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Not a 50/50 Split

Wow. I can't believe Rather had the gall to give this interview:

That was why, he said, half of the experts agreed and the other half didnít. That supposed stalemate left nothing but the truth at the center of the documents.

"In terms of the experts, youíre going to find an equal number of experts on the authenticity arguments," he said. "I donít think thatís going to resolve the argument. The core truth of the reporting, I think itís already clear that itís true. And I think as time goes along, it will become even more apparent."

(emphasis mine) Yeah, Dan, but there's one key difference between CBS's experts and everyone else. Your 'experts' don't have names.


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"Your 'experts' don't have names." Amen to that. Rather is looking more and more like the deer caught in the headlights of the oncoming truck.
And yet strangely (unlike with the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth" campaign), no direct evidence has been unveiled against the "truth at the center of the documents." The author of the memos is dead, but his secretary admits this is exactly the sort of stuff he wrote of Bush (while at the same time denying having typed up the memos in question). No documents have been produced to the contrary. No other commanding officer has come forth to dispute this account of Bush's record. I realise that the onus is on Rather to prove his case. But even so, isn't it a bit suspicious that no attempt has been made to directly refute it?
Hmmm. I don't know, but wouldn't the onus of proof still be on Dan Rather to prove that the documents -- or the 'truths' -- are genuine? We have one secretary claiming that they are reflective of what Killian thought, but is there any other person who has unequivocally said anything supporting her statements? Without more evidence in support of her assertions, it's just hearsay, and I don't think anyone has to refute anything until Rather gets us something better than a "I know that is what he thought, even though the documents may be faked".
At the risk of buying Tony another beer we have to distinguish between the documents (apparently dodgy) and the attempts to support them, and the story which summarises as Bush did not complete his National Guard Air Service in a manner that deserved an honourable discharge. The documents might be bad, the story is almost certainly true, and there's a wealth of circumstantial evidence to this effect, if you're not aware of it by now that's probably through choice.
Lashlar: As I said, I agree that the burden of proof is on Rather. Despite this, the lack of a campaign of and counter-evidence from the Bush campaign is deeply suspicious. I.e., if its all lies, there should be evidence of that. If there's evidence, there's no reason not to wave it around and proclaim that Rather is talking crap. If there's no reason not to do this, we'd expect them to do it. So I'm forced to conclude that it isn't lies. Or in other words, "what Martin said".
Oops, missed out the critical "they haven't done it". Plus the precepts of deductive logic.
So far as I can tell, Bush has never contested that he probably received special treatment in the Guard--the Barnes allegations were made years ago and Bush said that while they may be true he hadn't asked Barnes for the help--Barnes, to my knowledge, has never contradicted this. These documents were purported to add to this narrative the failure to obey direct orders and the desire to punish being frustrated by higher ups. Does the 86 year old secretary's account of "snickering" at W confirm that? Hardly. Does her testimony contradict the fact that Staudt (the pressuring higher-up) had retired 1.5 years before these memos were supposedly written contradict that? If you wish to rewrite the story of these memos into "did Bush deserve his honorable discharge"--well, why not? They are already totally fiction, so might as well rewrite them on the fly as suits you. For the record, I don't think any of us knows what constituted the minimal level of service to get an honorable discharge from the National Guard in that era. The first (or was it the 8th) round of hysterical reporting on all this suggested that things were very lax in the guard, for kids of privilege and for all. Thus, it's not clear, even if every gap in Bush's record is presumed to hide nonfeasance, that he wouldn't have "deserved" an honorable discharge according to the standards of the day. Absolutely nobody should, and I imagine nobody does, support Bush on the strength of his Vietnam record. Of course, he never asked anyone to. Now the crowd who want him out of office produce forgeries to characterize that era even more negatively, and call him a liar for not answering the charges therein. Please. W
Fr. Bill: Come on - you're not suggesting that the question of Bush's behaviour as a member of the armed forces has no bearing on the question of his re-election? His reputation rests solidly on being a warrior. Kerry's challenge rests (pretty much) solidly on being a better warrior. You may think that's stupid, but that's the battleground(!) they've chosen. If Bush were to come out tomorrow and say "ok, yeah, I was shit in the armed forces - but judge me as a war leader, not as a warrior" I'd at least respect him for his honesty. But he won't do that - he and Kerry both want to reduce this down to macho posturing.
It's not about macho posturing so much as the delicate balance of public opinion. War is the single biggest issue for this election, because Bush started one. Was that a good thing or a bad thing ? Is he a war hero or a war criminal ? These (ill-posed) questions couldn't be more relevant.
Cardinal, I don't think anybody should take as their primary evidence of how either of these men will behave over the next four years their behavior 30 years ago, no. I think people who wanted to reject Bush on the grounds of his Clintonian evasion of the Vietnam war had every right to do so, and probably did so four years ago. It strikes me as odd and unlikely that anyone would NOW change their vote on that basis. If people are unhappy with Bush's prosecution of this war and believe that Kerry would do better, they should vote for Kerry. But I think we would both agree that the evidence for that case is best made on the basis of what we have learned about W over the last four years, and not on the basis of CBS's obsession with his non-war Vietnam record. I'm not worried about, nor impressed by, the silly swagger of either of these men. I would rather the swifties and the forgers had not dominated our debate the last few weeks. But to pretend that CBS's silly behavior here was vindicated by the "fake but accurate" defense is sheer lunacy. Similarly, to claim that the best use of media resources in helping people make an informed choice about this election is to spend time chasing down Kerry's Cambodia fables or Bush's less than impressive Guard service is just silly. And I think that Bush's claim to be a war president is not at all rooted in his guard service--your suggestion that that's the ground he (rather than Kerry) has chosen is off the mark. He has chosen to claim that, on balance, people should approve of his leadership in Iraq. That's an enormously contestable claim, no? And an enormously more important issue than whether this son of privilege was an energetic slacker or a slacking slacker while slacking during Vietnam. Best, Fr. Bill
