Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Media
January 17, 2005 10:26 AM   Subscribe

To set the record straight: While the country was busy with CBS and Rather's mistake, the story of Bush going AWOL was lost.
posted by semmi (96 comments total)

 
Good reporting. (I'm feeling corruption fatigue.)
posted by 327.ca at 10:34 AM on January 17, 2005


....and the majority of Americans could care less anyway.. just.. you know.. saying.
posted by rulethirty at 10:35 AM on January 17, 2005


Meanwhile...
posted by 327.ca at 10:35 AM on January 17, 2005


semmi, WTF are you doing with this? It is not "news" in any way -- this has been argued, hashed out, yelled, debated, and otherwise beaten to death. There is nothing new here. There are people who believe that President Bush went AWOL and/or otherwise failed to honorably serve his time in the Guard...and there are people who believe that he did serve honorably.

Either way, this occurred 30 years ago...there is no "breaking news" on this subject.

Why on earth is this worthy of bringing up again? In the words of a famous website: move on.
posted by davidmsc at 10:37 AM on January 17, 2005


I thought you'd linked to this.
posted by driveler at 10:43 AM on January 17, 2005


I predict this thread will be filled with intellectual, thoughtful debate, with interesting and relevant facts offered from all parties involved.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:44 AM on January 17, 2005


All of those national guard and reserve guys in Iraq now must be pretty pissed off to be activated for 365+ days at at time to fight a war waged by some other yahoo who didn't even show up for his two days a month two weeks a year.
posted by butt_floss at 10:47 AM on January 17, 2005


davidmsc, there are some people who believe that the world is freakin' flat as well - that doesn't mean that it's true. The point here is - if you actually follow the link - that there is a huge list of relevant details that were reported but not followed-up on because CBS was shamed into apologizing for documents that were unverifiable but uncontradictable. Don't you think that if the meme "Bush went AWOL" were allowed to spread a little farther pre-election, it could have had an effect? And shouldn't that truth be spread later rather than not at all?
posted by Embryo at 10:48 AM on January 17, 2005


...and there are people who believe that he did serve honorably.


This reminds me of Paul Krugman's statement that if Bush held a press conference to announce that the Earth is flat, the headlines the following morning would read:

Shape of Earth: Views Differ
posted by digaman at 10:49 AM on January 17, 2005


Just because there was some doubts raised about the Swift Boat Veteran claims, doesn't mean the STORY was untrue and didn't merit justified media examination.
When will we know the TRUTH about Kerry's shenanigans?
posted by HTuttle at 10:51 AM on January 17, 2005


Excellent post. Unfortunately, we already knew Bush is a pansy... just like we knew there were no WMD long before Bush invaded Iraq. Yawn.
posted by fleener at 10:51 AM on January 17, 2005


I'd love to bring you yawners and outright bullshitters up to Walter Reed Medical Center, where I was several weeks ago, to do your yawning and bullshitting acts in front of the soldiers -- mostly in their late teens and early 20s -- who have lost limbs in this war.
posted by digaman at 11:00 AM on January 17, 2005


and there are people who believe that he did serve honorably.

Okay, other than the man's word (which, c'mon, some might question) is there supporting documentation that proves he served honorably?

If you don't care that's one thing. But give me some proof if you believe.
posted by dig_duggler at 11:03 AM on January 17, 2005


"Don’t take on the Bushes
posted by airguitar at 11:03 AM on January 17, 2005


..and furthermore Susan, I wouldn't be the least bit suprised to find that he smoked marijuana cigarettes..
posted by butt_floss at 11:03 AM on January 17, 2005


That was totally a logical rebuttal digiman. That's not at all equivalent to saying To those of you who question the war in Iraq, I'd like to you to talk to Jane Doe, who lost her husband in the World Trade Center disaster.
posted by xmutex at 11:04 AM on January 17, 2005


It's fun to tease Chimpy McAWOL cuz he's so stoopid.

and real cheap appeal to emotion, digaman
posted by effwerd at 11:04 AM on January 17, 2005


I'm fed up with the Bush was AWOL subject as well, but davidmsc's comment, "...and there are people who believe that he did serve honorably," amazes me. Given the number of discrepancies in stories, missing records, undisclosed records, etc. then outside of wishful thinking how can anyone have any faith that Bush served his commitment to the Guard? At best, I'd feel comfortable saying that serious questions had been raised but there's no way that I'd make the leap of faith required in the face of the growing and still unanswered in any substantial way by Bush, his administration or his campaign.

Or is this not a leap of faith but a form of cognitive dissonance? Seriously, WTF?

On preview:

HTuttle, there's a difference between claims raised by the Swift Boat Vets ("He was a coward," says swift boat vet who didn't know Kerry in Vietnam) and the fact that Kerry released an unexpurgated copy of all of his service records compared to the Bush campaigns humorous, "Here are some pay stubs and... Oh, look! A dental record!"
posted by jperkins at 11:06 AM on January 17, 2005


Meanwhile... the next mid-term election is only two years away, but some people can't let go of a nonexistent 'issue' that happened 35 years ago to a politician who already defeated them, and is not up for reelection.


Good Times...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:07 AM on January 17, 2005


Metafilter was actually launched by the Republican National Committee as an masturbator-incubator for progressive-learning people to get caught up on the Cult of "W"; to spin their wheels and get fixated on stupid things so that the conservative agenda could have as little substantive opposition as possible.

