Updated 11/17/08
Update Notes  "Disclaimer"  Contact

Remember those memos that were used by CBS, but which the
diligent blogosphere
uncovered as fakes/forgeries? Yeah, well....

 "I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to
get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better
myself by learning how to fly airplanes" -George Bush
(1990 - Dallas Morning News)


Questions about George W. Bush's Service in the Texas Air National Guard:
George Bush's military service in the Texas Air National Guard ("TexANG") has been an object of criticism and suspicion since his days as governor of Texas. While there was some media investigation into it during the 2000 election campaign, most notably by the Boston Globe, it became much more of an issue during the 2004 election campaign when John Kerry's Vietnam service and post-Vietnam antiwar activities came under attack by Republicans and right wingers, starting roughly in April of that year with "questions" about when Kerry tossed some of his medals during some long ago antiwar protests. This escalated into attacks from both sides about which candidate was more honorable during the days of Vietnam. From any neutral viewpoint, it would appear Kerry by a huge factor had the better resume in war and out, including being an active public figure in the news, on talk shows, and even appearing in Doonesbury. Consequently, the attacks on Kerry's record were far more relentless, petty, and deceptive, reaching a crescendo of sorts with a series of ads by "The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," a group of  Vietnam veterans having little or no connection to Kerry during the war (or apparently to truth in general), but having a whole lot of connections to the Republican party. The group is headed by an old Vietnam-era nemesis of Kerry named John O'Neill, whom President Nixon once used to "get" John Kerry. The basic truth is that Kerry did his job in Vietnam and was fully deserving of his medals.

While there was a surge of  media investigation of Bush's Guard service towards the beginning of the year, the spring offensive against Kerry drew attention away for a while, but the media investigations, most notably by the Associated Press, resumed later on, centering on the irregular and drawn out release of Bush's service records.

The CBS 60 Minutes II Broadcast:
On the evening of September 8, 2004, the day after a release of more of Bush's records forced by an AP lawsuit, CBS belatedly entered the fray with a 60 Minutes II segment on the topic. The segment, hosted by Dan Rather, featured an interview with former Texas House Speaker & ex-Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes, who supposedly helped Bush get into the Guard to avoid risky Vietnam duty, as well as what Rather described as "a number of documents we are told were taken from Col. Killian's personal file" where "Killian" is the late Lt. Colonel Jerry B. Killian, Bush's commander at Ellington Air Force Base, where Bush was stationed as an F-102 jet pilot back in the early 70's.

A copy of the 60 Minutes segment in .MOV format (Apple Quicktime and also playable with VLC) can be found here: "9-08-04-benbarnes-1of2.mov" is the segment before the commercial break, and "9-08-04-benbarnes-2of2.mov" is the rest of it following the break. (People forget that it was only a standard 12 1/2 minute segment and actually featured the interview with Ben Barnes.) The memos get brought up towards the end of Part 1.

Flash versions of the two parts can be found here and here.

These documents were primarily of a type called a "memorandum for record" -- an unofficial memo that notes conversations, actions, and decisions, and which is then filed away for later reference. The Air Force, which holds authority over the Air National Guard, recommends that commanders use them as sort of a journal. Fuller descriptions with examples can be found here, in excerpts from one of the Air Force Powerpoint Writing Guides floating about on the Internet, and in the long time Air Force writing & communication guide, The Tongue and Quill (aka AFH 33-337).

Screen capture from one of the AF writing guides. 

Proportional Printing and the Right Wing Blog Sites:
These memos were also proportionally printed, and it was this that very quickly caused a stir in the right wing blogosphere that spread to the mainstream media within days: it was claimed that this type of printing was very rare then and only with very expensive typesetting equipment -- therefore the memos had to have been forged. This post by "Buckhead" (aka Harry Macdougald) in the Free Republic is generally acknowledged as the post that started Rathergate:

The basic problem with this is that all of the tech "info" here is wrong, wrong, wrong. Actually everything you
read, saw, heard, from whatever source regarding the "forged" memos is probably just as messed up.

Proportional printing typewriters, especially the IBM Executive for example, were actually pretty common prior to
the IBM Selectric becoming the office standard (supposedly because of its reliability and easily interchangeble fonts).
The above is from the 1993 forensic book, Scientific Examination of Questioned Documents: Revised Edition
by the late Ordway Hilton

Quick Index

Main summary
  1) The forger did not have access to all of the information needed to forge the memos
  2) The forger would had to have been not only improbably brilliant, but smarter than the entire blogosphere, as well as the mainstream media
  3) The supposed forger was a lot smarter than even the Washington Post
  4) You actually can't recreate the memos with a modern word processor
           4a) What happens when you try?
  5) Wouldn't Bush know if they were real or not? So what did he have to say about all this?
            Details, schmetails:
            A) What was the state of office technology at the time?
            B) How well can older devices recreate the memos?
            C) What do the official DoD records show?
            D) A Brief History of the CBS Memos
            E) Summary of  Bush's Guard Service
            F) Bush's point records for his last 2 years of service
            G) Bush's Air Guard service timeline
            H) Fun with Fonts
            I) What devices could print proportionally, superscript, etc, at the time of the memos?
            J) The IBM Executive Typewriter
            K) Diablo Daisywheel Printer
            L) How would Killian have access to a daisywheel printer?
           M) Why would Killian use a law firm?
           N) What about all those other issues with terminology and such that were also pointed out?
           O) Other thoughts

Summary of why the Killian memos can't be forgeries

1) The forger did not have access to all of the information needed to forge the memos

This is a short memo that CBS never used in its report:

While very short, it has two important elements -- a reference to James Bath, and a concern about flight qualifications/certification for both Bath and Bush. In addition to the curious fact that Bath also got verbally suspended from flying by Killian exactly one month after Bush was, and for the exact same listed reason, "Failure to accomplish annual medical examination," Bath's name was redacted from the DoD record released in 2004, but not in the same record obtained in 2000 via FOIA by Marty Heldt. The real forgery killer, though, lies with this memo showing Killian being concerned about flight certifications. An examination of Bush's flight records kept here by the DoD indeed shows a distinct and very anomalous sharp rise in "training" flights in a T-33, which is an old 2-seat jet used for training pilots prior to them moving on to active military jets like, in Bush's case, the F102A (See also this):


Now if you tediously input the dates, hours and the other pertinent info into a spreadsheet:

And then get rid of two impossible entries, do some summing by month, note whether these were done in F102A's, T-33 trainers, or on a simulator, and then create a chart, and colorize it a wee bit, you should end up with something that looks like this:

Normal F102A flights    Simulator    T-33 trainer

Note the erratic activity beginning about mid-January with the break in simulator runs, and the rash of T-33 trainer flights beginning in February and escalating in March, when Bush's time in the T-33 exactly equalled his time in the F102A: 8.6hrs. All this odd activity shows that there was indeed something up with Bush's flying status, as strongly implied by that Feb. 2, 1972 memo.

Despite the flight records being  hard to read, messy and unsorted, the supposed forger in theory still picked up on the sharp rise of  T-33 flights and was confident enough (yet again) to not only conclude that Bush had flight certification issues, but was sure enough of this to forge that short, one line memo stating that as a concern of Killian. If that wasn't enough, the forger somehow also figured out that James Bath had the same issue, even though Bath's flight records don't appear to be publicly available anywhere. So are we dealing with a brilliant and cocky forger here? No.
Despite Bush and his people promising and claiming to release all of his military records at the beginning of the year (2004), the record release was actually apparently stonewalled and dragged out  for the  most of the year as shown by thisthis, this, and this. The flight records in particular were not released until Sept 7, 2004:

The flight records were not released by the Pentagon until  Sept. 7th,  2004

BUT, as you can see from this excerpt from the (inane and incompetent) Thornbough/Boccardi Panel Report:

CBS had already obtained all the memos from Bill Burkett on Sept. 2 and Sept. 5! Meaning that the flight records, having been released on Sept. 7, were not available for any would-be forger, however  improbably brilliant and resourceful, to have deduced Bush's flight certification issue. Since the Feb. 2nd, 1972 memo has the same print characteristics as all the other memos, then, well: the memos were not forged and could not have been forged under any circumstances!

2) The forger would had to have been not only improbably brilliant, but smarter than the entire blogosphere, as well as the mainstream media

Some pro-forgery folks have tried to explain away the content  match-up by claiming that the forger constructed the memos from the DoD records. Aside from begging the question, "If the forger was this careful, why didn't he or she also just use one of the many, many typewriters still in use?" Some of the DoD support is just so fine, subtle and unobvious, that it's very, VERY improbable for any forger to have been so brilliant yet so foolishly cocky to bother with such minutia. For instance, look at the infamous CYA memo:

 Killian writes, "I'll backdate, but won't rate. Harris agrees." -- this refers to the
 May 1, 1972 - April 30, 1973 "Not Observed" Rating Report.

Was the report backdated? Apparently so, but it's not exactly obvious. For starters, see if there's something along the lines of "One of these is not like the others" when you look at all the ratings reports, their dates, and when they were signed off (and if also endorsed):

Rating period ending April 30, 1971: Harris May 26, 1971; Killian May 27, 1971; Hodges (additional endorsement) May 27, 1972
Rating period ending April 30, 1972: Harris May 26, 1972; Killian May 26, 1972; Hodges (additional endorsement) May 26, 1972

Rating period ending April 30, 1973: Harris May 2, 1973; Killian May 2, 1973; No Hodges

That May 26th date for the evaluation in the other rating reports is not arbitrary -- it's based on Bush's enlistment date of May 27, 1968, making his report period for service and training points May 27 - May 26. If you rummage through his DoD records, you will see the May 26 date appear over and over again in regards to all of Bush's reports, hence making the May 2nd date for the "Not Observed" rating report very, very much out of place and odd -- unless it was indeed backdated as the "forged" CYA memo said it was. In theory, a brilliant and military savvy forger could have figured this out, but...why include such an really unobvious reference that very, very few would even notice? 

