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Marvin Kalb Responds

Scott reproduced the email I sent to Marvin Kalb, explaining some of the reasons why we know the Dan Rather documents were fakes, here. My email to Mr. Kalb was prompted by his message to a reader, in which Kalb expressed agnosticism as to whether the documents were genuine:

Dear Mr. Thomas: I know you believe that the documents were forged. I have yet to see the evidence, which I presume you have and are willing to share. Not charges, please,…but evidence. Also, the point of Dan Rather’s story was that the President received favorable treatment and thus avoided serving in Vietnam. Have you evidence to the contrary? If not, there is no need to respond.
Best of luck,
Marvin Kalb

As noted above, I wrote to Mr. Kalb with a brief summary of the evidence showing that 1) the documents were fakes, and 2) the underlying story–that President Bush had used “influence” to get into the National Guard, and had failed to fulfill his duties as a member of the Guard–was false. I got the following response from Mr. Kalb this morning:

Dear Mr. Hinderaker:
Thank you for your long, exhaustive email. You took the time to write it, and I appreciate that very much. If I responded point by point, I fear we would still end up at opposite sides of the issue. For me the key point is that President Bush had the opportunity, as did thousands of other young Americans to go to Vietnam, to fight for America there, many never to return. He chose the Texas Air National Guard with duty in Texas and I believe Louisiana.
The documents in Rather’s story were faulthy, fake, fogeries,–choose your word. They were no good, at the end of the day. That was lousy journalism, and evefryone knows that–that’s the easy part of the issue. The rest…well, you go your way, I’ll go with the young men I covered who went to Vietnam for their country. We can disagree.
Good luck.
Marvin Kalb

Which seemed to me to change the subject rather dramatically. So I responded as follows:

Mr. Kalb, thank you for responding. I am glad that you acknowledge the falsity of the documents as well as–I think–the falsity of the underlying story.
President Bush has never claimed to be a war hero. That said, he served. The duty he performed was both difficult and dangerous. Does he deserve as much credit as those who got shot at in Vietnam? He says he doesn’t, and I agree. On the other hand, he deserves more credit than those who could have volunteered but didn’t, and as a result didn’t serve at all–like, for example, me.
But service in the National Guard isn’t what the Kerry campaign and CBS criticized Bush for. They accused him of using some nefarious “influence” to get into the Guard, and of not fulfilling his duties once he got there. Those accusations were false, and the documents that supposedly proved them were, as you acknowledge, fakes.
Thanks again for your response.
John Hinderaker

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