At this point, any sensible progressive would have stopped being fixated on "W." It's time to turn to Congress, source of the real power in this country.

Please shut up about National Guard service circa 1972.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:08 AM on January 17, 2005


(leaning people...)
posted by ParisParamus at 11:09 AM on January 17, 2005


"Meanwhile... the next mid-term election is only two years away, but some people can't let go of a nonexistent 'issue' that happened 35 years ago to a politician who already defeated them, and is not up for reelection."

"Metafilter was actually launched by the Republican National Committee as an masturbator-incubator for progressive-learning people to get caught up on the Cult of "W"; to spin their wheels and get fixated on stupid things so that the conservative agenda could have as little substantive opposition as possible."

Yeah, because posting here is cutting into all of that work that we'd normally be doing for the Democrats. And wasn't "Clinton is a draft-dodger and is he morally capable of being commander-in-chief" grist for the Republicans for eight fucking years? So what's the difference here? Or is their some sort of moral (non)equivalency thing going on that I'm missing?
posted by jperkins at 11:13 AM on January 17, 2005


Paris, there is a middle ground between "fixated" and "letting go". It consists of continuing to track the issue -- among the various other things in this world to pay attention to -- which is at very least a signifier for the forces at work in politics, government and journalism. Much as you might find it rhetorically convenient to confuse paying attention with obsession, it's a useless observation --- unless, of course you hope to get people to drop it for reasons of your own.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:17 AM on January 17, 2005


xmutex, if the attacks on the WTC had anything to do with Iraq, your logic would be airtight. And if the CIA didn't believe that the war had turned Iraq into an incubator for terror, I'd be more inclined to agree with you. But as things stand, it's your logic that's broken.
posted by digaman at 11:20 AM on January 17, 2005


What JPerkins said about the swift boat liars,not to mention the Bullsh camp's "here are all the records," then later, "here are all the records, really," followed by, "OK, these just turned up, but that's all of them, honest," and some time after that, . . .

Xmutex says:That's not at all equivalent to saying To those of you who question the war in Iraq, I'd like to you to talk to Jane Doe, who lost her husband in the World Trade Center disaster.
I guess he hasn't been paying attention, so I'll point out that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. If you actually were paying attention, you'd have seen a number of those Jane Does complaining about the Bullsh administration's response to 9-11, including its stupid war.

And Paris Parismus, I'll stop caring about Bush shirking his duty when he admits that he did, while people like me were being yanked out of our normal lives to go in his place.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:21 AM on January 17, 2005


More to the point, we would be very ill-served by dropping the issue, if by examining it we can develop countermeasures for the techniques that were used to neutralize the facts in this story. This sort of thing goes on almost daily now; dropping the issue rather than analyzing it is to invite more of the same.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:22 AM on January 17, 2005


How's about what it might be like if the 60% of Americans who feel hopeful about Bush's new term (AP Poll) were better informed or educated? What might they then think about tax reform, education,social security, health care? (AP poll gives: 2%, 7%, 9%, 11% priority respectively for Bush's second term - - and of course, Iraq scores 30% and terrorism 23%)

It seems to me that our priority ought to be figuring out a way to reach these folks. Many of whom seem to have just lost interest in their own well-being. Or perhaps, have regressed into an infantile state where it's "Well, we know the government will protect us and deliver us from evil."
posted by donfactor at 11:22 AM on January 17, 2005


MetaFilter: An Incubator For Terror
posted by fandango_matt at 11:24 AM on January 17, 2005


And wasn't "Clinton is a draft-dodger and is he morally capable of being commander-in-chief" grist for the Republicans for eight fucking years?

So, you are saying you think that was a good idea?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:25 AM on January 17, 2005


GeorgeS, there might have been a middle ground during the campaign, but at this point, that's not the middle ground. Don't you think that if there was some even semi-embarrassing truth about the President's service record, it would have been disclosed by now? I mean, there's no longer any real motivation to do so. It's not going to lead him to resign or be impeached. There have been too many elections the guy has won for this scandal to be a scandal.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:27 AM on January 17, 2005


Huh... davidmsc, are you criticizing this post because it's not NewsFilter?
posted by hattifattener at 11:32 AM on January 17, 2005


I feel like I've been living in Bizarro world for quite awhile now. Somehow Bush is "War President" but his military record (what little military record there is) doesn't count? People tried to get this story out before the election, but the media hamstrung itself and denied the public the details in the process. Instead of talking about the relevance of this issue, we were all arguing about superscripts and typesetting. I don't see why this shouldn't be brought up again and again, because it is relevant to the character of the person who was recently elected to be our commander and chief. Telling people to stop examining W's record because, because, well why exactly are we supposed to stop questioning his record? isn't examing our leaders, scrutinizing there decisions, part of the American democratic process? Or am I supposed to blindly accept what our "leaders" tell us?
posted by elwoodwiles at 11:33 AM on January 17, 2005


Kirth, you keep telling yourself that 9/11 and Iraq had nothing to do with each other. You keep telling yourself that the Adminstration ever claimed a close connection--they never did.

All they ever claimed, and still claim, quite rationally, is that Iraq was training and harboring terrorists, including Al Qaeda terrorists; and that 9/11 made it clear it was time to use offensive military force to start putting an end to the culture of terrorism.