Another very unobvious reference is in the other Killian memo that CBS didn't use in its report, the one dated June 24, 1973. The pertinent excerpt is:

This has two subtle points backed up by the DoD records: while Bush "cleared" Ellington on May 15, 1972 (as mentioned in the "Not Observed" rating report), he stopped flying in April of 1972 according his flight records; and while Bush, after a year long record of very spotty attendence, put in a lot of time in starting in May of 1973, it was indeed after the rating period, which ended on April 30.  See the following pay credits, with dates (Note how "31" is sometimes listed for September, April, June, November, and February, which is obviously incorrect and apparently some recordkeeping artifact. These are marked with an "*".) :

Apr 1972 ARF: AFPRC: 4,6,10-12,15-16; Payroll 4,6,10-12,15-16,31*
May 1972 ARF: AFPRC: 26 (15 Gratuitous Pts added for 5/27/72-5/26/73) Payroll: No pay
Jun 1972 ARF: AFPRC: Payroll: No pay
Jul 1972 ARF: AFPRC: Payroll: No pay
Aug 1972 ARF: AFPRC: Payroll: No pay
Sep 1972 ARF: AFPRC: Payroll: No pay
Oct 1972 ARF: 28-29; AFPRC: Payroll: No pay
Nov 1972 ARF: 11-14; AFPRC: Payroll: No pay
Dec 1972 ARF: AFPRC: Payroll: No pay
Jan 1973 ARF: 4-6,8-10; AFPRC: Payroll: 4-6,8-10
Feb 1973 ARF: AFPRC: Payroll 31*
Mar 1973 ARF: AFPRC: Payroll: No pay
Apr 1973 ARF: 7-8; AFPRC: Payroll: 7-8,31*
May 1973 ARF: 1-3,8-10,19-20,22-24,29-31; AFPRC: 26 (41 points + 15 gratuitous added); Payroll: 1-3,8-10,19-20,22-24,29-31
Jun 1973 ARF: 5-7,23-24; AFPRC: Payroll: 5-7,23-24,31*
Jul 1973 ARF: 2-3,5,9-12,21-22,23-27,30; AFPRC: Payroll: 2-3,5,9-12,16-19,21-27,30
Aug 1973 ARF: AFPRC: Payroll: No pay
Sep 1973 ARF: AFPRC: Payroll: 31*
Oct 1973 ARF: AFPRC: Payroll: No pay
Nov 1973 ARF: AFPRC: Payroll: 31*
Dec 1973 ARF: AFPRC: Payroll: No pay

Note: ARF = "ARF Statement of Points Earned," AFPRC = The "USAF Reserve Personnel Record Card" that's filled in by hand ; and "Payroll = the Payroll Records

This info comes primarily from Part 2 and Part 4 of the Personnel Records and the Payroll Records. This supports the  flight records, which all by their lonesome show numerous discrepencies as well as the widely reported falloff of Bush's service starting in the spring of 1972. Note: while Bush's time in May came after the rating period ended, most of it was done before the May 26 evaluation date. So it would appear that Killian, along with Harris, were likely pressured to fold Bush's May time into the rating period ending on April 30th.

Additional notes and complications
Retired Colonel Gerald Lechlieter wrote a highly extensive and detailed analysis of Bush's service records for the NY Times in 2004 (PDF version, HTML version). He also apparently maintains glcq.com, a very messy but highly, HIGHLY annotated site both very critical and analytical of Bush's Guard service (completely outside of the Killian issue). He also has collected documents not available anywhere else, like long lost "AFM" manuals referred to in Bush's official records. One thing he took note of  is this May 10, 1973 computer printout (yes, computers were indeed used frequently in those primitive, ancient "Pong," HP-35, Jet Ski, and dune buggying on the moon days) called the Uniform Military Personnel Record ("UMPR").  He separated out two sections of the report for this composite image:

Lechleiter writes: The "footer" of this document (information that is included on the bottom of each page) indicates that the reason this printout was done was for a "Record Review" ("PREP FOR:  RCD REVIEW).  Item 17 notes, under "PROJ-REASON", "no report for 1 year".  ("NO RPT 1 YR").  This strongly suggests that as a result of this highly irregular OER, ARPC was reacting by doing a review of Bush’s records.

The "OER" in this case meaning Bush's May 2, 1973 "Not Observed" Rating Report.

At first glance, Lechleiter's point makes sense since Bush was indeed "Not Observed," for the May 1, 1972- April 30 1973 rating period, but the date, May 10, is an anomaly: while this is after the rating period, it's before the normal evalution date of May 26, so how would the USAF/ARPC know about Bush being absent? Well, if the May 2, 1973 on the "Not Observed" rating report wasn't actually backdated and was sent out immediately to the USAF/ARPC, that could explain things, but what reason for there be for Killian to have rushed out the negative evaluation of  Bush? Also, as shown by the endorsement of Bobby Hodges, the base commander in the prior rating reports, these things, as with apparently all such official documents, would had to have passed through Hodges and Col Rufus G. Martin, the base personnel officer.

The USAF's Air Reserve Personnel Center ("ARPC") started an inquiry/investigation into the "missing" rating report on June 29, 1973 via an official request for an explanation or more information regarding the "missing" rating report. The request was signed off on July 10, 1973 by USAF Master Sgt. Daniel P. Harkness with the comment,  "This officer should have been reassigned in May 1972 since he no longer is training in his AFSC ("Air Force Service Category") or with his unit of assignment."

If Lechleiter's supposition that the May 10 computer printout "strongly suggests" that the "ARPC was reacting by doing a review of Bush’s records" then why such a  long delay until the June 29 inquiry? Googling "Uniform Military Personnel Record" doesn't bring up much besides repeat of Lechleiter's point, but the  military links that do come up indicate that UMPR's are really just report cards.

Indeed the May 10 UMPR appears to be just mostly a summary of Bush's service to date, including referring to "74Apr30" as the "Proj-OER-Date" and "73May01" as when "OT-SUPVSN-BEGINS" -- meaning that it seems to be only noting when Bush's then current rating period begins and ends. Lechleiter actually has a footnote to his point about the UMPR that states: "It is not absolutely certain that this document originated with ARPC; however, the circumstances strongly suggest that it is as described."

Now, I have already noted above how in the Killian note dated June 24, 1973, Killian wrote, "Neither Lt. Colonel Harris or I feel we can rate 1 st Lt. Bush since he was not training with 111 F.I.S. since April, 1972.  His recent activity is outside the rating period." But note that he also wrote, "I got a call from your staff concerning the evaluation of 1 st Lt. Bush due this month.  His rater is Lt. Colonel Harris." and he ended the memo with "Advise me how we are supposed to handle this."

The June 24 date would fit in with the June 29 date of the USAF/ARPC inquiry. Actually the second digit for the day on the inquiry date itself is obscured -- you can only make out that it's June 2x, with the x looking to be maybe another "2". How do we know it suppose to be 29? It's referenced in another file dated several months later on Novemer 13, 1973 (as I keep mentioning, if there is a forger here, he or she is pretty darn smart). Also Killian as Bush's commanding officer, would be the primary contact person regarding Bush's missing rating report, and as such,  he would also have been expected to be the one most responsible for dealing with the USAF inquiry. And if you take away the Killian memos, all you would have left is his "Not Observed" report, which would be very insufficient paperwork considering that the USAF inquiry wasn't closed (or finally stonewalled, to put it more accurately) until months later on November 12, 1973.

3) The supposed forger was a lot smarter than even the Washington Post

The Washington Post published articles here and here comparing the Killian memos to official records, and made a complete botch of it due to it not doing its homework and only succeeded in adding to the widespread confusion over military document formats (not to mention the state of common office technology in the ancient early 70's). If you check pages 157-182 (by PDF page count) of the long time USAF Tongue and Quill writing/communication guide, you will see how the format for memos is suppose to be different from official records, including how the signature block is generally on the right for memos and on the left for more official records. Also memos for file/records are not "official" records and hence are not archived unless they were classified -- there isn't a single memo in Bush's files maintained by the DoD. And as far as proportional printing goes, MOST of the military/state memos found on the Internet from the 70's and even earlier are proportionally printed, as this excerpt from a declassified 1959 "Killian" memo shows:

Compare this to one of the CBS Killian memos:
Which perhaps should be compared in turn to this high quality personal letter done in memo style:

From HistoryForSale.com. Cleaned up and copied from this.

By the standards of this Washington Post comparison, all these memos/letters would be suspicious because: their formats also don't resemble an "officially released Killian memo": they are proportionally printed; the date format is not standard, and the signature block is on the "wrong" side. It appears most of the declassified memos found on the Internet (like these guys: Dated Oct. 4, 1971, Dated Nov. 30. 1971, Dated Feb.17 1972) would be suspicious for the same reasons.

Note: for more document samples, click here

Also look closely at this little section of  the Ayers letter:

Look closely at the "ly" in Sincerely,  the "RO" in ROSS, the "AY" in AYERS, and the "Ad" in Adjutant. Why?
They appear very much to be kerned! And look again at that Post comparison to see what it said about kerning.

