- "There are a lot of questions about the documents and they need to be answered," Bush told the Union Leader newspaper of Manchester, New Hampshire, after a week in which some experts questioned whether the documents had been fabricated by those seeking to damage Bush in his re-election race.
"I think what needs to happen is people need to take a look at the documents, how they were created, and let the truth come out," Bush added.
Notably, Bush did not denounce them as frauds. Which is fairly telling in itself.
Indeed, it's worth understanding that the White House has in fact conceded that the contents of the Jerry Killian documents unearthed by CBS are largely accurate.
How so? Recall what White House spokesman Scott McClellan said when asked about the documents at a press gaggle on Sept. 15, he repeatedly said this:
- We had every reason to believe that they were authentic at that time.
Now, think about that. Two of the most damning of the documents -- Killian's direct order to young Lt. Bush to obtain a flight physical, and his suspension of Bush for failure to do so -- are documents that Bush himself would have known about and seen. If their contents were bogus -- that is to say, if Bush hadn't refused a direct order, and if he hadn't been suspended for it -- Bush himself would have known immediately.
One would think he'd have said: "Hey, wait a minute. I never refused a direct order." Instead, the White House "found no reason to doubt their authenticity."
I've also pointed out previously that these documents almost certainly did exist in real life, since the facts of his failure to take the physical and the subsequent suspension from flight status have never been contested. They are, in fact, part of the well-established record. The Killian documents only confirm that Killian in fact took steps he should have taken.
Of course, this has all been glossed over by right-wingers eager to smear CBS, even though none of them have evinced any proof that the documents are forgeries. By raising questions about their authenticity, they gleefully get to ignore their content.
In the meantime, Paul Lukasiak -- whose work I've discussed previously, and who deserves real credit for his serious work substantiating the extent of Bush's miscreancy in the TANG, continues to do a bang-up job. Here's his most recent work:
Paul points out that the Killian memos in fact vindicate at least one aspect of his service record. It also does a nice job of summing up the problems with the Bush camp's claims about his failure to get the physical:
- The first explanation given by the Bush campaign back in 2000 was that he didn't get the physical because he was in Alabama and his family physician was in Texas. When it was pointed out that only Air Force flight surgeons could administer a flight physical, the Bush campaign came up with a new excuse -- Bush didn't take the physical because there were no planes for him to fly in Alabama.
This, of course, is pure balderdash, because maintaining one's flight status was a requirement of Bush's Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC), which is Air Force jargon for "his job." Even if Bush couldn't do his job temporarily for some reason, he was still required to maintain his flight status. Bush had only two choices, either accomplish the physical, or ask for a new job that did not require flight status.
Of course, there is no record whatsoever that Bush ever did either.