Now, just because some ill-informed nit-wit thinks Saddam orchestrated 9/11, just because there are stupid people who support a reasoned position, doesn't mean that position is not reasonable; doesn't mean President Bush is a nit wit.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:36 AM on January 17, 2005


ParisParamus, please. As the commander-in-chief prepares to send troops into Iran next, there is plenty of justification for looking at the issue of his military record, and will be for decades to come as the complex legacy of this administration is more deeply understood.
posted by digaman at 11:37 AM on January 17, 2005


I thought Bush said he didn't want to be the War President anymore--he wanted to be the Peace President!
posted by fandango_matt at 11:38 AM on January 17, 2005


All they ever claimed, and still claim, quite rationally, is that Iraq was training and harboring terrorists, including Al Qaeda terrorists; and that 9/11 made it clear it was time to use offensive military force to start putting an end to the culture of terrorism.

Please provide evidence to support this claim.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:39 AM on January 17, 2005


Paris, agreed, it's not like this is going to unelect him at this point. But it's interesting and hopefully constructive to understand what happened to the facts in this case, and many, many others. Some interesting questions, which to my mind constitute the central issue in U.S. politics at this time:

- How did the facts of Bush's service pale in importance to the CBS failures of diligence?
- How did the question of whether it was acceptable for Kerry to mention Cheney's daughter's sexuality become more important than any real issue in the debates?
- How did Michael Moore's rather obnoxious personal style inoculate the administration against the largely unchallenged facts in his film?
- How was Richard Clarke's expose neutralized almost without reference to the facts?
And most currently, how is it that the virtual admission that the causes for the Iraq war were a sham have had so little effect on support for the war? These are all facets of the same issue, and we need to figure out how to combat it or we're seriously fucked.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:43 AM on January 17, 2005


It's laughable to seriously reference DailyKos.com, it's not exactly the most trustworthy of sources. What he did in the 2004 campaign is every bit as disgusting as the scam Armstrong Williams pulled.
posted by TetrisKid at 11:45 AM on January 17, 2005


And Paris Parismus, I'll stop caring about Bush shirking his duty when he admits that he did, while people like me were being yanked out of our normal lives to go in his place.

I think you're misjudging Paris. After all, he thinks Bush should be indicted over the Weapons of Mass Delusion fiasco. (OK, "maybe" indicted.)

Could you clarify, PP?
posted by 327.ca at 11:46 AM on January 17, 2005


At this point, any sensible progressive would have stopped being fixated on "W."

True enough. Welcome to the "loony left"!

It's time to turn to Congress, source of the real power in this country.

Congress? C'mon PP, how do Representatives and Senators are able to afford to get elected to Congress? You think they go door to door selling candy to old ladies?
posted by davy at 11:46 AM on January 17, 2005


What exactly is the point of your "let it go" bitching besides some kind of backhanded show of smugness? Do you realize that you're trying to tell people to just be blissfully ignorant and stop worrying about facts? What the hell kind of objection is "it already happened, stop talking about it?" How is talking about what happened in the last election somehow irrelevant in trying to achieve victory in the next one? You guys are terrible at concocting pretenses for your obnoxious whining, why not just drop the facade?
posted by ludwig_van at 11:47 AM on January 17, 2005


Actually, don't bother, because I don't care. If you still believe the 9/11 = [(al-Qaeda + terrorism) x Afghanistan] + Iraq equation at this point, well, there's nothing more we can do.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:48 AM on January 17, 2005


Honestly, who cares? The election is over. Bush can't run for re-election. He can't be un-elected. He won't be forced out of office for this.

All this can possibly do is divide MeFi members and the country further. How about discussing policy (I have some suggestions if you don't have any) instead of re-hashing some random-ass personal point that's been fought to death?

On preview: Ludwig_Van - take it easy with the anger. Two points: 1 - "Victory in the next one" won't be based on personal attributes of Bush 2 - "Victory in the next one" is less likely if the world percieves the left as unable to move past one issue that was hashed out 5 years ago in the FIRST Bush election.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:49 AM on January 17, 2005


So, you are saying you think that was a good idea?

Rude to answer a question with another question. And the question that I asked, "What's the difference between the two." That is, conservatives beating the tired "Clinton was a draft dodge drum" and liberals beating the "dubya went awol" drum. If conservatives don't like it, then I guess they should've nominated McCain, where they'd have a much stronger case (a case actually) in character comparisons between the two. That last sentence isn't really fair - I know of a number of conservatives who sat the election out rather than voting for Bush. My beef is with those conservatives who didn't sit it out and still act like Bush is representing their interests or values.

Don't you think that if there was some even semi-embarrassing truth about the President's service record, it would have been disclosed by now?

Disclosed by whom? Last I heard, the AP was suing for access to Bush's Nat'l Guard records. And this still has the potential to be hugely (and rightly) embarrassing to the Republicans, after all of the "war president" and "going to smoke him out" talk and posturing.
posted by jperkins at 11:52 AM on January 17, 2005


Two points: 1 - "Victory in the next one" won't be based on personal attributes of Bush 2 - "Victory in the next one" is less likely if the world percieves the left as unable to move past one issue that was hashed out 5 years ago in the FIRST Bush election.

1 - You're missing the forest for the trees. Bush's personal attributes aren't the important part, but rather, as has already been stated, how the public managed to overlook them and elect him anyway.

2 - How "the world perceives the left" is a hopelessly vague concept and not exactly dependent to this MetaFilter FPP.