The Post's "analysis" of the superscripting is just as bad. This is how the memo superscripting compares to Word recreations:

Note how none of the st's are superscripted. While most can be explained away by an inexplicable gap preceding them, as the Post mentioned,  there are 2 st's with no such gaps and they still aren't superscripted. The results for the "th" superscripting are obviously very mixed: 3 are superscripted; 2 are unsuperscripted with a preceding gap; and 2 are unsuperscripted even without the gap. The first group of non-superscripts came from the Aug.1st, 1972 memo. Some pro-forgery people have tried to explain this away by saying that the forger simply had had trouble getting Word not to autosuperscript. That's one of the more idiotic explanations -- we're only talking about 6 memos in total, with none being very long. If Word was being used to create the forged documents, once you figure out how to stop the superscripting, it's quick and utterly trivial to print them all out -- that's one of the reasons for using a word processor like Word in the first place!

Also, for some strange reason, the only document in Bush's records to have very clear but very non-modern looking superscripting never got a mention in the Post nor evidently anywhere else: this is an excerpt from the Pentagon-supplied "Military Biography" (also note how Alabama, where Bush supposedly spent about a year at, never gets a mention, nor in this harder to read "Chronological Listing of Service"):

While not proportionally printed, when was the last time you saw printing and superscripts looking like this?

Some more proportionally printed documents:

A proportionally printed Air National Guard document from 1969 from Mary Mape's book "Truth and Duty"
Actually most of the documents Mapes found appear to be proportionally printed (which is apparently something
she and her people missed). Her book site, truthandduty.com appears to be gone now, but a copies of those
documents (in PDF format) can be found here.

A paragraph from a draft press release for the Redactron Redactor word processor, circa August, 1973
Courtesy of the Charles Babbage Institute, University of
Minnesota, Minneapolis.

The same paragraph in Arial 12pt Bold, 1.5 line spacing, circa April, 2007. But Arial didn't even
exist until about 1982 so how can this be? Arial is a rip-off of an earlier font called Helvetica, and
Microsoft chose Arial over it. Not a bad match considering that the original font is unknown, the system
that created it is unknown, and the recreation was done with an eyeball match using a common Windows
font on a system over 3 decades newer. This should be enough to show how much utter BS and confused
nonsense there was about early 70's era office tech and what people could or could not do back then.

Lastly, another not so little thing the collective free press paid little or no mind at all to: on Thursday, Sept. 24th, just 2 days after CBS announced it created a (supposedly) independent panel to "probe" the story,  more documents are belatedly released by the Department of Defense without any good explanation for their delay (they were actually forced to do so). In this collection, you will find some rather funkily formatted documents, including this little gem. Here's a very interesting excerpt from that document:

Notice anything funny about it aside from it being a little bit warped? It's proportionally printed! And it's the only one like that in all of Bush's records -- but for some strange, never explained reason, it was very quietly released only after CBS had backed away from the memos and appointed an investigative panel. And nobody in the mainsteam press, and very few bloggers, took note, despite proportional printing having been the biggest factor in the forgery charges, nevermind the very, very odd timing of it, especially considering how all of Bush's records were suppose to have been released long before then.

4) You actually can't recreate the memos with a modern word processor

On Sept. 9, 2004, the owner of the right wing web site Little Green Footballs, Charles Johnson, claimed that he "opened Microsoft Word, set the font to Microsoft’s Times New Roman, tabbed over to the default tab stop to enter the date '18 August 1973,' then typed the rest of the document purportedly from the personal records of the late Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian. And my Microsoft Word version, typed in 2004, is an exact match for the documents trumpeted by CBS News as 'authentic.'" His overlay of the memo with his recreation, especially the animated version, was taken by many as proof positive that the memos were forged. There are a few problems with this:

It's not an exact match:
Click here for an enlargement of Johnson's animation. Note how the characters shift both in position and shape. And given the reproduction quality of standard copier and fax equipment in 2004 and years before that, you would very unlikely not have that type of degradation even with multiple, multiple passes. Compare that to this overlay of a 1966 Selectric Composer sample, pulled from an archived PDF document using a "Press Roman" typeface, with that of Windows Times New Roman. I took a crack at doing an animated overlay of the same memo here -- not too shabby, but still not nearly an exact match

Where are the recreations of the other memos?
If it was that easy, where are they? If you peruse the Little Green Football's "CBS Killian Document Index," you see a number of recreations of the August 18, "CYA" 1972 memo, and lots of  chatter, but what about the other memos? -- there are only 6 in total (USA Today had two more than CBS) Well, there is something called "Another Document Experiment: 19 May 1972," but clicking on that only shows a type-up Word recreation being only verbally compared to the original memo, and no overlay. So what happens if you do an overlay? Well, you might get something like this -- it doesn't work at all.

What happens when you try?     
Well, with a nice touch of color, and a special treat or two, you get: A Festival of Animation.

The superscript issue:
Most of this was already covered in the Summary, but try this for sh*ts and grins: bring up Microsoft Word and type -- do NOT just copy and paste -- in the following: 187th 111th 1st 147th 9921st

Note what happens to the th's and st's:

The above represents the default behavior of Word -- it will automatically superscript instances of "th" and "st" when they immediately follow a number.

Now look again at that second group of super/non-superscripting samples, which are from the May 4th, 1972 memo:

It's obviously mixed. Now try typing this in Word and see how convenient it is to skip superscripting on the first "111th" and the "1st," but then have it on for the last "111th". A bit awkward, eh? And does it make any sense? It would -- only if superscripting was a manual operation and if, say, the printwheel only had a small "th" character" and not a small "st", as was the case with Marian Knox's Olympia typewriter,   as it well may have been the case of  a daisywheel printer, since there wre only a couple of extra spokes at best for such characters.

But the importent thing to note is that this inconsistency in the superscripting is not a characteristic of any modern word processing system.

Recreation attempts by others:

This is Dr. David Hailey's result of trying to overlay a Word recreation over a high quality copy of one of the memos
with a letterhead he got from Mary Mapes. You may find his complete report here.

Thomas Phinney the typographer, who thinks the memos are forgeries, also tried his hand at recreating the same
memo. This is a close-up of a key section in his result:
Note the misalignment of the numbers on first line and the chracters from the "147 th" bit on, especially compared
to the "AFM 35-13" section below it -- mere warping or distortion from a bad fax/copier machine cannot explain
this mismatch. This type of vertical  misalignment  can mean only one thing -- the font in the memos is
 fundamentally different
from modern Time Roman (Mac)/Times New Roman (Windows)

5) Wouldn't Bush know if they were real or not? So what did he have to say about all this?

Two words: diddly and squat.

He and his people have so far avoided any direct comments whatsoever about the veracity, or lack thereof, of the Killian memos, which, well, is the classic behavior of a guilty man.


Check out  the "answer" then  White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett gave to "Stephen from Colorado Springs" when asked about the CYA memo during an "Ask the White House" Q&A session on Sept. 21st, 2004: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ask/20040921.html

Stephen, from Colorado Springs, CO writes:
"Dan, Why is it that the president or you will not declare that the documents (CYA Memos) are false and untrue? Certainly if the documents are fakes, then the information in them is false as well."

"Let's hear you and Mr. Bush say they are false and untrue accusations and we can settle all this mess."

Dan Bartlett:
"We don't have the technical expertise to determine if they were fake or not. Remember, these supposedly came from the personal files of man who died more than 20 years ago. Thankfully, a lot of expert bloggers and other news organizations did get to the bottom this growing scandal."

"Expert bloggers"!!??


A couple of months later, on Tuesday, December 7, 2004, former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, who co-headed the supposely CBS independent review panel, sent an e-mail to Dan Bartlett: "As I mentioned on the phone, we are in the homestretch of our assignment and would find it very helpful if we could secure written responses from the President to the following questions so that we can tie up a couple of loose ends," wrote Thornburgh.

The questions were:

  1. Was there a waiting list to become a pilot of the Texas Air National Guard at the time you entered?
  2. Do you recall Colonel Killian being dissatisfied in any way about your National Guard service in 1972 and 1973?
  3. Were you ever ordered to take a physical in May 1972 or at any other time?
  4. Did Colonel Killian say in May 1972 that you could do Equivalent Training for three months or transfer?
  5. Do you recall being suspended from flight status on or about August 1, 1972? If so, how was that suspension communicated to you?
  6. Why were you suspended from flight status? Was there a reason other than not taking a physical?
  7. Describe your communications with Colonel Killian about a transfer to Alabama in 1972.
  8. Did Colonel Killian or anyone else ever inform you that Colonel Killian was being pressured in any way about your status by a superior officer?
Not the worst questions to ask, eh? So what was the response? The next day, Bartlett replied with: "I must say, I was somewhat surprised by the questions," he wrote. "I guess we viewed your work as more focused on what CBS did/did not do regarding their reporting, not the substance of their charges. The answers to your questions can be easily found in the public records so we would prefer to keep him out of participating in your report."

"The answers to your questions can be easily found in the public records"!!?? In other words: "F*ck off!"

Of course CBS would end up dumping Rather and a few years later hiring Barlett, a deliberate, stonewalling liar. Figures....

The Bottom Line
The CBS (and USA Today) Killian memos were not forged. Period. The claims regarding 70's office technology were always utterly factless and nonsensical and easily disprovable with a trip to a good library. The claims regarding supposed issues with formats were also just a stupid and clueless. The contents fully match up in excruciating detail with official records and what was already know from other sources. One key bit of info contained in the memos is supported only by records that were not available until after CBS had obtained the memos. The central character in all this, George Bush, who had well more than info and documents to jog his memory about that important time in his life, could have very easily have settled all this, but kept a guilty silence instead. The role of the right wing/conservative media was that of utter maliciousness. The role of the mainstream  corporate media was that of lazy, incompetent reporting, and irresponsibly specious and spectacularly poor fact checking. The role of the public was to be utterly confused and mislead by it all.


A) What was the state of office technology at the time?

