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Bush Service Memos Questioned

pudge posted more than 10 years ago | from the document-verification-is-hard dept.

Republicans 619

Twirlip of the Mists writes "Last night, CBS News released a set of memos dated 1972 and 1973 that are purported to raise questions about President Bush's National Guard service. Some are saying those memos might have been produced with a computer. Blogger Scott Johnson ran with the story first this morning, raising questions about the typography of the memos. Blogger Charles Johnson (no relation) went one step further, actually reproducing one of the memos in its entirety using Microsoft Word's default settings. Matt Drudge is running the story now with a link to a CNS News article that includes quotes from typography experts at font foundries Afga Monotype and Bitstream. There's a round-up of key facts about the story on this blogger's web site." The experts in the CNS News story and others could come to no conclusion, and even if the documents are not originals or photocopies of originals, that doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't faithfully retyped copies of originals. CBS continues to assert the documents are authentic.

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Try this (5, Informative)

captnitro (160231) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206515)

While I agree with the assertion that these could be retyped, CBS is claiming that's not what has happened, that these are originals.

I've made a superimposed image [vt.edu] of Word vs. the documents. They have been lined up according to the period after the '1' in the first paragraph. The 'originals' are in red, the Word version in blue.

Re:Try this (1)

crmartin (98227) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206536)

Wow. That's pretty close.

Re:Try this (1)

egoff (636181) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206543)

The superscript in 187th settles it - that would be a clear difference in the way type writers and word processors handle this.

Re:Try this (4, Informative)

captnitro (160231) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206569)

I hate replying to my own post, but I should note that the difference in the 187'th' has to do with the difference between screen fonts and printer fonts; in the printed version they are aligned perfectly. This was first pointed out by Little Green Footballs.

Re:Try this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10206705)

Wow not even close. Considering that it was word that killed the selectrics, I would have actually expected it to be far closer. Once again, Microsoft's just good enough seems to have carried the day.

Re:Try this (1)

The Importance of (529734) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206577)

I suspect the difference in the superscript has to do with print font vs. screen font. On my screen the "th" does not rise above the tops of the other letters, but when I print it, the top of the "th" is higher than the other letters.

Re:Try this (1, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206799)

Note that the superscript "th", which seems to be causing the most tinfoil-hat theorizing among the folks who think modern typography was invented by Bill Gates, doesn't line up at all between the memo and the Word version. Give it up, folks.

Re:Try this (4, Funny)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206868)

So wait a minute. You're suggesting that despite the fact that this memo allegedly written in 1972/73 includes proportional letterspacing (very rare at the time), a font that didn't exist at that time and kerning which was mechanically impossible for a typewriter or desktop typesetting system of that era, it's not forged because the superscript in the screen-shot is two points off of the superscript in the PDF?

Ain't just a river in Egypt, y'all.

Re:Try this (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206979)

I'm saying that the whipped-it-out-in-Word theory doesn't hold up. Doesn't mean it's not a forgery (though I have yet to see any credible evidence that it was) just that it's not this particular kind of forgery.

Your comments about what was and was not possible for typewriters of the time have already been refuted by many other posters, so I won't bother adding to it. I will, however, point out that your belief that TNR is a product of the Eighties is so ignorant as to make you not worth taking seriously on this topic.

Re:Try this (1)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207039)

I'm saying that the whipped-it-out-in-Word theory doesn't hold up.

A printed copy of the memo whipped out in Word matches the PDF supplied by CBS News perfectly, once you do things like straighten it to compensate for the distressed look of the CBS News PDFs.

It doesn't just hold up, Daniel. It's a fucking out-of-the-park home run.

Your comments about what was and was not possible for typewriters of the time have already been refuted by many other posters

Simply untrue. Be honest. Did you click ONE LINK in the story? Did you read any of the THOUSANDS OF WORDS that have been written about 1970s and 1980s desktop typesetting technology in the past nine hours? Do you know THE FIRST THING about this story? Or are you just coming in here and spewing "WE HATES BUSHIE SO MUCH" all over everybody?

I will, however, point out that your belief that TNR is a product of the Eighties

TNR? The New Republic? OH! Times New Roman.

Okay, smart guy. You tell me when Microsoft Times New Roman was created.

Re:Try this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10207141)

Okay, smart guy. You tell me when Microsoft Times New Roman was created.

Everyone knows that the very first thing computer systems have been designed to do is to make text look as different as possible to any text produced before, so that to maximize user inconvenience. That's why today everything is in 10-point Courier font, and 0 has a slash.