You didn't address my point about the ridiculousness of the "shut up" responses (yours being just a less obnoxious version).
posted by ludwig_van at 11:53 AM on January 17, 2005


What he did in the 2004 campaign is every bit as disgusting as the scam Armstrong Williams pulled.

Oh please. Kos took money from a private campaign. Armstrong took a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS from the US treasury. tax dollars, in other words. While Kos wasn't being ethical, he wasn't participating in state sanctioned, no, state funded propaganda. The two issues do not equate and the fact people think they do is an example of how twisted the media environment has become.
posted by elwoodwiles at 11:54 AM on January 17, 2005


I'm fed up with the Bush was AWOL subject as well, but davidmsc's comment, "...and there are people who believe that he did serve honorably," amazes me. Given the number of discrepancies in stories, missing records, undisclosed records, etc.

In my experience with those who do not feel this issue reflects poorly on Bush, I think they either acknowledge the fact that he did not serve the commitment he signed up to, but that in the grand scheme of things something that happened that long ago is not relelvant, or that the facts have been muddied by the left wing to tar someone who served his commitment.

In either case, they have no problem accepting a rationalization that supports their existing view of the man. This is true on both sides of partisan politics: A person tends to magnify that with demonizes their man, but jumps all over that which smears the opponent. Human nature.

In this administration, it is fake WMD's and an old National Guard AWOL story; in the last one, it was Monica and draft dodging as a Rhodes Scholar. Left wingers are aghast at Bush's foibles in the former cases; right wingers condemned Clinton in the latter cases, but neither was enough to ruin either side's view of their man.
posted by Doohickie at 11:55 AM on January 17, 2005


All I get out of this link is 1) American's don't care, 2) Is Kos being paid to post this link? and 3) If they have all this evidence why the @#$?! did CBS resort to rushing fake memos to the air instead of working on a well-rounded, comprehensive report of his TANG activities?

It just makes CBS look worse, frankly.
posted by Heminator at 11:55 AM on January 17, 2005


All they ever claimed, and still claim, quite rationally, is that Iraq was training and harboring terrorists, including Al Qaeda terrorists

Ansar al Islam was located in an area under the control of the Kurds, not Saddam.

It's laughable to seriously reference DailyKos.com, it's not exactly the most trustworthy of sources. What he did in the 2004 campaign is every bit as disgusting as the scam Armstrong Williams pulled.

Kos wrote openly about his consulting for Dean. All his readers knew what he was doing. That's not at all comparable to Armstrong Williams.
posted by crank at 11:56 AM on January 17, 2005


The AP can sue all they want.

The very premise of the story was questionable, a fact made clear in Mapes' 1999 e-mail to other CBS producers: The National Guard squad to which Bush applied had 20 vacancies. Her own notes show that the commander told her he was ''hurting for pilots.'' And one former Guardsman Mapes approached told her that during his service Bush actually volunteered for fighter-pilot duty in Vietnam but was turned down because the war was winding down.
posted by TetrisKid at 11:57 AM on January 17, 2005


In this administration, it is fake WMD's and an old National Guard AWOL story; in the last one, it was Monica and draft dodging as a Rhodes Scholar.

Is it your intent to equate lying about a blow job to invading a country under false pretenses of an imminent threat?
posted by ludwig_van at 11:57 AM on January 17, 2005


Look. Bush would be a brilliant strateigic thinker and have never served in the military; or a complete wacko, or incompetent, and have served. The national guard thing doesn't matter that much. IT'S OVER. And he won. If you oppose the guy, focus your energies elsewhere.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:01 PM on January 17, 2005


Here's a big part of the problem. The right-leaning folks on the thread have (mistakenly or willfully) chosen to interpret this FPP and the issue to which it relates as an attack on President Bush. It isn't.

This is about balance, consistency and accountability from the people with whom we argue on a daily basis. This isn't about Bush, it's about Metafilter.

When scandals much less significant than this one hit the Clinton administration, the right-leaning folks (here and elsewhere) seemed to have limitless amounts of outrage to vent. We all remember, "It isn't about the blow-job. It's about _character_." We (on the left) keep bringing these topics to the table because we have to believe that there is a point where logic and facts (presented with as little bias as possible) will finally supercede the facts acquired by faith in the inherent "rightness" of your positions.

If you look at the details laid out in the KOS article, how could someone who served in the marines keep supporting President Bush, davidmsc? This issue and the responses from the President's supporters and apologists are one of the core reasons that the people on the left think the people on the right are not very bright. We just don't understand, and we're hoping that you will explain to us how you can justify your position instead of just calling us crybaby liberals and telling us to get over the fact that we lost another election.

On preview: I need to type faster...
posted by FYKshun at 12:02 PM on January 17, 2005


(could be...)
posted by ParisParamus at 12:02 PM on January 17, 2005


The AP can sue all they want.

Followed by a quote that looked impressive until I read the linked to article and saw that the story that they're talking about is that, "For five years she had been chasing a story that he used political influence to bully his way into the Texas Air National Guard back in the 1960s and avoid serving in the Vietnam War." And makes no mention as to what transpired once he was in, and under what circumstance he was discharged from the TANG.
posted by jperkins at 12:05 PM on January 17, 2005


Tetriskid: Registration site, I can't see what you're pointing at. But let's turn this around, shall we? Instead of proving W didn't serve honorably, why doesn't the administration prove he did? If he did do what he claims, why not release the records? when Kerry was questioned about his service he was forthright, Bush, on the other hand, has been reticent to release any details and claims his service records aren't relevant.

