composer in his office is fairly ridiculous, unless it turns out that a newsletter/magazine was regularly produced in said office.

Apparently a lot of people are discussing this without the faintest clue as to what they are talking about. Not that that's novel.

"As for the Administration reaction, I don't think it is shocking that they don't immediately react to documents that they have never seen before...."

This is also utter nonsense, since Dan Bartlett spent hours responding, and his office sent out dozens of copies of the documents for a couple of days now, as linked to in my link. What, he went on for hours discussing the documents, but forgot to mention that it was possible they were forgeries?

I think jesse from pandagon has it about right

Personally, I think there's more than enough evidence outside of the memos to make any point that people might want to make about Bush's military service. They're not really germane to the overall conversation.

Figuring out where the memos came from if they're fake is the biggie here, and I have a feeling it's not the Kerry campaign or anyone affiliated with them. I am, however, more than a bit mystified at why a far-too-intense conversation on typewriter history made it to the front pages of the Post and the Times, whereas the obvious factual problems with the Swift Boat ads took weeks of media coverage to even get to those papers in the first place.

If there's a forger, he or she should come forward and admit what they did. Perhaps at the same news conference where Larry Thurlow gives his Bronze Star back to the military. That, of course, presumes there is a forger, which is still very much up in the air.

I'm sure there's a typewriter shop somewhere in the D.C. area that's running around to blogs and various websites right now preparing to make a killing.

Posted by Jesse Taylor

Pro: From a Kos diary:

"In the original CBS document, some letters "float" above or below the baseline. For example, in the original document, lowercase 'e' is very frequently -- but not always -- above the baseline. Look at the word "interference", or even "me". Typewriters do this; computers don't.

Con: Kevin Drum:

I'm afraid skepticism is warranted. I hope CBS hasn't gotten burned by crude forgeries, but like they say, hope is not a plan.

Lindsay Beyerstein's sage notes about the inappropriate nature of document specialists commenting on copies is shown to be way off point considering this from the NYT

Ms. Beyerstein makes a number of points about ethical document authentication. She says its not just about looking at typefaces and spacing but of issues concerning provenance.

I'd also note your comments WRT Mrs. Killian are incomplete; Killian's son does dispute the 'CYA' memo but says the others appear genuine. But the family's opinions are subjective.

And I'd also note Killian's superior, MGEN Hodges, seems to believe in the content of the memos.

Q: Is your suggestion that these documents, at least a couple of them, could have been fabricated?

DAN BARTLETT: I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying that the fact that documents like this are being raised when, in fact, all they do is reaffirm what we've said all along, is questionable.


Of course to put on my tinfoil hat I understand how Karl Rove has a strategy of going after an opponent's strength. How best to undercut the Bush got out of service article being investigated by the Boston Globe and others? Hmmm.
Maybe make it look like it's all illegitimate accusation.

A quick threadjack:

May I now assume that Sebastian believes that Novak and the other journalists involved should reveal their sources regarding the Plame leak?

After all, he said: "Revealing them [sources of forged documents] would tend to discourage anonymous pseudo-sources from providing false documentation and from providing false information to the public through the media."

What's worse, providing false information or providing true information which [arguably] was secret and the disclosure of which was [arguably] highly detrimental to US security? Not, for me, a tough call.

Back on topic:

Moreover, if we punished every source of false administration, this admin would never get ANYTHING in print. How many quotes from "anonymous" administration officials over the last three years have been proven to be pure disinformation, on issues from the war to the budget to medicare reform? thousands?

Doesn't Hodges's story moot the whole issue anyway? I thought that the WashPo said that the memos reflected discussions that the dead guy had with him at the time.

I understand why partisans from the right want to suck up all the O2 on the forgery issue; it distracts from the following quote from Scott McClellan added to the transcript of a recent press gaggle which should be getting people pissed off:

"The memos that were released, in fact, show the President was working with his commanders to comply with the order [to get a flight physical]."

HUH? last i checked, when a 1st Lt. got an order, his only acceptable response was "yes, sir" And, if anyone has forgotten, the president did not, in fact, obtain that physical and was grounded as a result.

The White House is ADMITTING that the president conducted himself in a manner while as a soldier which should have immediately resulted in a disciplinary action.

Now, we democrats take a regular pounding about our choice of candidate. Don't blame me; i live in california. but the republicans offer up, DURING WARTIME, a man whose military conduct should have resulted in severe discipline. wow. just wow.

Francis

p.s. i can't wait for the "war was winding down so he didn't need to keep his flight status" comments. i love to hear the explanations as to why politically connected 1st Lts. get to make the decisions as to which orders they choose to obey.