Every research-challenged blog and media comment made about the sort of office equipment that was around in the early 70's was laughably off. For example, from the Business Machines Executive Newsletter, issues March and May, 1972 (this info courtesy of the Charles Babbage Institute), in 1971 IBM's revenues from  its MT/ST-MC/ST word processors exceeded typewriter sales, with about 3600 units being shipped monthly about that time, and these were $7000-$9500 machines. The latest IBM model.at that time was the "MC/ET" ("Mag Card/Executive"), which utilized 9-unit proportional spacing producing 6 difference letter widths, and offered automatic centering and supposedly a bunch of other features as well. This unit came out in April, 1972 and sold so well that there was a 14 week waiting period on it and that it hurt the sales of the older Mag models. 

Judging from features lists of mostly long forgotten word processing systems (obscure Redactron sold its 10,000th word processor by 1975) like those listed in this daisywheel ribbon cross-reference, proportional printing was a highly desired feature back then. Read these comments by a lawyer describing some of his experiences with some early word processing systems. Also note that there were two common forms of data storage in use back then, magnetic tape cartridges and (later) cards. While developed by IBM, other systems used the same media for interchangeability. So a document created in the late 60's on an IBM system and saved to a cartridge, could be then be brought up years later on, say, a Redactron model like this. A good overview of IBM's word processing developments is here, and a good overview of the entire early word processing market is here.

1971 Word Processor -- the Redactron Redactor. 10,000 of these
were sold by mid-1975 according to this Business Week article
Documents created and stored on this system could also be read into a
phototypesetter machine made by Graphic Systems Inc.of Lowell,  MA.
(This info courtesy of the Charles Babbage Institute)

In case you're wondering how many companies could afford these $8,000+ machines, bear in mind that Xerox couldn't make enough of its model 914 copier, which cost $29,500 in 1960 -- an awful lot of money, even more so considering what a dollar was worth then. The trick was in leasing -- the 914 copier was leased for $95/month plus 5 cents/copy. Word processors were apparently also leased, as were usually IBM typewriters. These were not disposable devices -- they were expected to be in service for a good many years (look at how many Selectrics are still around for filling out forms.)

While casual Internet searching, including even with Google, gets only sketchy info on what common office technology was like way back then, very thorough searching and trips to a good library clearly indicate that people were certainly not just using typewriters at that point. Actually the word processing market took off during the 1960's! IBM essentially created the market beginning with the MT/ST (Magnetic Tape/Selectric Typewriter)  in 1964, and a host of other venders, mostly startup companies, began entering the market starting around 1969 with companies like Redactron and Diablo Systems (see "David S. Lee"). In 1971,  word processors using video screens were introduced, spearheaded by the Lexitron Videotype.

From IBM Word Processing Developments (those "I/O Selectrics" were replaced by OEM daisywheel printers.)

 The now long, LONG obsolete IBM Executive typewriter for one had been around for decades prior to 1972 and that could proportionally print, be bought with different fonts, and had interchangeable typebars for special characters. Super/subscripting was also easy enough it: you just roll the platen a half line -- a "click" -- in either direction. But that didn't stop the mainstream press from focussing on whether the memos could have been created with an IBM Selectric typewriter -- apparently they were under the impression that prior to PC's and Mac's, the only office equipment that existed in those ancient days were Selectric typewriters. Not quite.

Computer-driven proportional printing prior to the introduction of laser printers in the mid-80's were done primarily by first I/O Selectrics, then daisywheels, with "NLQ" dot matrix printers being added later. These had to deal with restrictive limitations based on horizontal resolution, typically to 1/72" for an I/O Selectric and 1/60"-1/120" for a daisywheel. This relatively horizontal resolution meant there were compromises in rendering proportional typefaces compared to what modern inkjet and lasers can do. Which in turn means that if memos were indeed created on some old system using an old Times or Times-like print element, you would expect to get EXACTLY the results that were demonstrated above  when you try to overlay all the memos with a modern recreation done in Times Roman/New Roman -- some not so bad, some awful. Even with modern computers, you can get some "drifting" when translating between between one font rendering system to another -- take a look at the differences between the relative lines endings in the left and right columns here.

The left image is from Word Processing in the Modern Office, Paula B. Cecil, Menlo Park, CA, Cummings Pub. Co 1976
The right image is from Word Processing, Arnold Rosen & Rosmary Fielden, Engelwood Cliff, N.J. Prentiss Hall, 1977

Daisywheel printers began being used at about the time of the memos, first by Diablo Systems and then a little later by Qume (both companies founded by  David S. Lee). Details about the different models and their capabilities are hard to come by even with extensive library and archive research. Part of this problem lies in how both Diablo, especially and Qume were OEM suppliers who would customize the printers to their corporate customers, and these corporate customers, often dedicated word processor manufacturers, would use their own model numbers on the printers. The best references so far have been the unobvious: ribbon suppliers. The remaining ones evidently maintain an extensive crossreference of printer model types and you can figure out which of the early word processors used  which general daisywheel family model at least by which ribbon they used. For instance look at this Swiss ribbon reference for a particular Diablo HyType/Qume ribbon. It's an astonishing list of long, long forgotten word processor models, most of which I cannot find a single reference for beside other ribbon supply sites. Googling individual models gets some 1972-1973 dates for some of them at least, like the CPT 4200, the AES 90, and the AB Dick Magna 1 (from a CBI reference), but you only the impression that things like the Vydec 1000 and the Videotype 1000  were around at that time, but without any hard dates.

How big was the word processing market in the early 70's? Pretty big:

From Word Processing, Arnold Rosen & Rosmary Fielden, Engelwood Cliff, N.J. Prentiss Hall, 1977

Some Business Week articles from 1975 and 1977 show that by the mid-70's, the word processing market had actually peaked in terms of the smaller, innovative companies that formed at the beginning of the decade, with most of those being gobbled up by the likes of Xerox and Burroughs. This post has these comments by a lawyer who used some of the early word processors, including this rather telling excerpt: Burroughs bought out Redactor corporation (or at least its computer line from them), and sold a dedicated word processor with a large full letter size screen (portrait, not landscape) with dual floppy disk drives (RAM on a disc instead of linear on tape - HUGE time-saving improvement), for about $13,000. They gave me and another attorney a $3,000 discount if we would turn in a Redactor I so they could literally junk it at the city dump - they did not want to service them even for a $500 per year service contract. My buddy had one, and so we purchased a Redactor II (R-2) (which we promptly renamed R2-D2, of StarWars fame) for a mere $10,000. It used a Qume daisy wheel printer which had blinding speed that blew away the IBM Selectric, and we could attach different wheels for different fonts and sizes ranging from 10 pica to 12 elite to 15 fine print (great for attorneys ), Courier, Letter Gothic, and even "proportional spacing" Times (OMG!) print. It was almost like owning a print shop and having a sophisticated type composer machine. We could do anything...except graphics.

Excerpt from Interfacing Microcomputers to the Real World by Murray Sargent, described here.

The office technology of the 70's was not so primitive....

From Word Processing in the Modern Office, Paula B. Cecil, Menlo Park, CA, Cummings Pub. Co 1976

 The NBI OASys 3000 "Information Processor" from the late 70's -- check out its specs

B) How well can older devices recreate the memos?

Typographers like Thomas Phinney have focused on character spacing and the relative position of line endings to each other to support the forgery claim (while ignoring all other factors.) This begs the question: "Is there anything unique about the Times Roman (Mac)/Times New Romans (Windows) spacing shown in the memos?" Prior to laser printers, Diablo daisywheel printers and their compatibles were *the* standard for letter quality printing for over a decade. Xerox, which bought Diablo Systems in 1972, also had a big hand in developing Postscript. What are the odds that the native proportional spacing mode on a Diablo-type printer would match up in some way with that shown in the memos?

A functioning Diablo-compatible daisywheel printer would be handy to test this out, but I don't happen to have one. PC Magazine, though, use to have an annual Printer issue where they tested a large range of printer and included print samples. I happened to have gotten my hand on the Nov 10, 1987 issue, which was one of the last issues with daisywheel printers. This is one of the Diablo-compatible printers with a nice proportional print sample:

Note how there is "Pica" printing right above the proportional printed line -- Pica is fixed at 10 characters/inch, hence making a handy ruler in reference to the proportional spacing shown below it. Windows "Courier" font at 12 point is spaced identically to Pica. So in theory, I could type up that right side print sample in Courier and then try to locate some proportional fonts that matches up best with that shown in the Brother sample, and then, oh, recreate one of the memos in those fonts and see what happens:

Hmmm.... In case you're wondering: that "CG Times" font stands for "CompuGraphic Times," a generic Times font that came with the first HP LaserJet printers back in 1984. Now let's see how the above compares to the CYA memo:

Well, looky that -- the CG Times Bold doesn't seem too far off the mark, does it? Not too shabby for a guess from an old magazine sample, and certainly good enough to indicate that, yes, a Diablo daisywheel or compatible just using its default proportional print mode (the character spacing could also be individually mapped) may well have been used to create the memos. Curiously, when I was tuning the fonts for the best matchup, even though the CG Times ended up being a near dead match to the CYA memo, it was the most coarse. It might be using 9-unit spacing -- the typographers out there should be raising an eyebrow....

Just in case anybody wants to do an overlay experiment, use this line-adjusted copy
(Created in WordPerfect 10, CG Times Bold 12pt, Line Spacing 1.07)

C) What do the official DoD records show?
 Even if you take the memos out of the picture, the DoD records, particularly Part 2 and Part 4 of the Personnel Records, the Payroll Records, as well as the Flight
Records, all by their lonesome show numerous discrepencies as documented by some news media investigations, including the widely reported falloff of Bush's service starting in the spring of 1972. Martin Heldt and Gerald Lechliter made sterling individual efforts obtaining and analyzing the official records to a degree that shamed almost all of the mainstream media.