And what FYKshun said.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:06 PM on January 17, 2005


How is talking about what happened in the last election somehow irrelevant in trying to achieve victory in the next one?

Particularly in view of Newt Gingrich potential presidential bid in 2008
posted by semmi at 12:10 PM on January 17, 2005


Ludwig_Van - as has already been stated, how the public managed to overlook them and elect him anyway.

That's a very interesting question, but this is the wrong frame to discuss it in. An FPP called "To set the record straight" doesn't talk about voting perceptions, the "american mainstream media party", image versus reality, or any of those things. Instead, it focuses on one specific incident that will ignite partisan fire whether you like it or not. I'd love to have a discussion about how Bush won, but not in the context of the AWOL memos.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:12 PM on January 17, 2005


Full link for american mainstream media party
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:15 PM on January 17, 2005


That's a very interesting question, but this is the wrong frame to discuss it in.

Why? You talk about broad issues like "voting perceptions" and "image versus reality." How is this story not a microcosm of those themes? Why can we discuss the concepts but not the issues which illustrate them?
posted by ludwig_van at 12:19 PM on January 17, 2005


fleener: "...just like we knew there were no WMD long before Bush invaded Iraq..."

Uh-huh...and all of these people "knew" that there were no WMD stockpiles/programs/arsenals, too, right? Jeebus...and you freakin' "progressives" accuse the right-wingers of being ignorant and stupid and blind. Two-way street, bub...
posted by davidmsc at 12:19 PM on January 17, 2005


Uh-huh...and all of these people "knew" that there were no WMD stockpiles/programs/arsenals, too, right?

(pointing out the obvious)

None of those people took us into a war.

(/pointing out the obvious)
posted by ludwig_van at 12:22 PM on January 17, 2005


The hell they didn't, ludwig_van...seems to me that Congress -- including some of those referenced in the linked article -- did indeed authorize the President to use *force* to oust Hussein.

Obvious, indeed.
posted by davidmsc at 12:28 PM on January 17, 2005


There's only one commander-in-chief, my friend.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:29 PM on January 17, 2005


ludwig_van Why can we discuss the concepts but not the issues which illustrate them?

Look around you! If this weren't the Intarweb then maybe it'd be possible to have a fruitful discussion about the role of the media, role of perception, and so forth and use the Bush Guard memo as an example without examining the "facts" underlying it. However, people tend to get partisan and try to "win" on the irrelevant facts. Eg - "None of those people took us into a war". That's not about media and perceptions. That's re-hashing what we've already debated about a million times. All it does is piss people off on both sides and deepen divides.

Post an FPP about a broader picutre of media and perception and the changing role of the truth (with references to yellow journalism, the Spanish-American war ("give me a picture and I'll give you a war"), and a few other things) and I'll happily debate until my face turns the same color as the Blue. Until then, this thread will probably just be useless.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:31 PM on January 17, 2005


However, people tend to get partisan and try to "win" on the irrelevant facts. Eg - "None of those people took us into a war".

That wasn't meant as a serious entry into a debate; that was just the deserved no-thought reply to davidmsc's tired "If Bush lied, so did all of these people in 1998, so what now?" rightwingnews link.

The rest of your point still doesn't seem logical to me. It's ok to incessantly post "stop talking about this issue, it doesn't matter because it was last year" since this is the internet and you know this won't be a good discussion? Although you admit that there could be a good discussion about the issues this brings up, but you need more references?
posted by ludwig_van at 12:36 PM on January 17, 2005


The interesting thing about this story isn't the fact that Bush was so coked up during "the missing year" that he couldn't pass a medical (amazing about all those records being "lost" isn't it?) - it's the skillful sleight of hand that was pulled by the administration and the media. Just as the swift boat ads brilliantly ju-juitsu'ed Kerry's war record into a liability, so the "Rathergate" story wrapped up all the "media attention" that may have been directed towards not just one but a whole series of "unsubstantiated allegations" and "forged documents" that led the United States into a bitter bloody and , apparently, unending war, over the heads and against the wishes of many of their former "friends" in the international community.

The reason it's still interesting is that it provides an excellent case study in *how the fuckers pulled it off* - something to look for as we proceed along "Road to Hell 2: This Time It's Personal".

It's very similar in effect to the results of last year's Hutton Inquiry in the UK in which it was the *leaking* of the "sexed-up dossier" issue which was considered to be the problem, ie. the "unprofessional conduct" of journalists who didn't perform their jobs with sufficient dilligence etc etc. Meanwhile, everything suggested by the original expose, as well as everything being said by the UN inspectors, Scott Ritter, and the intelligence services of France, Germany, Russia, Canada, and so on, has been *confirmed*, most recently by the US Administration and the right wing punditocracy.

So, in other words, journalists are to be "necklaced" if they produce less-than-perfectly-substantiated work which is *critical* of the administration and/or it's personel and policies, but they are to be forgiven for making honest mistakes if this work is in *support* of same. As are the administration officials themselves: waving forged documents at the UN, lying about "we know where they are" and all that.
Honest mistake?

Admittedly, there is no longer anything anyone can do to undo the damage that has already been done. But we can lok forward to more of the same if we keep letting them get away with it.
posted by dinsdale at 12:40 PM on January 17, 2005


ludwig_van - but you need more references?