If the agreement between a media outlet and a source has some kind of "as is" language, the fact that the document was a forgery might not lead to invalidation of the contract. Seems to me.

Should lead the media outlet not to enter into the contract, of course.

Assuming a legally binding contract: CBS ought to be pissed off enough to breach the contract, burn the source, and pay whatever damages the burned source can get a jury to award. Contracts aren't some kind of moral absolute -- and CBS ought to have as good an argument for efficient breach here as it will face in its news function.

"This is also utter nonsense, since Dan Bartlett spent hours responding, and his office sent out dozens of copies of the documents for a couple of days now, as linked to in my link. What, he went on for hours discussing the documents, but forgot to mention that it was possible they were forgeries?"

You have a strange view of utter nonsense. If you are in the middle of a hotly contested campaign, even if you suspect documents are forged, you can't say anything until you can prove it. The reason you can't say anything is that if you are proven wrong and often even if you are right but not 100% proveably right, it will look like you were trying to engage in a cover-up. It is conventional wisdom that cover-ups are worse than many initial crimes. Therefore, at first you respond as if the documents were legitimate. Later if you can prove them to be forgeries, you do so. That not only isn't crazy, it makes a good deal of sense.

Jadegold, my comments about Mrs. Killian are incomplete because I don't talk about her son? Huh? In any case, he says that one of the memos 'appears' authentic and that the rest don't. The NYT unhelpfully neglects to tell us which one he identifies.

FDL, funny you should mention it, but I have argued in comments on the subject (both here and elsewhere) that it would be better for journalists to reveal the source of the Plame leak rather than let speculation run rampant about which administration official endangered a CIA operative. So you don't need to assume anything about my position. My stated position on the issue is exactly what you wanted it to be.

fdl
I think Sebastian like others (including me) sometimes has issues with the whole goose/gander thing.

Sebastian
I take back the above. You are a paragon of consistency on this issue.

Meanwhile take a look at this for the definitive Kiilian document.

So I hear someone saying Col. Killian's family says he didn't type.

OK, suppose he handwrote these documents. A few years later, after word processors were invented, he paid a typist 25 cents a page to type them up for his file.

And that's just one hypothetical. There are a bazillion other hypotheticals standing between what we know--which is that some experts who have never seen the physical documents believe they were produced on anachronistic technology--and suppositions that the documents were forged for nefarious purposes.

Only CBS has seen the actual documents, knows where they came from, and has interviewed people familiar with them. Given that CBS spent 6 weeks' studying their authenticity before running the story, given CBS' record of probity, and given CBS' immense internal resources, I'm rather inclined at this point to keep my powder dry and wait until I hear the rest of the story.

(And by the way, speaking as a person who did professional typing on typewriters in the early 1970s, there are numerous floating letters in these documents. That's a 100% guarantee that they were produced either on a typewriter or an impact printer, with typewriter being the most likely guess. A glance at LGF's "identical" output is enough to show that there is no letter float at all on the LGF version.)

carsick: Unfortunately Atrios has found similar type in documents from 1963

I've been going through those, and I can't find a single one that uses proportional spacing, much less Times Roman, or kerning. I haven't looked at them all, but I looked at twenty or thirty, and I don't know what Atrios is referring to.

"Only CBS has seen the actual documents, knows where they came from, and has interviewed people familiar with them."

According to the NYT, CBS only has copies.

As for my responsibility question, are we pretty much agreed that if these documents turn out to be forgeries, CBS ought to reveal who gave the documents to them?

Only CBS has seen the actual documents...

No, they haven't. They have only seen copies-of-copies.

...there are numerous floating letters in these documents. That's a 100% guarantee that they were produced either on a typewriter or an impact printer, with typewriter being the most likely guess.

Looks more like warping than letter float - maybe a copying artifact, or a photoshop filter.

Given that CBS spent 6 weeks' studying their authenticity before running the story, given CBS' record of probity, and given CBS' immense internal resources...

... and it seems the only verification done was a handwriting analyst, and showing the memos to Killian's friends, who say it seems like what he was saying at the time. Meanwhile, it seems all of the prominent forensic document specialists are very cautiously suspicious.

I don't know what the New York Times says, but CBS doesn't seem to be talking about copies here.

The network defended the autheniticity of the memos, saying its experts who examined the memos concluded they were authentic documents produced by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian.

. . .

"This report was not based solely on recovered documents, but rather on a preponderance of evidence, including documents that were provided by unimpeachable sources, interviews with former Texas National Guard officials and individuals who worked closely back in the early 1970s with Colonel Jerry Killian and were well acquainted with his procedures, his character and his thinking," the statement read.

