The Daily Kos has tried to rebut our deconstruction of the 60 Minutes forgeries. Naturally, Kos addresses only the least significant points, while never mentioning the most damning features of the memos.
Kos’ entire effort is devoted to showing that there was a typewriter in existence in the early 1970’s that was capable of producing proportional spacing, superscript and Times New Roman font. There is no evidence, of course, that Jerry Killian used such an exotic machine, and certainly no other authentic documents generated by the Texas Air National Guard used such a machine.
But these are minor points. Kos never addresses the smoking-gun issue of kerning. We discussed this extensively yesterday, but briefly, “kerning” is the ability of letters in word-processed documents to intrude on one another’s space. If you type the word “my” in Word or any other word processing program, the tail of the “y” will curl slightly under the “m.” This cannot be done on any typewriter, because a typewriter cannot know what the adjacent letter is. A letter on a typewriter must have its own space.
Look at the fake August 18, 2003 memo (click to enlage):
Check out the word “my” in line two, or “any” in line four. That’s kerning. It was done on a word processor. As, in fact, should be apparent to anyone who looks at the document. Compare it to a genuine, typewriter-produced memo, as we did yesterday. The difference is obvious.
Kos also never addresses any of the substantive issues: the absurdity, on its face, of writing a memo whose subject heading is “CYA;” the memos’ inconsistency with various military usages of the early 1970’s; and, most of all, the anachronism in the August 18, 1973 memo, where Killian allegedly writes: “Staudt has obviously pressured Hodges more about Bush.” Brigadier General “Buck” Staudt retired in 1972.
Kos never mentions any of these facts.
Nor does Kos mention the fact that Killian’s widow, his son, and the personnel chief of his National Guard unit are all on record saying that they think the documents are forged, and do not reflect Killian’s views. Or the fact that Killian’s own evaluations of Bush contradict the memos. Or the fact that Killian’s signature on the faked memos doesn’t match his real signature, as shown on documents that are indisputably authentic.
Kos also exhibits no curiousity about the provenance of these documents. If they didn’t come from Killian’s family, where did they come from? Who ostensibly squirrelled away a handful of papers thirty-one years ago, apparently on the off chance that Lt. Bush might be President some day? Inquiring minds want to know, but CBS won’t say.
The fact is that the issue of the documents’ genuineness is not a close call. In appearance, in tone, and in content, they are inauthentic. Only in the context of the left’s hysteria over John Kerry’s sinking ship could such obvious fakes be given credence by anyone.
UPDATE: A number of readers have written to disagree with my take on the kerning issue. Kerning apparently is not the default option in Word, and some have said that the documents do not appear to be kerned. I would defer to others on the technical issues here, but my point is a pretty simple one and rests on visual observation. To me, it appears that in several instances, as noted above, letters invade one another’s space. This cannot be done on a typewriter, so whether it is “kerning” or just a feature of the word processing program and the font used is really immaterial. Typewriters can’t do this. A couple of readers have disagreed with my visual observation, and don’t think there is any such obervation; one suggested the possibility of “distortion” caused by photocopying. You can view the documents and judge for yourselves.
But I don’t want to lose sight of the more basic point, which is that the documents simply look like word processed documents, not typed documents.
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