Not exactly more references, but a less partisan frame. People around here have their personal identities very tied up with their partisan politics. It's a fact of life on the Intarweb. When the FPP dangles the bait of the AWOL memo in a partisan way ("setting the record straight") then people will be unable to resist the temptation to get into a fight about who is "right" even though the facts really don't matter.

On the other hand, posts that tend to be more successful in generating legitimate debate steer clear of flame-likely partisan bait and frame issues in a more neutral manner.

It's the difference between "How did media perceptions affect the outcome in 2004?" and "Was the fact that Bush went AWOL under-reported in 2004?" The first has a chance of generating legit discussion, the second is a guaranteed clusterfuck.

This should all be on the gray, but we're here.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:42 PM on January 17, 2005


Not exactly more references, but a less partisan frame. People around here have their personal identities very tied up with their partisan politics. It's a fact of life on the Intarweb. When the FPP dangles the bait of the AWOL memo in a partisan way ("setting the record straight") then people will be unable to resist the temptation to get into a fight about who is "right" even though the facts really don't matter.

Fair enough, and I don't disagree. However, my original point, which I remain unchanged about, was that the entirely expected "stupid lefties, still caught up in last year's insignificant news, if you ever want to win you should stop worrying about this stuff" posts are transparently juvenile and unnecessary.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:46 PM on January 17, 2005


The election is over. Bush can't run for re-election. He can't be un-elected. He won't be forced out of office for this.

Right. And it was pretty much established long before the last "election" that Bush was a figurehead chimp anyway. Focusing so much on Bush now takes attention away from what the "Thrones & Dominions" are trying to do to us currently. How convenient for them if we focus on the puppet's past instead.
posted by davy at 12:49 PM on January 17, 2005


elwoodwiles: Unlike Armstrong, Kos disclosed his professional relationship with the Dean campaign — wrote a post about it when he took the job and kept a disclaimer up on the front page. There were also lots of anti-Dean posts on the site while he was a Dean consultant and he didn't seem to make any attempt to limit them or control the discussion.

What Armstrong did was both unethical and (probably) illegal but I don't think Kos's actions were illegal or unethical.
posted by vetiver at 1:11 PM on January 17, 2005


Uh-huh...and all of these people "knew" that there were no WMD stockpiles/programs/arsenals, too, right? Jeebus...and you freakin' "progressives" accuse the right-wingers of being ignorant and stupid and blind. Two-way street, bub...

David, regardless of how pointless this argument is, you are just being silly here. "These people", all of whom "knew" that Saddam had WMD's, didn't testify before the UN that they even new exactly where the weapons were, as well as the quantities involved. As has been pointed out several times, there is a huge difference between being mistaken, and being a warmonger who lies to start a conflict that is anti-thetical to the interests of those he serves.

However, the point of this post is tactical. The Republicans seem to be able to manipulate opinion in a fashion better suited to calming ignorance than the Democrats do. The question of Bush's service is obscured by whether or not specific memos stood up to scrutiny. The assumption being that if the Killian memos were faked, then the question of Bush's service is somehow answered. That's obviously illogical, but like any broken goods, the slick salesmen on the Right were able to sell that falacy, none the less. (Don't question whether the product works. You know it does because the competator said it doesn't. Would you buy a product based on that?)

Confidence in a phony can be inspired precisely because it is challenged, if the alternative is distasteful enough. It is easier on the mind (of most) to believe that GW Bush's Vietnam record doesn't matter, than to admit that we have, as a nation, been duped into following a deserter to war. Similarly, it was less painful for many European governments to hold to the safety of a flat Earth, than to fund the expedition of a crazy man wishing to find a water route to the Orient.

We didn't used to be that kind of country, or have that kind of leadership. The Lewis and Clark expedition was sent mostly in an air of secrecy, so as not to upset the people who believed that their money shouldn't pay for wild goose chases. Now, on the other hand, when we as a nation should be screaming with one great voice (about the Armstrong Williams payola) that we want our fricking money back, we cower and obfuscate, because the salesman have convinced us that the enemy has done this do (which they haven't), and so it must just be something we accept. Folks, you've been sold broken goods. If you choose not to object, fine. I object, and strongly. Bush deserted, and all the evidence points to that. And because I'm an American, I will accept that the majority of my countrymen don't want to deal with the fallout of that simple fact. But I don't have to shut-up about it, nor will I. Lie to yourselves if you choose, I don't care. But don't tell me I have to believe your lie to make you feel comfortable. Its in my interest for you to feel decidedly ... irritated.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:12 PM on January 17, 2005


Actually, Wulfgar, I think it's in the interest of all of us that the comfortable assumptions of the people who elected Bush be questioned, and re-questioned, and scrutinized.

Somehow, a terrible administration has been re-elected. A terrible war is taking place. A terrible toll is being enacted on the environment, on American credibility abroad, on the future of social security and education.

So keep irritating people, please. But maybe spread the joy around and irritate non-metafilterians, too.
posted by tizzie at 1:37 PM on January 17, 2005


Paris: Look. Bush would be a brilliant strateigic thinker and have never served in the military; or a complete wacko, or incompetent, and have served. The national guard thing doesn't matter that much. IT'S OVER. And he won. If you oppose the guy, focus your energies elsewhere.

Just as Clinton's re-election meant that there was no point in examining how up front he was in regards to his relationships with female employees?

