Saturday, October 09, 2004

Are the CBS documents legit after all?

It turns out that the first careful analysis of the CBS/Killian documents by a real documents expert - as opposed to a partisan Republican operative - shows that the documents are consistent with being typed on the appropriate kind of typewriter in use in the military at the time the documents were purportedly created. All the pseudo-erudition displayed from the mob of warbloggers - expertise on fonts, typewriters, computers, etc. - was just a load of crap intended to destroy the credibility of the CBS story about their beloved chimp's problems in the military. The author of the analysis, David E. Hailey, Jr., was himself the subject of a mob attack by the warbloggers, no doubt also orchestrated by the same Republican operatives, starting with 'Buckhead', who organized the initial attack on CBS and Dan Rather (an attack which continues, and has expanded to include Dr. Hailey).

My initial supposition that this whole incident was a dirty trick by Karl Rove to head off valid attacks on Bush's highly questionable service record is not altered by the fact that the documents appear to have been created on the appropriate typewriter. Indeed, the organization behind the response to Hailey's legitimate attempts to get at the truth prove that the same dirty tricks department is still in full operation.

The trick would have been orchestrated by having copies of the actual Bush documents, or at least retyped versions of them typed on the right kind of typewriter, directed to CBS through Bill Burkett. At the same time, a completely bogus set of arguments purporting to refute the integrity of the documents was prepared and placed on the internet by the Republican operative known as 'Buckhead', amplified by the cacophony of warblogger voices adding their two cents worth. The disgusting American media picked up the story and made it into a personal attack on the credibility of Dan Rather and CBS News. CBS News tried to withstand the pressure, but was scared off by the fact that Burkett apparently misled them about the provenance of the documents. Without that provenance, and in the face of the wall of vicious personal attacks, CBS couldn't afford to wait for the facts to emerge, and caved in.

The beauty of the trick was that it used the actual damning documents from Bush's file, or possibly a very close facsimile of them altering some words to provide a fall-back position should the arguments of the warbloggers not work. As the documents were consistent with everything else CBS producers were able to discover about the service record of George Bush, CBS was easily fooled. Had Rove or his minions attempted to get cute and use significantly altered documents that were less damaging to Bush, either Burkett or the CBS producers might have smelled a rat.

The audacity of the trick is that it could very well have backfired if CBS has stood its guns and waited for all the information to emerge. Rove would have then shot himself in the foot by releasing documents that he otherwise could have kept locked away in the very compliant Pentagon. The large risk that was taken proves how important this issue is, and how dangerous the Republicans feel the truth would be to Bush. As it is, the scheme worked perfectly, and Bush's dodgy military record is no longer an election issue. People like Dr. Hailey need to be smacked down lest anyone start asking embarrassing questions about how this dirty trick worked.