Tuesday, September 14, 2004

finding memo

i could post dozens of links about the "memo" non-scandal, just page after page of people (many of whom have no clue what they're talking about, but some who know quite a lot) arguing about kerning and curly quotes... these were fascinating to me in a sense, as someone who has to deal with such issues in my job (but by no means a document expert or knowledgeable about 70s typewriters). but this salon link is the last one i will post:

Upset by renewed attention to President Bush's disputed service in the Texas Air National Guard, White House communications director Dan Bartlett insists the new revelations about how strings were pulled to get Bush into the Guard, as well as to get him out, are part of "a coordinated attack by John Kerry and his surrogates on the president." There is no evidence to support that claim. But there is clear evidence confirming that the same conservative operatives who have been busily promoting the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth smears of Kerry are now engaged in pushing the story that CBS's "60 Minutes Weeknight Edition" aired forged documents in its Wednesday night report on Bush and the National Guard.

Creative Response Concepts, the Arlington, Va., Republican public relations firm run by former Pat Buchanan communications director Greg Mueller, with help from former Pat Robertson communications director Mike Russell, sent out a media advisory Thursday to hawk a right-wing news dispatch: "60 Minutes' Documents on Bush Might Be Fake." Creative Response Concepts has played a crucial role in hyping the inaccurate, secondhand Swift Boat allegations, with Russell serving as the group's official spokesman. A company spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Throughout the Swift Boat smear campaign, the veterans involved asserted they had no political agenda and were unaffiliated with any political party. But Creative Response Concepts, which was obviously paid some undisclosed amount for its Swift Boat work, has many links to the Republican Party and the conservative movement. Among its clients are the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee. Its client list also includes the Christian Coalition, National Taxpayers Union, Media Research Council and Regnery Publishing. Regnery is the firm that published "Unfit for Command," the SBVT screed against Kerry's military record.

more evidence that something shady is going on with the "fake memos" allegations.

but by even discussing this as i have, i have also fallen for their frame of this story. it's not about whether those four documents are "real". the story is whether the content of the cbs story is true. did bush somehow use his connections to land a cushy spot in the reserves instead of active duty? multiple sources have come forward saying he did. did he fulfill all his obligations to the reserves? it looks like he didn't.

us news & world report did an analysis of bush's public military record and it didn't turn out good:

A review of the regulations governing Bush's Guard service during the Vietnam War shows that the White House used an inappropriate--and less stringent--Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty. Because Bush signed a six-year "military service obligation," he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year beginning July 1. But Bush's own records show that he fell short of that requirement, attending only 36 drills in the 1972-73 period, and only 12 in the 1973-74 period. The White House has said that Bush's service should be calculated using 12-month periods beginning on his induction date in May 1968. Using this time frame, however, Bush still fails the Air Force obligation standard.

Moreover, White House officials say, Bush should be judged on whether he attended enough drills to count toward retirement. They say he accumulated sufficient points under this grading system. Yet, even using their method, which some military experts say is incorrect, U.S. News 's analysis shows that Bush once again fell short. His military records reveal that he failed to attend enough active-duty training and weekend drills to gain the 50 points necessary to count his final year toward retirement.

similarly, but seemingly less noticed, salon points out how a bush document leaked to the drudge report to back up republican spin actually demonstrates that he didn't live up to all his commitments. look at point h:

Satisfactory participation during my membership in the Air National Guard of the United States will be attendance and satisfactory performance of assigned duties at 48 scheduled inactive duty training periods and 15 days' field training (active duty for training) annually, unless excused therefrom by proper authority. It also includes successful completion of on-the-job upgrade training.

as already demonstrated above by us news, couldn't even live up to the standard of 44 days, let alone 48.

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