Memos are not official documents, hence are not archived. Their recommended format is different from that of official records: if you check pages 157-182 (by PDF page count) of this version of the The Tongue and Quill, you will see how the format for memos is different from official records, including how the signature block is generally on the right for memos and on the left for more official records. This one little format issue tripped up not only almost all of the news media, but that (supposedly) CBS independent review panel.as well. This Washington Post article for example comparing one of the Killian memos to an official letter is just a notable sample of the widespread confusion over military document formats. Elementary research that very few bothered to do. The basic format of the Killian memos, including the position of the signature block, are in keeping with ALL other such military/government memorandums for record (or "file") found on the Internet,

Discrepencies in the Flight Records

The Flight Records have two evidently bogus entries at the very end of Bush's last military flights, which ended in 1972: "8/25" and "5/27". Not only are these completely out of sequence from the ones before them, but Bush had "cleared" Ellington for Alabama on 5/15 according to the "Not Observed" rating report and he was suspended from flying on August 1, 1972. See: Last Bush Flights. This discrepency was also noted, among many others, in an analysis of Bush's flight records, by the AP, which got the records via FOIA.

Missing Documents
There should have been specific forms and records following up on Bush's flight suspension, but every single one is missing. These are Air Force requirements and not so much Guard. The AFM 35-13 cited in Bush's suspension very clearly states, All rated officers on flying status must accomplish a medical examination annually or biannually (flight surgeons) as prescribed by AFM 160-1. Failure to accomplish a required medical examination disqualifies the officer for flying duty and he will be suspended effective the first day of the month following his birthmonth, citing this paragraph as authority. (1) The local commander who has authority to convene a Flying Evaluation Board or forward through command channels a detailed report of the circumstances which resulted in the officer's failure to accomplish a medical examination, along with a recommendation that the suspension be removed. (2) The individual's major command will forward the report along with the command recommendation to USAFMPC/DPMAJD, Randolph AFB TX 78148, for final determination. See: AFM 35-13 and this AFM 35-13 Excerpt:

Note: I got the AFM 35-13 info from http://www.glcq.com/regs. Note also that an extensive analysis of Bush's records can be found here

Also there are literally no DoD records at all regarding Alabama from when Bush was suppose to be there doing "equivalent duty" with the 187th Tactical Recon Group. This Sept. 15, 1972 record shows that Bush was suppose to put in 2 full days on Oct 7-8, 1972 and then again two more on Nov 4-5, but these dates don't show up in the points or the payroll records, indicating Bush also didn't show up. So where is the paperwork regarding this and all other 187th matters? The DoD records indicate that forms and reports get CC'd (or "Cy'd") quite a bit and to different locations, so it's extremely, extremely unlikely that they and all their copies could would have been coincidently lost while other DoD docs for that period are readily found. Indeed it appears that the next time after that Sept. 15, 1972 that "Alabama" even gets mentioned in any official DoD doc is in the backdated "Not Observed" rating report in 1973.

D) A brief history of the CBS memos:

Wednesday,  September 8: the day of the 60 Minutes II report (well, actually, the 12½ minute segment)

Prior to the airing, CBS provided copies of the memos to the White House and interviewed White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett regarding the issue. Bartlett doesn't deny anything in the memos, but claims the issue is no more than "partisan politics." The White House e-mails copies of the four memos in the 60 Minutes report to reporters and editors across the country. These are the same memo copies they got from CBS the day before.

USA Today also gets copies of the memos, but directly from the source that  60 Minutes used: former National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Bill Burkett.

The following day, the 60 Minutes story gets decent news coverage across the country. Charges that the memos CBS used were forged start to spread through the Internet. The  forgery charges start to appear in the mainstream press the day after. Experts of all dubious stripes were brought out to comment on the memos. Most if not all of the "analyses" were, well, pretty damn stupid, and indicated little or no research into the type of office equipment that was available back in the early 70's. (You would have thought that before computers, there was only this thing called a "Selectric"...) Regardless of this, CBS's credibility started coming under serious attack from both  Internet and mainstream sources.

Wednesday, September 15: a week later, Rather interviews Killian's former secretary, Marian Carr Knox. She tells him that she did not type the memos and believes they are forgeries, but that "the information in those is correct." This doesn't exactly help CBS's case.

Monday, September 20: CBS, in the face of all the criticisms and attacks, backs down. They reveal that Burkett was their source and that he admits to deliberately misleading CBS about where he got the documents from. Rather apologizes with an "I'm sorry."

Thursday,  September 24: More documents are belated released by the Department of Defense without any good explanation for their delay. In this collection is this little gem the only proportionally printed document in all of Bush's official records. (For the fuzzy-eyed, I've created a rulered version here.)

This is actually a document that should have been released back in February of 2004 along with the bulk of Bush's records. It somehow instead ended up being held all the way through the attacks on CBS, most of which centered on the proportional spacing issue. And when it finally does appear, it's just 4 days after CBS had given up on the memos. Draw your own conclusions.

By the way, it looks to my now fairly expert eye that it was composed on an IBM Executive typewriter.

Tuesday, November 23: Dan Rather announces that he will step down as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News in March, 24 years after his first broadcast in that position. Most news coverage of this has been more or less balanced, touching upon highlights of his lengthy career, but the memos "controversy" always gets the most prominent  mention. Of course, there were also plenty of moronic "fake memos" comments from the usual sources like Fox News (John Gibson) and places like this.

I personally feel that he always meant well, which makes him a better person than at least 98% of his right wing critics, but aside from that, I'm still not very happy with him and CBS in general, to put it mildly, over their total mishandling of the Killian memos -- that essentially took Bush's Guard service off the table as an election issue, and in an election so close..... 

E) A summary of Bush's Air Guard service:

In May, 1968, over 300 American soldiers were being killed on average each week in Vietnam. Yale soon-to-be-graduate George W. Bush was only twelve days away from losing his student draft deferment when on May 27, he enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard ("TANG") for a 6 year stint. At the time Bush graduated from Yale, his father, Bush Sr. was a Texas Congressman, which very likely was a teensy bit of a factor in how Bush Jr. managed to make it to the top of a waiting list of 500 trying to get into the Texas Guard despite poor scores on his pilot aptitude test -- Bush had only scored in the 25th percentile, the lowest possible passing grade.

In 1999, Ben Barnes -- who was speaker of the Texas House of Representatives in 1968 -- testified under oath in an unrelated lawsuit that he had put in a good word for Bush with Guard officials at the request of a Bush family friend, Sidney Adger.

Adger had two sons in a very special unit of  TANG, the 147th Fighter Group, a "Champagne Unit" that also included the son of former Gov. John Connally, both sons of Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, Bobby Sakowaitz (a wealthy Houston department store owner), the grandson of H.L. Hunt,  and supposedly at least seven members of the Dallas Cowboys football team. And it was this unit that Bush Jr. ended up joining.

Regardless of the reasons or what strings were pulled,  Bush Jr. in, by all accounts at least acceptably performed his duty duringhis  first few years of Guard service. He completed pilot training in June 1970 and was rated to fly an F-102, an interceptor jet. There is a widely quoted and widely disputed George Magazine article from October, 2000 that presents a pretty benign view of Bush's Guard performance and service. But other evidence suggests otherwise, that Bush had trouble with the F-102 and was put back on flying a T-33, a training jet.

It's Bush's service record starting from about mid-1972, the beginning of his 5th year of service, that's much more dubious and sketchy, and where the bulk of the controversies lie (so to speak), including the CBS memos. The military paper trail rather inconveniently (or conveniently, depending on your viewpoint) falls off from about this point.

Click to enlarge.

The Air National Guard had a point system based on duty time, and there was a minimum of 50 points that all Guardsmen had to accumulate per year to meet minimum requirements. During Bush's first two years, he did very well: 253 points for his 1st  year and then 340 for his 2nd. His points fell off a bit during his 3rd and 4th years: 137 and then 112. For his 5th year, 1972-73, beginning on the anniversary on his enlistment in May, he only got 56 points, just 6 over the minimum, but this includes an automatic 15 "gratuitous" points just for being a Guardsman. He apparently only accumulated the bare minimul 50 points for his 6th and last year of service, 1973-74. (It's been reported elsewhere that it was another 56 points, but a copy of an official record I have below indicates only 50.)

F) Bush's point records for his last 2 years of service:

Points collected by Bush for his 5th year of service. He needs to accumulate a minimal
of 50.
The above totals to only 41, but that doesn't include the 15 he gets automatically
just for being in the Guard so
the actual total is 56.

Points collected by Bush for his 6th and last year of service. Since Bush left
his Guard service early, he was not entitled to 15 gratuitous points for his
last year -- just 5. This means his true total is actually only 40 points --
10 less than the minimal!
This is reflected in Bush's "ARF Retirement
Credit Summary" prepared Jan. 30, 1974.

This is the pertinent excerpt:

Do the math: 19+16 = 35    35 + 5 = 40!

G) Bush's Air Guard Service Timeline

The following are the highlights of Bush's last 2 years of service, including where (and how well) the CBS memos (in red) fit in. Also USA Today had 2 additional Killian memos  I've included those in green.

February 2, 1972: A brief note from Killian asking Harris for an update about the flight qualifications of Bush and some other guy named Bath..

May-November, 1972:  Bush in Alabama worked on the Senate campaign of family friend Winton Blount.

May 4, 1972 Killian orders Bush to report to Ellington AFB no later than May 14th for his annual physical.

May 19, 1972: Killian notes a phone discussion he had with Bush. Bush wanted to "get out of coming to drill from now through November"  and to get a transfer to Alabama in order to work on a political campaign. "The issue of the medical test is discussed."