Why is this important? It is another example of a pattern of, well, lets not call it deception, but rather "reality distortion" in which it is permissible to bend the facts to fit the agenda rather than let the facts drive the agenda. We saw this starting with the appointment of convicted perjurers to foreign-policy positions. We saw this with the purge of education research that did not agree with administration policy. We saw this with the shuffling of scientific experts to support the conclusions. And most critically, we see it in the report of the Intelligence Committee investigation that found that group-think and a failure to examine alternative hypotheses were critical to the bad intelligence regarding WMDs in Iraq.

Why is this important? Because many of the worst military snafus in history occured when the facts were twisted to fit the ideology-bound conclusion.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:40 PM on January 17, 2005


Been thinking about this "get over it", "it's the past", "let it go" "I don't care" and the other variants of that arguement that Bush's B.S.ing about his service doesn't matter anymore.

I think Bill Hicks said it best: "Then stop bring up Jesus"
posted by Smedleyman at 1:45 PM on January 17, 2005


It's laughable to seriously reference DailyKos.com, it's not exactly the most trustworthy of sources. What he did in the 2004 campaign is every bit as disgusting as the scam Armstrong Williams pulled.
posted by TetrisKid at 11:45 AM PST on January 17


Come on, fhqwhgads. Of course it's laughable, just like it's laughable to seriously reference Rush or Bill O'Reilly. Do you seriously expect us to put a journalist in the same category as a blogger? (Well, post-Williams I suppose you can). The media spent so much energy telling us that they could be trusted, and bloggers could not. Now they're falling all over themselves to show that two openly partisan bloggers might be *biased*.

The only reason Kosgate is even news is because the mainstream media is reeling from the kick in the genitals that Williams gave them. By whoring himself out, he called the reputation of their entire profession into question. Meanwhile, bloggers as a group don't have any serious credibility to lose, which just drives the news industry nuts.

As for the whole draft dodging thing: why isn't it news that Bush admits to having done cocaine ("won't discuss it" is the official line), but his party nearly shat themselves that Clinton (gasp!) smoked pot in college? Are we blaming 'hypocrisy fatigue'?

It doesn't really matter if the republicans take complete control of the senate, house, and white house. It's only a matter of time until the general population becomes more educated. Every republican hates to admit this, but the GOP truly depends on cultivating superstition and ignorance to succeed in the polls. If the wedge issues of school prayer, creationism, and abortion weren't factors, would the republicans be more than a token opposition? Hardly. These wedges are crutches for a weak and self-serving party, which is demonstrated by the fact that democrats are pleading for fiscal responsibility and a balanced budget.
posted by mullingitover at 2:05 PM on January 17, 2005


So keep irritating people, please. But maybe spread the joy around and irritate non-metafilterians, too.

tizzie, been there, done that, will do it some more. Your point?
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:36 PM on January 17, 2005


mullingitover, I wish you were right, but there's no evidence whatsoever that people are getting more educated--when did you get on (how old are you)?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:53 PM on January 17, 2005


Wulfgar!:As has been pointed out several times, there is a huge difference between being mistaken, and being a warmonger who lies to start a conflict that is anti-thetical to the interests of those he serves.

I agree there is a difference...but I don't believe that President Bush is a "warmongering liar." He -- and MOST PEOPLE -- truly believed that Hussein (a) had existing stockpiles, (b) was developing more, and (c) would use them against Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or even America.
posted by davidmsc at 3:34 PM on January 17, 2005


He -- and MOST PEOPLE -- truly believed that Hussein (a) had existing stockpiles, (b) was developing more, and (c) would use them against Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or even America.

Fair enough. On the other hand, there were many people who believed that the UN inspectors were doing their job and that he had been contained. Given that those people were correct, perhaps MOST PEOPLE should admit their mistake and try working with the UN in future instead of dismissing them.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 3:41 PM on January 17, 2005


davidmsc: I agree there is a difference...but I don't believe that President Bush is a "warmongering liar." He -- and MOST PEOPLE -- truly believed that Hussein (a) had existing stockpiles, (b) was developing more, and (c) would use them against Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or even America.

Well, there is belief and there is a position that is supported based on available evidence. We now know that the evidence available to the admisistration at the time was equivocal about these stockpiles. The administration cherry-picked the data in order to support the war, and alternative hypotheses for examining the data were not persued. The administration presented the existence of WMDs in Iraq as a fact in spite of problems with the evidence.

So the question is, how many times do we have to be burned by bad intelligence analysis before we hold the current administration accountable.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:23 PM on January 17, 2005


Bad-ass! I say we dig it all up-every last nasty detail that can be found. I'm going to start a museum right in my hometown and call it "The Great Jack-Asses of the 20th Century". Free lunch for all visitors, children of all ages are welcome, and all displays are hands on
posted by PuppyCat at 4:34 PM on January 17, 2005


When you let the ideology get in the way of the facts, then you end up up the creek without a paddle. I'll avoid the obvious Goodwin of Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, and instead cite Napoleon's invasion of Russia, The Soviet Union's loss in Afghanistan, and the death of the Roman Emperor Valerinus at the hands of the goths. Pride comes before the fall, or so they say.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:38 PM on January 17, 2005


David, MOST PEOPLE don't have access to the intelligence available to the President of the United States. MOST PEOPLE don't sit before the UN and claim that empty buildings are being used for weapons manufacture. MOST PEOPLE don't claim before God and country that they know specifically where the (nonexistent) weapons are being stored, and because of that knowledge we must invade now, lest New York go up in a nuclear fireball.