"In addition, the documents are backed up not only by independent handwriting and forensic document experts but by sources familiar with their content," the statement continued. "Contrary to some rumors, no internal investigation is underway at CBS News nor is one planned."

Sebastian
I agree. A source is only due loyalty if they are giving information that bears a some majority of truth and authenticity and does not endanger lives unnecessarily or ... what else?

Look at "during" in the 3rd line of the 8/18/73 letter. That's as clear an example of the paper slipping when keys struck as you'll want to see. No doubt in the world what happened there. That says "typewriter" to me.

If you compare the bottoms of the letters in the original document to the bottoms of the letters in the LGF document, you'll see a dramatic difference.

"As for my responsibility question, are we pretty much agreed that if these documents turn out to be forgeries, CBS ought to reveal who gave the documents to them?"

Yes.

Look at "during" in the 3rd line of the 8/18/73 letter. That's as clear an example of the paper slipping when keys struck as you'll want to see. No doubt in the world what happened there. That says "typewriter" to me.

Why does the baseline shift up in the "du" of "during," but the x-height (lowercase letter height) stay constant? That says this is warping from a photocopier or a photoshop filter.

Here's a NG memo which I would have no reason to question. Third sentence of the main text: the word "indicated" suffers from the page slippage you're talking about. Note the baseline and x-height are parallel, which is exactly the way I'd expect it to look.

Meanwhile, the CBS documents all have rather random and organic warping going on - which I do not think is in any way indicative of it being typewritten, unless the typewriter was slowly melting in the sun that day.

Jonas, what about the supposedly often-floating "e"s cited above at September 10, 2004 01:02 PM?

jonas
Your document shows some examples of baseline shift where height is not affected see "covered" on the 9th line down.
I think you're trying to hard.

Why was Bush forced not to fly?
Why did he go AWOL in Alabama?
Why did he disobey orders to get his physical?

jonas
I meant "I think you're trying TOO hard."

Thank goodness there's another non-right-winger here with design and typography experience.

Yes, some typewriters would have certain letters that would appear off the baseline (up or down) due to mechanical irruglarities. But two points - (1) that letter would ALWAYS be off by approximately the same amount, and (2) the Selectic was less likely to do this, as it had a type ball instead of a typebar (by the way, these were a gas to type on, even the noise when it turned on was cool).

But if contention is that these documents were produced on an IBM Selectric Composer (unlikely, they cost the same as a house at the time), I doubt that it would display much in the way of character slippage.

"Why did he disobey orders to get his physical?"

If true, my guess would be drug testing.

double
Again Jonas's link proves helpful. The "mm"s in that memo are clearly proof that your ALWAYS theory needs a bit more work.

You are speculating and calling it proof. As I said to Jonas, I think you're trying too hard.

Carsick,

Your document shows some examples of baseline shift where height is not affected see "covered" on the 9th line down.

Oh, definitely. That's a photocopying artifact - one that would be observed regardless of whether the original document was typewritten, typeset, or laser-printed. That's all I'm saying.

Rilkefan,

Jonas, what about the supposedly often-floating "e"s cited above at September 10, 2004 01:02 PM?

Again, I'm erring on the side of it being a photocopying artifact. I'm looking at some photocopied handouts of typeset books, and they have similiar distortions, despite the fact that they were not typewritten. Looking over the samples from that link however, the IBM Selectric Composer is the only likely culprit I've seen so far.

double
Again Jonas's link proves helpful. The "mm"s in that memo are clearly proof that your ALWAYS theory needs a bit more work.

You are speculating and calling it proof. As I said to Jonas, I think you're trying too hard.

"indicated" on the 1st line does not look like "indicated" on the third line. "commuting" on the 9th line has it's mm's at different heights as well.

Jonas

"Your document shows some examples of baseline shift where height is not affected see "covered" on the 9th line down.

Oh, definitely. That's a photocopying artifact - one that would be observed regardless of whether the original document was typewritten, typeset, or laser-printed. That's all I'm saying."


No you were saying, "Here's a NG memo which I would have no reason to question. Third sentence of the main text: the word "indicated" suffers from the page slippage you're talking about."

Hmmm
Page slippage you wouldn't question is now a photocopying artifact. Is the page slipping in the photo copier?

Either these things were produced on a standard typewriter, which would display things like letters off the baseline, but wouldn't have proportional spacing, OR they would be produced on the IBM Composer, which could do proportional spacing, but wouldn't have letters off the baseline.