May 24, 1972: Bush applies for equivalent training at 9921st Air Reserve Squadron at Alabama's Maxwell Air Force Base, and this is approved by Lt. Col. Reese H. Bricken, commander of the 9921st, a couple of days later.

Summer 1972: Bush attends GOP convention in Miami with his father.

 (FYI -- the Watergate break-in occurs June 17)

July 31, 1972: the Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver, the final approval authority, rejects Bush's reassignment request to the 9921st, stating that as "an obligated Reservist" he could only be "assigned to a specific Ready Reserve Position."

August 1, 1972: Killian orders Bush suspended for failing to taking the required physical.

"1. On this date I ordered that 1st Lt. Bush be suspended from flight status due to failure to perform to USAF/TexANG standards and failure to meet annual physical examination (flight) as ordered."

2. I conveyed my verbal orders to commander; 147th Ftr Intrcp Gp with request for orders for suspension and convening of a flight review board IAW AFM 35-13."

August 1, 1972:  Bush is verbally suspended from flying status for failing to take his annual physical.

September 5, 1972: Bush again requests a temporary transfer to Alabama to "perform equivalent duty," this time to serve September, October, and November with Montgomery, Alabama's 187th Tactical Recon Group. This is also the date that his suspension becomes official.

September 15, 1972: Bush's transfer request is approved by Capt. Kenneth K. Lott.  Bush is ordered to report to Lt. Col. William Turnipseed at Alabama's 187th Tactical Recon Group. His "Unit Assembly Schedule" is set for Oct. 7-8 and Nov. 4-5, and at 7:30am - 4:00pm for each of the days.

October 7-8, November 4-5, 1972:  Bush is supposed to report for duty in Alabama, but doesn't show up. The only record tying Bush to the 187th is a dental exam in January, 1973. Records released by the White House show Bush's late1972 duty was performed not on the days ordered, but on Oct. 28-29 & Nov. 11-14. One possible mitigating factor for October is that Bush's grandfather, though, former Sen. Prescott Bush, dies of cancer, October 8th  and Bush serves as a pallbearer at the funeral in Greenwich, Connecticut.

November, 1972: Winton Blount loses his bid for the Senate, and Bush moves back to Houston, but apparently not to Guard duty (see the following May 2nd entry.)  The Winton Blount campaign is mentioned in Bush's transfer request from earlier in May to be reassigned to the 9921st.

January 6, 1973: Bush has a dental exam at the Donnelly Air National Guard base in Alabama. This is apparently the only official record, aside from nondescriptive points records, showing Bush to be on base in Alabama at any time.

May 2, 1973: The annual rating (evaluation) report for Bush, covering his 5th year (May 1, 1972 - April 30, 1973),
states that he could not be rated because "he has not been observed during the period of the report." This report was signed by Lieutenant Colonels William Harris and Jerry Killian.

June 24, 1973: Killian reponds to a request from the 111th for an evaluation of Bush. His response is virtually exactly the same as the authenticated May 2nd document above, that neither he nor Lt. Colonel Harris can rate Bush since he was not with the 111th since April, 1972. (aka "not observed").

June 29, 1973:
An official request is made by Master Sgt. Daniel P. Harkness for an explanation or more information regarding the missing rating report. "This officer should have been reassigned in May 1972 since he no longer is training in his AFSC ("Air Force Service Category") or with his unit of assignment."

August 18, 1973: Killian's now infamous "CYA" memo basically complains about the pressure to cover for Bush's absence  during his rating period. "Bush wasn't here during rating period and I don't have any feedback from 187th in Alabama. I will not rate. Austin is not happy today either."

September 5, 1973: Bush again requests a discharge from TANG and a reassignment to the air reserves (ARPC) in order to attend the Harvard Business School.

Note: it's unclear when Bush moved to Cambridge, MA to start his Harvard classes. Most sources have it vaguely as September, 1973, but classes for the MBA Program actually begin before the end of August, with orientation a week before that. So it's likely that Bush was living in Cambridge by August, 1973.
October 1, 1973: Bush is officially discharged from TANG and becomes a reservist, almost 8 months before his contracted separation date of May 26, 1974.

November 12, 1973: Harkness's request was evidently denied by Major Rufus G. Martin, and with not much of an explanation:

November 8, 1974: Bush sends in his resignation letter from reserve duty, a copy of which only very recently mysteriously appeared.

November 21, 1974: Bush receives his full discharge from all military obligations.

Important Note:
Even though Bush was evidently reassigned to the Alabama 187th, official records about his service there are very noticeably lacking, to the point that it doesn't get a mention at all both in his official "Chronological Listing of Service" and in this undated, but Pentagon-supplied "Military Biography." This is an excerpt from the Biography:

Where's Alabama?

Also take note of the superscripting, which you might remember as being one of the supposed issues that stirred the forgery charges. The Service Chronology also has a superscripted "th," but you really have to look for it.    

As you can see from the above,  ALL of the supposedly discredited memos fit perfectly, in both date and content, with all other information, including the documents released by the White House.

H) Fun with Fonts

A quick close scrutiny of the "CYA" memo by anyone with any sort of extensive knowledge of computer printers, old and new, would have thrown an awful lot of doubt on the Word Times New Roman "theory" to say the least.

Here is the CYA memo in full:

This is the section of the CBS CYA memo that caught my eye immediately and was the primary reason why I was so instantly dismissive of  the Word Times New Roman claim:


Note: how the "S" drops slightly below line; how uneven "Hodges" is; the height and shape of "t"; and how funky the "ss" is in "pressured"

Now see which, if any, of the following matches up best with it:

Only one of these fonts is actually Word Times New Roman
. The less slow will be able to figure out what is what pretty quickly, but not through the print samples. One is Garamond, one is Goudy, and one was created with WordPerfect for DOS.
Times New Roman is an old newspaper font created in 1932 and Garamond is even much older. Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, and other word processors are themselves merely replicating these and other established fonts.

Now, some people have noted that the poor quality of the memos made font identification a little problematic, but that hasn't stopped some supposed typography experts from proclaiming firmly that the CYA memo was  morally, ethic'lly, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably created with Word Times New Roman.

Hmmm...not so fast there, Munchkinheads.

If you look at the CYA memo, you will notice that there are three instances of "Harris" nicely spaced apart. What if we took all three out and compared them to each other and to a Word-created one:

Hmmm... Those three CYA Harris's are surprisingly consistent: a blocky "H", a left leaning "a", a distorted "rr", an "i" with pigeon feet, and a pretty loopy "s". They don't really seem to match up so well to the Word version on close inspection, do they?

Actually, I personally think the "a" sort of looks more like this one:

Which I just happened to have noticed here.

If you want to do your own forensic analysis, use any old good photo editor/paint progam to pull out and enlarge individual letters for comparison. The trick is to look for consistent differences, as with those Harris samples. It just takes only one letter to be consistently different from Sample A to Sample B, however subtle, in order to pretty much eliminate a font correspondence.

But if you still want to believe that the Word version is sort of close enough, remember that font descriptions are very, very precise. Times New Roman and Times Roman, for instance, are trademarked names for specific fonts with an accompanying description of how each character should look, as well as its spacing and kerning (an extra adjustment of spacing between certain pairs of letters to make them look more balanced.) There's no such thing as "Sort of Times New Roman" -- there's virtually no printed character that doesn't belong to a distinct font family. The Goudy, Garamond and WordPerfect samples from the previous comparisons also imply that they too sort of, kind of, look like they could have created the CYA memo.

A good introduction to fonts can be found here:

There are some animated overlays of a Word CYA memo on the original floating around the Internet. The idea was to show how near identical the two versions are, but if you focus on how individual characters shift and change, it actually helps with identifying the differences between whatever the CYA font is and Word Times New Roman. I have a good one here.

The font stuff is kind of tricky, I admit. Most serif fonts used in business tend to look much alike, but Times New Roman is Times New Roman....

Dr. David Hailey initially did a preliminary but fairly comprehensive analysis of memo fonts and came to the conclusion that the memos had to have been typewritten based on telltale signs of mechanical artifacts. He did a cute experiment where he created  a character-by-character replication of on of the memos using typewriter characters:

Close, but not quite there.... He needed to investigate further to see if there existed devices at the time that could both replicate the appearance of the characters and do so proportionally. I should mention that Hailey was attacked for his analysis by morons like these. Hailey has updated his report and it is much more thorough and interesting. Go here.

Also I should give a mention to a guy who went the extra mile to run a Word CYA copy through a fax and copier a few times to simulate the aging process in the CYA original. It's not bad at first glance:

But, again, the details are in the details. Looked how it's warped: unlike the real CYA memo, there isn't unevenness in individual letters -- here they are warped in groups of letters, especially if you look hard at the Harris's in this case. Actually, if  you duplicate the Harris comparison, you end up with this:

Even though the "H's" indicate clearly that there much more fax/copier distortion in this case, there is a much better match-up to their clean Word sibling at the bottom -- the "i's" match up very well, the "a's" are straighter, the "rr's" much less distorted, and the "s's" have the odd flattening. A nice try, but it ends up hurting the Word argument much more than it helps, again if you look at the details. All these characted by character comparisons make all such pro-Word arguments flounder a bit.

I) What devices could print proportionally, superscript, etc., at the time of the memos?

Such an basic question in all of this, but one that has provoked the most bizarre "answers." When all these alleged experts came out of the woodwork and started talking about Selectrics versus Word, alarm bells should have gone off. There were many, many brands and models of typewriters then, and a good many of those with special features, so....where was the discussion and research into them? It says a lot about the quality of research that was done when it was Killian's former secretary, Marian Carr Knox, who broke the news that it was actually easy to superscript because her old Olympia typewriter at least had a simple key to do a superscripted "th".

A 1972 forensics book called Scientific Examination of Questioned Documents by Ordway Hilton and Steven Strauss has a very interesting section on proportionally printing typewriters: it included not only different font samples from the IBM Executive, but from proportionally printing typewriters from other companies. Be sure to check out pages 48, 49, and 50

My own research quickly brought in two likely suspects: the IBM Executive typewriter and the Diablo daisywheel printer. Further research at libraries showed that people in the 70's had actually far more choices for word processing systems than we have today! Unfortunately, although those early systems apparently were pretty common at one point (one long forgotten company, Redactron, sold its 10,000th word processor by 1975), they've been discarded and obsolete for so many years now that memories of them are foggy and records hard to find. This mini-history gives some sense of the true state of affairs back then:

From Word Processing, Arnold Rosen & Rosmary Fielden, Engelwood Cliff, N.J. Prentiss Hall, 1977

An issue of Business Week magazine from February 19, 1972 (see this and this) indicates that at the time of the introduction of daisywheel printers, IBM had been selling between 20,000 and 40,000 OEM Selectric printer mechanisms to other companies for use in the systems needing high quality printing

J) The IBM Executive Typewriter

I actually have a friend who not only use to have an old IBM Executive, but still had a copy of a manual he created on it.

He thinks this Model "C"  looks closest to the
 model he had (it came out in 1959):

This is his description of it:

The "AutoTest 704" manual I provided was typed with an IBM Executive electric typewriter, which I believe used the "IBM 12-point boldface No. 1 - proportional spacing" font.  I think it was a model C (see picture below).  It was a proportional-spacing conventional (not Selectric) typewriter commonly used for publications work.  It had interchangeable type bars (the striker levers with the keys) which contained various characters, such as, for example, a superscript or subscript "2", copyright or trademark symbols, etc.   I remember there were a few levers -- two to four on each end of the basket -- that could be quickly snapped out and replaced with special characters.  I recall having a "rack" of type bars with special characters on them.
All the equations and superscripts in the sample I sent were typed directly on the typewriter (e.g. nothing was cut-and-pasted into place).  Because the type was 12 point, the original was typed on oversize paper (larger than 8.5" x 11") and reduced.  I'm not sure of the reduction of the samples I provided, but I think it was between 80% and 90%.
And these are some samples from his "AutoTest 704" manual:

Some full page samples are here, here, and here.

Now look at these two samples. The first is from Word, the other is from the Executive sample above:

And then look at this excerpt from the CYA memo:

Look very carefully at the "m", "r" and "u's" and compare them to those in "Shutter time." It's those little details...

So, Selectric, Schlectric -- basically the much more conventional looking IBM Executive could proportionally print, super and subscript, it came with a variety of interchangeable type bars, and the shape and style of its characters are more in line with the memos than MS Word Times New Roman is.


I did an experiment where I tried to duplicate a section of the manual in Word:

The top is from the Executive, the bottom is the Word copy. While both are proportionally spaced, Word does it more tightly. It is possible that a different typeface might have made a difference, and if it was a Model D (which came out in 1967) instead of a "C", but I don't think so. You really need a device with true microspacing, like, say, something like this:

K) Diablo Daisywheel Printer

This is a Diablo Systems daisywheel printer/terminal

Diablo formed as a company in 1969 and began shipping its daisywheel printers in 1972. It's founder, David Lee, sold the company to Xerox, also in 1972, and he ended founding another daisywheel printer company called Qume in 1973. Diablos and Qumes used the same interchangeable daisywheel type element and there were hundreds of type styles available, not including custom ones. I came across a couple some Xerox printwheel sample sheets, including this:

Another descriptive sheet of printwheel fonts is here.

Pitch, proportional spacing, kerning, etc, was all done under computer control. Before laser printers came, daisywheel printers (and later one, NEC Spinwriters using a thimble-shaped print element) were "the" way to go for LQ (letter quality) printing.  They were initially connected to large computer centers and dedicated word processors, and then later were very commonly used throughout the early CP/M and DOS computer days. The once popular WordStar word processing program fully supported Diablo and Qume printers, which allowed complete control over document appearance.

An entire technical manual, "Interfacing Microcomputers to the Real World" was typeset with a Diablo 1345A "HyType II" that was bought in 1978. The Boston Public Library had a copy so I popped in to take a look and copy a few pages.

This is a sample. Click here for more complete scans.   

L) How would Killian have access to a daisywheel printer?

Short answer: a law firm or a judge advocate's office.

While daisywheels were quickly adopted by computing centers, they were also very popular with law firms, typically combined with a dedicated word processor, a large bulky computer that did nothing except word processing. In the early 70's, brands like Vydec, Lexitron and Linolex got things rolling. Later on WangWriters and IBM Displaywriters became very popular.

Vydec Model 1800 Word Processor at the Rhode Island Computer Museum

If Killian did indeed use a lawfirm to type up and presumably file away some memos, this might well explain where the memos came from and why nobody is talking.

M) Why would Killian use a law firm?

Bush's being sworn in by Walter Staudt in a staged photo op

Bush's dad was a big shot: a highly decorated pilot during World War II and a congressman at the beginning of Bush's Guard service. In 1971, Bush Sr. became US Ambassador to the UN, and in 1973 he became the chairman of the Republican National Committee. So when Bush Jr. starting screwing up, there was pressure placed on on Killian and Harris to cut him some slack. The best-fit scenario is that Killian went to seek legal counsel in regards to what to do about this pressure he and Harris were facing in regards to filling out Bush's rating report covering May 1, 1972 to April 30, 1973. That was the period where Bush was "Not observed" in Alabama. The official DoD records indicate this completely outside of the infamous CYA memo on the matter.   If you are a responsible Air National Guard officer with a no-show pilot under your command who's also the son of some big shot with big connections and you're being pressured to basically fib on an official evaluation report, what would you do? Get advice maybe? If so, from whom? So the idea that Killian would seek legal advice under those circumstance is hardly a stretch. It's as simple as that.

Fundamentally, any explanation for the memos, supporting whether they are forgeries or real, has to be complete. That means that you just can't say, "They were forged" because evidence A, B and C supports this, while ignoring or not logically explaining away evidence D, E and F that doesn't support this. You have to accommodate A-F and beyond in terms of all evidence regardless if you're pro-forgery or anti-forgery. In my case, I'm absolutely sure the forgery claims are nonsensical, but I still have to be complete. So what if there was readily available office equipment back in 1973 or 1972, how would the memos end up being created on equipment like that? It's already been demonstrated that people's memory of the office tech in those is too hazy and fuzzy to be helpful. It looks as though the early WP systems by the likes of Redactron and AB Dick used the Diablo daisywheel printer models with the integrated terminal keyboards, which would make them look exactly like typewriters -- it's likely nobody at the time had a clue about the difference unless he or she had to know. Still, you would think someone like pool secretary like Knox would remember stuff like that.

Law firms, though, were already big users of the more expensive and more primitive IBM Mag-Card and Mag-Tape word processors by the late 60's, so they would be, and apparently were, very quick and early adopters of the more advance non-IBM WP systems when they came out.

The law firm would explain two things: how Killian would have access to one of the new WP systems; and where would those memos be kept all of this time when his on-base stuff was trashed decades ago. That of course leads to the next question: why would Killian seek legal counsel in regards to Bush? Well, even if you don't factor in the memos at all, the DoD docs by themselves clearly indicate that there was a big issue with Bush's OETR rating period ending April 30, 1973: there was Killian and Harris's "Not Observed" report dated May 2nd, 1973, an inquiry by the Air Force on June 29, 1973 with very specific requests for forms to filled out to explain this, and then a big gap before the next DoD docs on the matter, which came out in Nov 12-15, none of which technically satisfied the AF requests, and which were apparently suppose to involve the "Senior Rater," which was Killian, and apparently some info about Alabama, where Bush has been transferred to, but which wasn't even mentioned.

So there was obviously some funky stuff going on then involving Bush not satisfying some sort of duty, and then when you finally add in the August 18, 1973 "CYA" memo, you then go, "Ahh, OK, that explains the screwy DoD stuff." Bush had shirked his duty and his immediate superiors, including of course Killian and Harris, were getting pressured to go easy on him to the point of being essentially asked to falsify a rating report. It costs the Air Force a bunch of money and a lot of time and resources to train a combat pilot, so apparently they kind of take things like OETR's rather seriously and would probably frown on made-up stuff. While Bush was in the "Guard" of sorts, the Air Force evidently was the final authority on pilots like him. So the business with the missing rating report was not a trivial matter, so neither would be falsify the information in one.

Also, while the the rating period ended at the end of April, he had until at least May 26 to actually fill out the report. And by May 26, Bush had apparently put in some serious make-up time. Now, you can see how this might put Killian in an awkward position: while the the rating period ended at the end of April, he had until at least May 26 to actually fill out the report, and by May 26, Bush had apparently put in some serious make-up time. So what do you do if you're in Killian's position? Evidently for Killian himself, it was simple: all that May activity was nice, but it was still a month too late -- too bad. But apparently some others disagreed with that decision. Rufus Martin on May 26 gave Bush 56 ARF points (41+15), which is just over the minimal of 50, even though that's iffy legally -- you need to put in a full duty year to get 15 gratuitous points. For instance Bush only got 5 gratuitous points for the May 27, 1973 - May 26 1974 period because he left for Harvard in the fall of 1973. I bet the specific pressure put on Killian and Harris was to fold Bush's May activity into the rating report, but that would have been, well, wrong.. So what do you do if you're in Killian's position? Evidently for Killian himself, it was simple: all that May activity was nice, but it was still a month too late -- too bad. But apparently some others disagreed with that decision. Rufus Martin on May 26 gave Bush 56 ARF points (41+15), which is just over the minimal of 50, even though that's iffy legally -- you need to put in a full duty year to get 15 gratuitous points. For instance Bush only got 5 gratuitous points for the May 27, 1973 - May 26 1974 period because he left for Harvard in the fall of 1973. There was likely specific pressure put on Killian and Harris was to fold Bush's May activity into the rating report, but that would have been, well, wrong.

OK, so now we have a pretty damn good incentive for Killian to get some advice on what to do. And most if not all lawyers would have asked Killian to bring along as much documentation as he could regarding the situation. Voila! By just using what the normal behavior and procedures would be for someone in Killian's circumstances, we've assembled all the memos at a place that would not only likely have had an up to date word processor, but would have filed away or transcribed copies of the memos to boot, hence also explaining where they would have been all this time, as well as the potential liability for whoever it was that took or copied those files. And all of a sudden, without any tortured bits of logic and ignored evidence, you have a complete explanation. If you try something similar with the pro-forgery hypothesis, you will very quickly have to resort to tortured logic and extremely unlikely circumstances to even begin to make any similar headway for a truly "complete" explanation that accounts for the contents issue, the superscript and letterhead discrepencies, and so on.

So conceivably all the memos Killian brought with him would be cleaned up or transcribed for clarity, or perhaps stored on a magnetic cartridge or tape as draft for future "ass-protection". Bear in mind that the AF guide for such memos indicate that they function as journals of meetings and decisions that could be very useful down the road if there are any questions about why certain orders were given and decisions made. So transcribing a memo for clarity or record keeping would be completetely OK since it's not an "official" record.

What this all means is that *all* of the memos could have been transcribed on the same day in 1973. Obviously this would be very hard to prove, except for one thing: all impact printing devices like typewriters and daisywheel printers tend to have unique wear and strike characteristics especially after they've been used for any length of time. So if one was to have very clean, hi rez copies of the memos, and if there are certain characters that show the same strike and wear throughout all the memos, well....go check page 8 of Hailey's 2nd report: Hailey excerpt. The thing with daisywheel printers is that since they were designed for heavy duty printing, they would evidently wear out their printwheels pretty quickly, but since the printwheels were so easy to replace, it was not big of a deal. If the memos had been printed out a year or do apart, there was a good chance the printwheel would have been changed in the meantime, which would have changed the wear characteristics. But if they were all printed within an hour or even a day or so of each other, then they would have the same characteristics.

N) What about all those other issues with terminology and such that were also pointed out?

Two words: boneheaded crap. Did anyone claiming a forgery come up with military memos from around that time to back up any of their charges? No. It's important to remember that no real evidence was ever actually presented that fully backed up any of the main contentions of the forgery claim. As demonstrated above, the proportional spacing issue was based on utter ignorance of common early office technology, especially at the time of the memos. Buckhead the blithering idiot based his knowledge of office tech history from working in "an office environment  from 1980 forward" and his expertise comes from having "typed thousands of pages on IBM Selectrics, and a few hundred on various  mechanical and electric typewriters of the conventional variety" and having "changed the type ball and  pitch on Selectrics many, many times."  And all the other supposed issues with terminology and such come from either very, very vague recollections, again with no real evidence to back it up, or from apparently deliberate disinformational BS that would very quickly spread throughout the right wing/conservative mediasphere.

All of this confused nonsense might have had some amusement value if it wasn't for the fact that it contributed to the re-election of a really bad President.

O) Other thoughts

All this detective work is intriguing, but it's not really a job an Internet troll should be doing. It's unfortunate that Bush's commanders at the time, William Harris and Jerry Killian, aren't around to answer some obvious questions about Bush's guard duty that Bush himself has overtly avoided. However Bobby Hodges and Rufus Martin are still around, though, and they should have been grilled much more than they have been so far over Bush's Air National Guard history. Bush Sr. was already a big shot at the time and then only several years later ran for President during the Republican primaries before becoming Vice-President to Ronald Reagan in 1980. Of course Bush Jr. became Governor of Texas in 1995 and the US President in 2000. So it's extremely unlikely that Martin and Hodges would have forgotten about Bush when he was a junior officer at their base, especially the time he was suspended from flying, which was apparently not so common a thing judging from the DoD records.

Indeed, Hodges and Martin are on record evidently fibbing to the grossly incompetent Thornburgh-Boccardi report panel when they both told the panel that Bush's flight suspension recorded by the DoD as the "Verbal orders of the Comdr on 1 Aug 72" (see Suspension Notice) was a reference to Hodges, although Hodges says he couldn't specifically remember issuing the verbal order "over 30 years ago." See CBS Panel Report, page 154

This is very much explicit BS since other DoD records clearly show that Killian was the Squadron Commander and therefore Bush's direct superior and the one who would have issued such a verbal order in the chain of command, and that Hodges simply signed off on the order over a month later on Sept, 5, 1972. See Hodges's Suspension Sign-off

Another apparent discrepency shows up when you look at another pilot who was Bush's friend at the time and future business partner, James Bath, the only other pilot suspended in Aeronautical Orders Number 87 but whose name is redacted (his entry follows Bush's). His suspension is identical to Bush's aside from the date, Sept 1, 1972 -- exactly a month after Bush's. But the date on the order is the 29th, not quite a 30 day grace period -- odd considering that it took almost twice the time for Bush's verbal suspension to become official. Hmmm....

Therefore it's my very strong feeling, logically enough, that if we can't get Bush to come clear, then if either Hodges or Martin were to be put under oath and asked about the memos and Bush's real military history, there would be little need for all this tedious detective work into early 1970's tech and all this painfully detailed assembly of supporting DoD evidence.

But all this research is what CBS News, as well as the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Washington Post, should have done. They had the resources and probably at least a few earnest, bright  interns do a little bit of research before blindly and timidly accepting the laughably inadequate analyses being done by highly dubious bloggers, experts, and people and organizations in general looking to discredit both the story and Dan Rather, as well as throw doubt on all the other much less suspect evidence to Bush's Guard duty or lack thereof.

We've also have become seduced into thinking that you can find anything on Google if you look hard enough, but Google can only index information that people have made an effort to put on the Web in some form. If you're talking about a technology that was obsolete before there was even a Web, things can get very sketchy.
Not only did I rummage about an actual library for more info, I even went further to pick through the archives at the Charles Babbage Institute.

But I'm not feeling particularly pleased with myself about what all my research and sampling has uncovered -- it was really, REALLY time consuming and I have other things I much rather focus on. And it wasn't my job -- it was CBS's. And the Boston Globe's, and ABC's, and the New York Times', and CNN's, and basically any "news" organization that prides itself as being responsible journalists who do their homework and try to keep its viewers or readers as well-informed on facts as much as possible. 

The true lapse in the memos mess  was how our much ballyhooed free press failed so miserably. Instead of concentrating some resources into digging deeper to reconcile the central "mystery" of how the contents could be true but not the documents themselves, they all took instead the tabloid route to report only on the specious he said/she said aspects of a wholly contrived controversy, or else simply relayed some of the bogus analyses of the memos without really looking at what they were relaying.

And when the Pentagon quietly released more of Bush's records on Sept. 24th, apparently nobody in the press paid much heed, even though one of the documents was proportionally spaced -- the central reason for the origin of all those forgery charges leveled against the CBS memos.

Bush himself has been acting exactly like a thoroughly guilty man who got off on a technicality or through some ethnically dubious wheeling and dealing. He's been mostly standing back and letting others, including his wife, spin things with the basic mantra going something like "He was honorably discharged, end of story."
There have been direct answers whatsoever in regards to how very sketchy his Guard service evidently was during his last two years of service. And even basic questions about the authenticity of the CBS memos have also also been deflected.

It wasn’t CBS’s failure to sufficiently authenticate the memos that was the cause of the dark day for journalism – it was the totally spineless, confused and researched-challenged behavior of both CBS and the more responsible media that allowed rumors, outright lies and conspiracy theories to completely overwhelm whatever facts there were, as well as basically allow the bad guys to win the day. If a right wing newsperson like Bill O’Reilly says something that’s not quite true – even if it’s a whopper – liberals and leftists in general will likely only roll their eyes. (“Well, what do you expect – he’s Bill O’Reilly”) but liberal-leaning newspeople like Dan Rather (and "leaning" is the right word when you compare his mostly dry rhetoric over the years to any conservative newsman, leaning, falling, or otherwise), regardless of how seldom they make mistakes, get crucified when a mistake is made. “Rathergate” indeed.

The memos and the consequent firestorm illustrates how very difficult it is for the average person to be well informed on anything these days. Instead of being authoritative and making good use of their much greater resources, the mainstream media ended up being no more than faces in an increasingly large crowd of information peddlers  – dubious and otherwise

But the big issue isn't about the poor service of the press, or even really about Bush's Guard service from over 30 years ago. He wasn't exactly the only rich boy from a very influential family who was able to escape being sent to Vietnam via National Guard service, and who was later able to get away with slacking off as the Vietnam War wound down. It was this whole recent business with the CBS Killian memos that really speaks volumes about Bush's true moral character. He, far better than anyone else, knows what he did and didn't do while he was in the Guard, and yet he chose to stay silent on the key issues throughout the entire turmoil over the memos, letting others to confuse, deny, and outright lie in his behalf. Regardless of what he did or didn't do back then, if he was an honorable man now, he would have stood up and owed up to his past actions instead of letting others get into trouble over them.

And just what was up with the withholding that proportionally spaced document?

And I think that's it, except to say that no smart, well informed and ethical person voted for Bush in 2004.