Cardinal Sin, Martin, etc.: Indeed, I'm all with Fr. Bill here, in that I'm not particularly concerned about the substance of the allegations. If it will make either of you happier, I'm willing to assume arguendo that every allegation in the document is true. It's certainly not going to change my, nor likely anyone's, vote. But it does bear on something else, which Martin should recognize a bit more directly than he does. The story here isn't about what either man did before I was born. The story is about what CBS will do now. Martin has quite often attested that the press is 'professional,' 'objective,' 'does the best it can,' etc. Well, you don't get scandals like this, made up out of whole cloth, coming out of CBS news--and remember, it originated these charges, it didn't just respond to a Swiftie attack--with forged evidence. What Martin resorted to in another post--something along the lines of "You can sure as hell bet that CBS checked these documents out before they released them"--is what's called an argument from authority. The problem is, losing an argument from authority makes it less effective next time, particularly the next time that CBS doesn't do something godawful stupid, like post their evidence on their own website. (What would have happened with this story if they'd been not only dishonest, but also cunningly evasive?) That's why the story is interesting, and why people are focusing on it. Anyway, not much more commentary from me for a while, simply because I'm in London at the moment and internet access, while not scarce, is not what I'm here for. But feel free to discuss!
Martin has quite often attested that the press is 'professional,' 'objective,' 'does the best it can,' etc. Well, attest it or not, I'm none too impressed with press accuracy, or unbiasedness. I have been forming the opinion for some time press distortion of the truth has got so far that something has got to give. But in any case, I shall repeat that I don't disagree that the onus is on the accuser to prove their case. I still say that if there were strong evidence against the claims it will be produced (unlikely), and that the question of the credibility or otherwise of the claims has a bearing on the election result. I concur that it should not, that more recent events are more relevant. But that isn't really how democracy works, is it?
For the record I've argued that press should be professional and trustworthy, aspiring to something higher than partisan batterings. I didn't say they succeeded. In this case I'm with you, I'd like CBS to put all the cards on the table. Of course I'd also like to see all the cards on the table about the Plame affair, which is much more important and far less reported. As for 'no-one would change their vote if the allegations were true' assuming the allegations become widely accepted fact (rather than widely accepted among political junkies) it's got to be worth 1-2 points at least. I mean, a CinC who ducks combat, fails to show up for duty and disobeys a direct order before being grounded, only escaping a dishonourable discharge because of family ties. Hell, that's the man I'd want leading the war on terror. Of course, the fact that this is the man leading the war on terror probably explain a lot. 54 dead US soldiers and more than 250 iraqi civilians so far this month, it's flower strewn sidewalks all the way in Bagdahd...
Of course I'd also like to see all the cards on the table about the Plame affair, which is much more important and far less reported. There was a nice bit on the Daily Show last week regarding 'Douchebag of Liberty' Robert Novak's demanding that CBS release all the information on its source for these documents.
NY Times 1/27/2002 U.S. Ignored Threat of Terror, Giuliani Says "In the 1930's, Hitler told us what he was going to do, and we ignored it, for years and years and years. In the 1990's, the terrorists told us what they were going to do. And we ignored it. We glorified Yasir Arafat when he was training terrorists in Palestine. We allowed Saddam Hussein to build weapons of mass destruction as we removed inspectors." End of Quote from NY Times When a man who has been publicly compared to Hitler throughout his career invokes the Fuhrer by name we should all pay attention. Giuliani was 100% right that we knew what Hitler, Saddam Hussein and bin Laden were going to do, but he left out how we knew. How we knew is the key to understanding Giuliani, the Bush administration and what really happened on 9/11. Hitler, Saddam and bin Laden have much in common besides being mass murderers. All worked for, were financed by and were armed at the direction of America's top corporate interests, most conspicuously among them corporations and individuals associated with the Rockefeller and Bush families and with the men who created CIA policy. Giuliani is intimately linked to these families and corporations. The Bush family were Hitler's American bankers, spending more than a decade building up the Nazi war machine until their banking and shipping assets were seized by the U.S. Congress in 1942 under the Trading With the Enemy Act. Time to wake up and see the real 'light' We are so blessed to witness the Book Of Revelation's prophecy of the end times. Incase you forgot the defintition of AntiChrist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antichrist "The expected role of the Antichrist Christian denominations disagree on what will happen in the end times, and the role that Satan and the Antichrist will play. Among those who expect the Antichrist to arise in the future, there is a general consensus that sometime prior to the expected return of Jesus, there will be a period of "trials and tribulations" during which the Antichrist, inspired by Satan, will attempt to win supporters, and will silence anyone or make enemies of any country who refuses to approve of him. This metaphor written as ("receive his mark")." Characteristics? he most common interpretations continue to be that the Antichrist will be some sort of high-ranking political leader, who will initially do very good, popular things, which will win him many followers. In the end, however he is supposed to get increasingly totalitarian and elicit more and more sacrifices from his followers until eventually his evil ways become known, and the era of "trials and tribulations" wake-ee wake-ee

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