I find it hard to believe that a National Guard unit would be typing memos using a near-typesetting typewriter that cost more than the house my parents bought around the same time, and that required a specialized training course in order to operate. Why not just claim that the memos were typeset? Makes about as much sense.

"Why did he disobey orders to get his physical?"

Over at Tacitus, Steve Malynn -- who spent something like 20 years in the USMC and the reserves -- says that it would be literally inconceivable for a commander to give such an order and doubts it ever happened. He's a partisan, but he undoubtedly knows his military stuff.

Carsick,

Page slippage you wouldn't question is now a photocopying artifact. Is the page slipping in the photo copier?

"Covered" on the 9th line down looks like standard photocopier distortion. "Indicated" on the the 3rd line looks like genuine page slippage mentioned. I could be wrong, it could all be distortion - but haven't seen an instance on the CBS memos that is comparably ambigious.

Also, everyone can try this at home:

1. Type text in Photoshop, 12 point font, maybe Times New Roman.
2. Set your "ripple" filter to 10%, size "small."
3. Apply the filter 2 to 4 times.
4. Voila, randomly dispersed "floating" letters, plus geniune-looking photocopy distortion.

I'm not maintaining that the distortion was done in photoshop, rather just saying that the evidence being cited as proof of it being typewritten can emerge solely from the phenomenon of distortion and warping, especially photocopiers.

I have no idea whether the documents are real or not. The contents of the documents don't seem to be contested by the WH and the evidence of Bush not fulfilling his duties but still getting an honorable discharge are documented in other ways (or strangely not documented ie 1972).

But...you guys seem to be wildly speculating and calling your speculation proof. Why is it only a Composer and not an Executive? Why is photocopy creep so important yet you don't even know if CBS is working with photocopies. On cable the example I saw was with a blue signature and black type. Can you speculate the differences of a color copier vs. a black and white for me?

Carsick,

But...you guys seem to be wildly speculating and calling your speculation proof.

Speculating? Yes. Wildly? Nah. Proof? It is to me - I've seen enough Government memos from the 50s, 60s, and 70s that the CBS ones stand out as completely wrong.

Why is photocopy creep so important yet you don't even know if CBS is working with photocopies.

According to the NYT, they are. Meanwhile, all we have are clearly photocopies of some sort.

Why is it only a Composer and not an Executive?

Because the Composer is the only typewriter that people dug up that had a font resembling the one on the CBS memos. I haven't seen a sample from the Executive that matches.

On cable the example I saw was with a blue signature and black type. Can you speculate the differences of a color copier vs. a black and white for me?

Ok, now I'm really confused...

says that it would be literally inconceivable for a commander to give such an order and doubts it ever happened. He's a partisan, but he undoubtedly knows his military stuff.

False. It is actually routine for servicemen to get orders to accomplish physical/medical exams within a specific time period. This requirement is even more rigid in aviation units since flight status (and, therefore, readiness) is at stake. Jo Fish at Democratic Veteran, being a brownshoe, can explain this in greater detail but here's his take:

A far more serious (for an officer) and more overlooked offense is the failure by 1st Lt Bush to obey a direct order to get a flight physical and which would return him to flying status. As an ex-military pilot (and CO of a reserve unit) I can assure you that the powers-that-be do not take disobedience of direct order with too much good grace, nor are they too happy about "rated aviators" who not only let their flight status lapse, but refuse to obey an order to become current again. Fact. No wiggle room. None. You obey or you don't, if you don't you pay. If one of my enlisted troops had been so flagrant about violating a direct order, I would have at least had him/her at an Article 15 hearing (Captains Mast), if it had been an officer, I would have had their nuts. Period.

But...you guys seem to be wildly speculating and calling your speculation proof. Why is it only a Composer and not an Executive?

Carsick, what exactly is your experience with typography?

I've been involved with it at some level for the last thirty years, and have used some of the equipment being discussed. Jonas, while not as old as I, has also indicated some professional knowledge of the topic at hand. Neither one of us is pro-Bush or particularily anti-Kerry, and have no partisan reasons for "wildly speculating" and presenting it as proof. We both know something about the subject, as do a host of actual typography and typesetting experts who are now also indicating that they think these are forgeries. I have yet to talk to someone who knows anything about typography who has seen these and thinks they're legitimate.

Let's visit this subject next week, and see if the experts validate them or not. Then one of us may have to eat crow.

JadeGold, that's interesting . . . it's the exact opposite of everything Steve said on the Tacitus thread. He said that flight status is always optional, and if a pilot does not want to continue on active flight status, a commander cannot order him to. Would your source be interested in commenting on the Tacitus thread? I'd like to know the truth of this whole thing.

double
Jonas had the better answer.

I won't have to eat crow about these documents because all I've done is point out where your statements disagree with either your statements or your "proof".
We all know the president was a goof off and f*** up when he was younger ( When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible. -George W Bush) and the veracity of these documents don't really change that understanding.

You are claiming you are certain they are forgeries. I am not claiming otherwise but I'm also not claiming any certainty one way or another.

JadeGold, here are a couple of the relevant comments:

http://www.tacitus.org/comments/2004/9/9/135329/7958/444#444

http://www.tacitus.org/comments/2004/9/9/135329/7958/436#436

"APPOINTMENT FAILURES Failure to keep a scheduled appointment without prior notification not only consumes valuable provider time, but also denies someone else that time slot. For active duty military an appointment can be considered a direct order. Repeated failures can result in disciplinary action."

http://www.uscg.mil/mlclant/iscportsmouth/Clinic.htm

The 1972 suspension order stated: “Verbal orders of the Comdr on 1 Aug 72 suspending 1STLT George W. Bush…from flying status are confirmed…Reason for Suspension: Failure to accomplish annual medical examination. Off will comply with para 2-10, AFM 35-13.

AFM 35-13 specifies that “When a Rated Officer Fails To Accomplish a Medical Examination Prescribed by AFM …(1) The local commander ... will direct an investigation ... (2) will forward the report along with the command recommendation to USAFMPC/DPMAJD, Randolph AFB TX 78148 for final determination.”

Bush claims he released all his military records. If that's true, where are the results of the official investigation and the follow-up report listed in the Order above?

Thanks, Phil. I've dealt with Mr. Malynn before and don't have a great deal of faith in his...interpretations.

Let's be clear on what the function of the Reserves are. Basically, the Reserves provide the active duty armed services with a pool of trained/skilled personnel for use in cases of national need and/or emergency. Since a Reservist's training obligations generally are a weekend a month, drilling with a unit, and a two-week annual active duty stint, Reservists aren't exactly as experienced as his or her active duty counterpart. What the Reserve, therefore, must provide is that pool of people who are up on the current training and have their quals up to date.

This is why maintaining skills like flight training is critical to the readiness of Reserve units.

Jade, I've seen you around, but don't recall sparring. I'll dance without the snide remarks, cite one dubious interpretation, lets talk. I know the military and the reserves, ground and air, pretty good at the admin stuff. Not an USAF guy, but can find it out.

Interesting you use a brown shoe as your support that an aviator can be ordered to a flight physical. OPNAVINST 3710.7T says that a Naval aviator can request to be removed from flight status. I've known Naval Aviators who have done just that. It ends their flight careers, but they serve out their commitments in non-flight status. Just as Bush did.

But the fact is the May 2 memo is a fake anyways.

I recommend folks here watch CBS news with Dan Rather this evening. They do a long segment and defend their claims against the attacks, and rather well i might add. So far as the 'th' question, they produced documents already released by Bushco at the same time that show the raised 'th' and the Times Roman font has been around since 1931. The rest needs to be seen so if you are on the West Coast, check it out.

The more I think about it, the more I think they're real.

--I can't make any conclusion from various witnesses statements. It's not clear to me why Killian's family members have any expertise here. Other personnel from the unit seem to say conflicting things. The Bush administration has not disputed the authenticity of the documents, and one officer says he remembers hearing Killian say similar things at the time

And so many of the forensic issues have been debunked:
--People said there were no proportional fonts back then. It turns out there were.
--People said there were no typewriters with superscripts, and one of the forensic experts consulted by the AP says that is her main basis for suspicion. But not only were there other superscripts; other documents in Bush's file use superscripts.
--People said it superimposed exactly on a Times New Roman Document on MS Word defaults. It does not. The superscript is higher, some letters are lower, and there are some character difference.
--People said Times New Roman didn't exist back then. But it, or a similar font called Times Roman, did.
--People said it used kerning and this was impossible for a typewriter. But kerning, in the sense of squashing letters together, is possible on a typewriter. I--the dummy who thought that typewriters only used Courier--remember using it in junior high. Gary Farber remembers using it in the 1970s. And in the sense of the exact match between individual letter pairs--the MS Word default that this supposedly so suspiciously resembles has that kind of kerning turned off.
--The "suspicious" 34567 P.O. Box appears on other contemporary documents.

I won't pretend to have kept careful track of every charge, but a large majority the ones I remember have now been debunked. Powerline's most recent discussion says that "But I don't want to lose sight of the more basic point, which is that the documents simply look like word processed documents, not typed documents." They look as much or more like the proportional space typed documents than like word processed documents, so that's a pretty &%#@%%&@$^ weak basis for referring confidently to the "fraudulent documents" and saying that "CBS news is walking the plank for the Kerry campaign.".

Which means these background considerations start to seem stronger:

--To attempt to pass off a laser printed document as a typewritten document, you would have to be, to paraphrase Tommy Franks, "the f***ing stupidest forger in the world". Like, Scooby Doo villain level stupid. Unless this is some Bush-hating 14 year old, most people remember that computers and especially personal computers with laser printers are recent inventions. How f***ing stupid would you be to forge a "1973" document with your PC and laser printer? It's not like it's hard to locate a typewriter. It seems like there ought to be impressions on the paper, slight shifts up and down of the letters, and other clear signs.

It also seems like those signs would be most visible if you examined the document, say, in person, with, say, a powerful magnifying glass, instead of blowing up a not-great quality PDF version. No one but CBS and whoever its forensics are have done that, and CBS stands by its story. People who claim that they would testify "beyond a reasonable doubt" that it is a fake without ever looking at the original, and citing evidence that is later disproven, lose a lot of credibility with me.

(Final question: why do Powerline's versions have fax numbers on them when CBS' don't? I'm assuming they're using the White House's scans? It really threw me--I was prepared to never watch CBS again if they based this on faxes.)

It seems like CBS should have its forensics experts why they are convinced, and/or invite independent forensics experts to look at the actual documents. And if they are forgeries CBS should reveal its sources. But I'm increasingly dubious.

So no kerning, and I'm back to leaning towards real docs, with part of the dispute arising because people are seeing copies of copies. Wish I could just look away for a few days...

"Why did he disobey orders to get his physical?"


If true, my guess would be drug testing

Sebastian,

If true? It's true.

You point out above that it is hard for the White House to claim these are forgeries unless they are certain. But if Bush was never ordered to get a physical they would be certain, wouldn't they? And then they would have every reason to raise hell about it. They are not raising hell, because they are unsure they are forged,or maybe even know they are legitimate. And that means, among other things, that there was an order.

Sigh.

Take a look at this comparison of proportionally spaced text from MS Word, an IBM Selectric with a proportional font, and an IBM Executive using proportional spacing. Notice that even with a few words being compared, the spacing is wildly off.

Then explain to me why typing the same text into Word using all of the default settings provides a practically identical document, with identical margin breaks, identical header centering, identical leading, and identical tab stops. The difference in superscript position is resolved if you print the document, it ends up being in an identical position to the printed originals.

And, for the record, kerning is impossible on a mechanical typewriter. The typewriter would need to know the previous character typed, and would need to know all the combinations of letters that require kerning. This is why it was done by hand on Linotype output or with Letraset prior to computer technology being able to do it.

Again, kerning is turned OFF on the Word defaults.

d-p-u - it seems (what do I know though) that the state of the conversation is that there wasn't kerning (see powerline, elsewhere). It is claimed that the similarity is due to MS having originally designed to match the standard of the day, typewritten docs.

Dan Rather stands by the docs, citing some supposed expert.

But ALL Trutype fonts contain kerning information. Word seems to offers a higher level of automatic kerning, but when I test it with certain classical combinations (AW for example) at large font sizes, the results are identical to the kerning=OFF option. Their help on the matter is somewhat lacking as well. So I don't get it.

At any rate, my main point is that Word produces an almost identical document without changing any settings. Given the enormous number of possible typewriter features that vary from machine to machine (font size, spacing, platen rotation, form of superscript, user-set margins, etc), the odds that Word by coincidence would produce identical output is just a little too out there for me to believe.

Dan Rather stands by the docs, citing some supposed expert.

Was there a name used? So far, all leading experts on this that I've read about today, some of them pro-Kerry democrats, have said that they appear to be a forgery.

"the odds that Word by coincidence would produce identical output"

Again, the claim is that the similarity is due to MS having originally designed to match the standard of the day, typewritten docs.

"Was there a name used?"

Marcel Matley is the guy referred to. He's an actual expert, if such a thing exists on these questions. See the energetic discussion at tacitus.org or look at CBSNews's story.

Again, the claim is that the similarity is due to MS having originally designed to match the standard of the day, typewritten docs.

Word does not match typewritten docs. Look at the samples that D-P-U pointed out, and tell me how Microsoft Word matches the line breaks of typewritten documents when the letters would clearly be a different width.

Does CBS have originals? If so I don't understand:
--Why they have not shown high quality close ups or photographs
--Why the forensics experts being quoted elsewhere don't feel they should look at the originals

marguerite, re whether CBS has originals - from the following (from their site) I get the impression that Matley saw the originals, but it's just an impression. The relevant hunk of the article follows:

Document and handwriting examiner Marcel Matley analyzed the documents for CBS News. He says he believes they are real. But he is concerned about exactly what is being examined by some of the people questioning the documents, because deterioration occurs each time a document is reproduced. And the documents being analyzed outside of CBS have been photocopied, faxed, scanned and downloaded, and are far removed from the documents CBS started with.

Matley did this interview with us prior to Wednesday's "60 Minutes" broadcast. He looked at the documents and the signatures of Col. Killian, comparing known documents with the colonel's signature on the newly discovered ones.

"We look basically at what's called significant or insignificant features to determine whether it's the same person or not," Matley said. "I have no problem identifying them. I would say based on our available handwriting evidence, yes, this is the same person."

Matley finds the signatures to be some of the most compelling evidence.

Reached Friday by satellite, Matley said, "Since it is represented that some of them are definitely his, then we can conclude they are his signatures."

Matley said he's not surprised that questions about the documents have come up.

"I knew going in that this was dynamite one way or the other. And I knew that potentially it could do far more potential damage to me professionally than benefit me," he said. "But we seek the truth. That's what we do. You're supposed to put yourself out, to seek the truth and take what comes from it."

Does CBS have originals? If so I don't understand:
--Why they have not shown high quality close ups or photographs

Me either.

--Why the forensics experts being quoted elsewhere don't feel they should look at the originals

Reading the interviews with these guys, they've all said they can't be 100% until they do, but that what they have seen is suspicious.

...and the documents being analyzed outside of CBS have been photocopied, faxed, scanned and downloaded, and are far removed from the documents CBS started with.

I downloaded the documents straight from CBS, so that's their fault, and they might want to do something about it then.

"You have a strange view of utter nonsense. If you are in the middle of a hotly contested campaign, even if you suspect documents are forged, you can't say anything until you can prove it. The reason you can't say anything is that if you are proven wrong and often even if you are right but not 100% proveably right, it will look like you were trying to engage in a cover-up."

What, the excluded middle doesn't exist, Sebastian?

"We'll be looking into it, but we're not yet convinced of the provenance or reliability of these documents" is some sort of bizarre, unheard of, incriminating, declaration?

By who, where, why?

"You can't say anything."

Yes, to be sure, we see that lack of ability to suggest doubts all the time in politics. That's certainly the way the SwiftVets worked.

Does CBS have originals?

CBS has photocopies, which knocks the signature analysis out of the box. I could go on but I don't want to ruin your fun.

Fun? No, I'm just getting annoyed at everyone involved*.
This poster is having fun, though. He makes a good case that most of the "forensic experts" being quoted in the press have utterly no clue what they're talking about. Also, think a lot of the reaction to this is being driven by "Gosh, it sure looks like a Times New Roman to me", "Gosh, my old typewriter sure didn't write like that"--mine certainly was at first--, and that posts shows why that's a lousy way to judge. Check out the superimpositions of the two serif fonts, and especially the ads for proportionally spaced fonts on typewriters.

So many of the "definitive proofs" that these were forged have been discredited, and it would be so bloody lazy and stupid to forge these on a laser printer with MS Word defaults, that I still lean towards believing they're real. But I don't know what the hell I'm talking about, so as a public service I am shutting up. I encourage my fellow members of the "Don't know what the hell we're talking about" to follow my example so we can hear the answers through the noise.

*except Gary Farber, who is apparently better at this than the overwhelming majority of the "forensic experts" quoted in the major news stories. Help us Gary Obiwan Farber! You're our only hope.

Bouffard has reversed course:

But specialists interviewed by the Globe and some other news organizations say the specialized characters used in the documents, and the type format, were common to electric typewriters in wide use in the early 1970s, when Bush was a first lieutenant.

Philip D. Bouffard, a forensic document examiner in Ohio who has analyzed typewritten samples for 30 years, had expressed suspicions about the documents in an interview with the New York Times published Thursday, one in a wave of similar media reports. But Bouffard told the Globe yesterday that after further study, he now believes the documents could have been prepared on an IBM Selectric Composer typewriter available at the time

. . .

Bouffard, the Ohio document specialist, said that he had dismissed the Bush documents in an interview with The New York Times because the letters and formatting of the Bush memos did not match any of the 4,000 samples in his database. But Bouffard yesterday said that he had not considered one of the machines whose type is not logged in his database: the IBM Selectric Composer. Once he compared the Bush memos to Selectric Composer samples obtained from Interpol, the international police agency, Bouffard said his view shifted.

