Q. What did you think of the bloggers’ role in the Dan Rather affair?
A. I think they did a disservice to the debate because they made the debate about the documents and not about the president of the United States. There was another half to that story that had to do with verifiable events of what Bush may have been up to.
Well, that’s a non sequitur, of course. Pointing out that CBS was passing off fake documents, and basing a story on them, was obviously worthwhile regardless of what you think about President Bush’s National Guard service.
More important, though, is the fact that Ana Marie’s effort to resuscitate the “fake, but accurate” theory is simply wrong. The truth is that President Bush’s National Guard service was both dangerous and honorable. He fulfilled his Guard commitment; in fact, he accumulated three times as many credits as he needed to be in good standing. His reviews were uniformly glowing, and he was an excellent pilot. He volunteered for a program that would have resulted in his being shipped to Vietnam, but was not accepted because it was not considered worthwhile to train him on a new airplane. See our posts here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Given the known facts about President Bush’s Guard service, the fact that Mary Mapes spent five years trying to find grounds for criticism takes on an aura of monomania.
Oh, one more thing: President Bush signed the form authorizing release of all of his military records long ago. John Kerry has refused to sign the authorization form; now that the election is over, there will no longer be any pressure on him to do so. So history will record, I guess, that we know one thing for sure: President Bush was honorably discharged from the service.