I'm sorry, David, but the fact that most people may be ignorant of the facts does not exonerate those who are ignorant of the facts and choose to bomb civilian populations anyway, or choose to send our young persons into a war based on evidence that is flimsy at best.

Most People believe that Montana is rife with militia groups, and a hotbed for traitorous activity. Would you make death dealing choices based on that assumption?

And this continues to obfuscate the point. Would you willingly follow a deserter into a war? Would you accept that a war is valid on the say-so of a man who has an obvious paternal issue, and chose not to fulfill his own obligations in a time of war? Can you forgive a man who is responsible for at least 20,000 deaths when that very man continues to lie to you about his own past and his own knowledge? It is a logical given that you cannot prove a negative. It is not my responsibility to prove that Bush has no credibility on this point. Rather it is incumbant on the Bush administration to prove the claims that they made, that we were in danger from Saddam's weapon related program activities. They can't even do that, just as Bush cannot prove that he served his military obligation with honor. Those like you, David, who do serve honorably, would be well advised to distrust your CinC, because he didn't, and that shows clearly that he doesn't care about your sacrifices. He only cares about his own gain, his own profit, and his own will. Question me if you wish, but I haven't ordered your friends to war based on my gut reaction that Saddam might be a danger someday, maybe. Bush did.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:44 PM on January 17, 2005


KirkJobSluder, not to nitpick, but Valerian I was trapped and executed by the Persians, not the Goths.
posted by Eekacat at 4:58 PM on January 17, 2005


"We already had an accountability moment and that's called the 2004 elections." George W. Bush, January 14, 2005

He says the election was a ratification of his approach in Iraq. (And he's right, as much as I oppose him and the invasion.)

The election was also a referendum on whether or not the American public cares about the National Guard issue, and the election's outcome says they don't.

This issue will never go anywhere. Questions about his National Guard service were an issue in 2000 and in 2004, and he was elected both times. It's like Clinton's infidelity; we knew he tomcatted around before his first campaign, and he was elected and re-elected. Some people were outraged by Clinton's infidelity, and some people are outraged by Bush's spotty service record, but the American people have spoken and they don't care.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:03 PM on January 17, 2005


David, MOST PEOPLE don't have access to the intelligence available to the President of the United States.

Indeed, which is why I so often find people who continually second-guess the President so risible. As if J. Random Luser sitting in front of their underwear in front of a computer is somehow better-qualified to make foreign policy decisions than the President.
posted by kindall at 5:07 PM on January 17, 2005


Some people were outraged by Clinton's infidelity, and some people are outraged by Bush's spotty service record, but the American people have spoken and they don't care.

Quite true. But that doesn't mean that I shouldn't, or won't. That there are people who tell me so says much more about them then it does about me.
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:08 PM on January 17, 2005


we are, kindall, we are. We read, and listen to dissent--things Bush doesn't do.
posted by amberglow at 5:11 PM on January 17, 2005


And kindall, I'm not sure if I've ever sat in front of my underwear, in front of my computer. Do you care to elaborate?
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:14 PM on January 17, 2005


Enough. We've been through this, and this thread won't advance any argument/s or convince any people, one way or another. Let's all go find some fun Flash-y things to play with for a little bit.

BUT -- I must say that I'm pretty impressed that the tone of this thread has been remarkably civil, all things considered, and in light of previous Bush-bashing threads.
posted by davidmsc at 5:44 PM on January 17, 2005


so then next time you won't jump in right away and question a thread's very existence, david?
posted by amberglow at 5:47 PM on January 17, 2005


Would you willingly follow a deserter into a war?
It's even worse than that, Wulfgar! Bullsh didn't lead our troops into war, he sent them.

His service record is absolutely relevant, even after his reelection, because it speaks to his utter disregard for the contract we have with our military. They vow to risk their lives for us; we vow not to ask them to do it without compelling reason. There was no compelling reason for this war.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:48 PM on January 17, 2005


davidmcs, your earlier statement is incorrect.

Everyone, including he French and Germans, believed that Saddam Hussein had some levels of chemical and/or bio weapons.

Very few people believed he had the delivery systems necessary to make these weapons capable of killing any large number of people (the whole "mass" in WMD).

Some people believed he had the capability to create the systems necessary to deliver the weapons.

Hardly anyone thought he had any intention of using the weapons against his regional neighbors (he didn't use them when he was in a much stronger position in Gulf War I, for example). His immediate neighbors did think it would be nice of the possibility of ever using them was removed, but those are two different things.

No one in any serious circle thought he would or could use them against the United States unless the US attacked.
posted by chaz at 5:53 PM on January 17, 2005


how could someone who served in the marines keep supporting President Bush, davidmsc?

His support is based on the fact that El Jefe is the one who makes sure he gets paid.

Amazing how much of the loyality is about money eh?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:24 PM on January 17, 2005


kendall: Indeed, which is why I so often find people who continually second-guess the President so risible. As if J. Random Luser sitting in front of their underwear in front of a computer is somehow better-qualified to make foreign policy decisions than the President.

Two things:

1: The president in the ultimate servant of the people.

2: That is why we have Senate and House oversight committees empowered to examine the same intelligence and come to an independent conclusion. When a committee consisting of both major parties agrees that the claims made by the administration justifying the war were not fully supported by the available evidence, then I'm inclined to think that there are some serious problems going on.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:43 PM on January 17, 2005


« Older Espionage and the Orange Revolution...  |  Josh Fruhlinger: he reads the ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments