A salute to Col. Campenni

John’s correspondence with Marvin Kalb has triggered an avalanche of outstanding letters from readers. I hope we can take the time to post some of the best this weekend, but for the moment I want to note the message from Presient Bush’s Air National Guard colleague Col. William Campenni (ret.). In February 2004 the Washington Times published Col. Campenni’s letter to the editor refuting all the themes of the fraudulent CBS 60 Minutes II story that ran the following September. Overnight Col. Campenni wrote:

You are wasting your time arguing with the Kalbs and other morons trying to defend Rather and Mapes fabrications. Mr. Kalb is unconvinced because he refuses to trouble himself with the facts, all of which are readily available if he was willing to put out the effort. And this guy is a journalist! For example, when Kalb says “I have yet to see the evidence, which I presume you have and are willing to share,” it means he has been too lazy to read what was already in the public domain.
In both published articles and cable TV news appearances, I have refuted most of the Rather/Mapes/Goodale/Thornburgh/Pein claims, using facts, witness statements and documents from the period in question. I would be glad to share them with Kalb and ilk, if they will then admit their error, but I think we are dealing with a bad case of invincible ignorance.
Those of us who served in the Texas Guard with George Bush would sit back and roll in laughter at some of the nonsense and drivel that was being dispensed by Rather and his media amanuenses, until we realized that people were actually believing it. Every claim that Rather/Mapes put forth – Bush using influence to get in/out of the Guard, Bush going to the head of the line, Bush avoiding Viet Nam by joining the Guard, the “meshing” defense, Bush disobeying direct orders – were refuted by me and others, with documents and witnesses.
Whereas the typographical errors were the starting point in exposing these forgeries, for those of us actually there it was the content and format of the memos themselves that were the proof of their falsity – we just didn’t do it that way or use those forms, and the dates and people involved were fictitious or impossible. We were able to cross match them with our own records and calendars to prove that dates and events were incompatible, or that the people referenced (Strong, Carr, Hackworth, Lechliter, Burkett) were not in a position to give accurate comment.
I won’t be wasting my money buying Mapes’ book, but I just cant wait to shoot down her whole novel. The first excerpted chapter has already been a gold mine of errors. Maybe I should write my own book exposing these morons – but I don’t think that truth has much marketability these days.
Bill Campenni


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