In the Times interview, Bouffard had also questioned whether the military would have used the Composer, a large machine. But Bouffard yesterday provided a document indicating that as early as April 1969 -- three years before the dates of the CBS memos -- the Air Force had completed service testing for the Composer, possibly in preparation for purchasing the typewriters.


It sounds as if the conservative blogs have performed a great service by confirming the importance of these documents. . . .

For those still relying on Killian's superior's affirmation of the documents: "
HODGES SAID HE WAS MISLED BY CBS: Retired Maj. General Hodges, Killian's supervisor at the Grd, tells ABC News that he feels CBS misled him about the documents they uncovered. According to Hodges, CBS told him the documents were "handwritten" and after CBS read him excerpts he said, "well if he wrote them that's what he felt."

Hodges also said he did not see the documents in the 70's and he cannot authenticate the documents or the contents. His personal belief is that the documents have been "computer generated" and are a "fraud".

Has anyone checked out the matters of fact mentioned in the documents yet? I'm thinking specifically of the PO Box number... anything other than typefaces will do, at least.

Anarch, the PO # appears elsewhere in Bush's records. Afaik there's no dispute so far about the content - certainly none from the WH that I've heard. (I'm discounting relatives' opinions here).

Sebastian, Bouffard apparently has reversed his verdict of "forgery". If Hodges's opinion was determined as described in the text you quote, it wasn't worth much in the first place...

"If Hodges's opinion was determined as described in the text you quote, it wasn't worth much in the first place..."

Well, duh. But it was 60 Minutes that was relying on Hodge to authenticate the documents. They are the ones who are using a handwriting analyst to verify the authenticity of a copy. If it came from Killian's 'personal' files, why don't they have access to an original? If it came from Killian's 'personal' files why doesn't his family know anything about it?

Anarch - one factual question I ought to have noted: Staudt is mentioned in the CYA memo as exerting pressure. At the time in question he had been retired for a year and a half or so. This doesn't seem relevant to me, but some people appear to care.

Sebastian, the current Hodges statement strikes me as more likely to be teller-of-unpleasant-truth-remorse than otherwise, and at least leaves me with the impression that Hodges felt that the views expressed in the memo weren't unreasonable, but from here of course it's impossible to tell. Ditto afaict the rest of your questions. And to say that 60M "rel[ied] on Hodge to authenticate the documents" is in my view extremely tendentious.

The Boston Globe, mostly pro-doc.

Interesting you use a brown shoe as your support that an aviator can be ordered to a flight physical. OPNAVINST 3710.7T says that a Naval aviator can request to be removed from flight status. I've known Naval Aviators who have done just that. It ends their flight careers, but they serve out their commitments in non-flight status. Just as Bush did.

This specifically militates against your...interpretation. Yes, aviators and pilots can request to be removed from flight status. It's rare but it happens.

But you seem to conveniently forget Bush was suspended from flight status for a reason. That reason was the failure to take a flight physical. Now, we could speculate all we want that Bush may have purposely not complied with orders to take the flight physical in order to invite the sanction of being removed from flight status--but I sure you see the problem with that.

Additionally, you make the completely unsupported claim Bush completed the remainder of his time in a non-flight status. The fact is there is no evidence to support that assertion and, indeed, that has been the mystery for many years now.

The Boston Globe, mostly full of crap.

No one's claiming the $50k reward for proof that Bush ever showed up in Alabama. And no one ever claimed the $10k offered by Gary Trudeau either. Hmmm.

Frederik,

Since (some of) the documents were supposedly ones that Killian wrote for himself and which never went into any official record or files, how would the WH be able to say whether they're genuine or not? Bush himself would not have known Killian had written them, and would never have seen them.

But Bush would know if he had gotten a direct order to take a physical. If he never did, then he can be sure that document, at least, is phoney.

Also, I presume he would have been notified of his suspension. If was never notified, he knows that one's false also.

Also, if he never had the conversation with Killian, he would know that one's false.

So despite all the BS floating around from self-described experts we can be quite sure he did get such an order, disregarded it, and was suspended. These things happened, which, to my mind, makes it overwhelmingly likely the documents are legitimate.

Stop with the Photoshop filters and kerning and all that. It's nonsense.

So can we please hear what Bush supporters think about his actions, and his statements about them since? Or would you prefer to continue dreaming up theories as a smokescreen? What next? Vince Foster forged them?

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