CBS must obtain and release originals (2, Insightful)

jgardn (539054) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206526)

CBS's reputation is at stake. They must obtain and release the originals. That is the only way to satisfy the critics. As it stands now, it is blatantly obvious that CBS hasn't been checking their sources and as such, they can't be trusted to break stories.

Re:CBS must obtain and release originals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10206648)

Of Course CBS is not checking their sources. The American Media has become rediculous. Period, end of story.

Re:CBS must obtain and release originals (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206801)

What are you talking about? I watched 60 Minutes last night, and CBS did consult documents experts. Just because there are other experts who disagree does not mean CBS did not do their job. They may have been hoaxed here, but it is unclear by whom -- even the white house is not questioning the authenticity of these documents which suggests they are consistent with what the white house knows about Bush's (lack of) service at the time.

What's interesting to me is that these documents have already undergone more scrutiny than the Niger documents that came out almost 2 years ago.

Re:CBS must obtain and release originals (3, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206906)

CBS did consult documents experts

CBS News claims that they consulted one document expert, who remains unidentified. While Dr. Philip Bouffard, widely recognized expert in the field of forensic document identification, is quoted on INDC Journal as saying that he's "90% sure" these documents are forgeries.

Your main point is correct: If these documents are outside forgeries, then CBS News deserves merely to be tortured for their negligence, not burned at the stake.

But the possibility exists that these forgeries were manufactured by CBS News. And that possibility is way too scary to dismiss out of hand.

Sorry, Sir, We're out of tin foil today (2, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207007)

But the possibility exists that these forgeries were manufactured by CBS News. And that possibility is way too scary to dismiss out of hand.

The possibility also exists that they were manufactured by raiders from Remulak, and with only slightly less probability. CBS has nothing to gain from such a forgery, and everything to lose. Their reputation as a reliable source of news -- "liberal bias" or no -- is quite strong, and for them to make up documents like this would be profoundly stupid, especially since the documents themselves do not really add a whole lot to the case already made in the Ben Barnes interview. If anything, the controversy over these documents has distracted attention from the interview itself, which seems to have settled the question about whether Bush pulled strings to avoid military service. All the documents add to this is evidence that there were others in the military who thought this was wrong and that Bush was skipping out on duty.

Anyway, as I've said elsewhere, I think this is all a distraction from the real issue which is where will these candidates lead us in the future, not what mistakes might they have made thirty years ago.

Re:Sorry, Sir, We're out of tin foil today (3, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207129)

CBS has nothing to gain from such a forgery

You don't know the value of an exclusive. The ad revenues for last night's "60 Minutes II" were over the top.

for them to make up documents like this would be profoundly stupid

It was profoundly stupid for Dan Rather to get into a shouting match with the sitting vice president of the United States on live television, too. But he did it, in 1988.

especially since the documents themselves do not really add a whole lot to the case already made in the Ben Barnes interview

Ah, but that's where you have to have been paying attention. Ben Barnes made these exact same claims in 1999, when then-Governor Bush was running for president. His claim was widely debunked. It never even really broke as a story because it never held water to begin with. He alleged that he pulled strings while he was Lt. Gov. of Texas, for instance, but when Bush was trying to get into the TANG Barnes was in Switzerland as UN general envoy to Geneva. That kind of thing.

The reason Barnes is in the news today is because he's got this shit-hot new documentary evidence. Except the evidence turns out to be forged.

the interview itself, which seems to have settled the question about whether Bush pulled strings to avoid military service

Except that Barnes has nothing at all to back up his claims except a set of forged memos with a dead lieutenant colonel's name on them.

Barnes was outed as a liar by both the pundits and the press in 1999. He's back with forged documents. What do you think?

Anyway, as I've said elsewhere, I think this is all a distraction

Agreed. Blame the Democrats who decided to spam the press with the National Guard story again when their candidate took a nosedive in the polls.

Re:CBS must obtain and release originals (0, Redundant)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207171)

But the possibility exists that these forgeries were manufactured by CBS News. And that possibility is way too scary to dismiss out of hand.

No way would CBS news be that stupid, I mean really. If these are forgeries, they were done by someone who had access to the dead guys files. If someone at CBS had done it, they would have done a better job.

Re:CBS must obtain and release originals (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207218)

If someone at CBS had done it, they would have done a better job.

Are you sure about that? Look at the NY Times and that Blair(?) guy - he was making stuff up and they didn't catch it for quite some time.

Re:CBS must obtain and release originals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10207226)

I just want to know the following:

If they are retyped, why are they in such crappy condition?

If they are assumed to be originals then why are they proportional and why is the "th" in http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/BushGuardmay4.pd f in superscript? Even a good IBM selectic can not make the superscript "th" back in the early 70's.

Check they all out yourself:
http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/BushGuardmay4.pd f
http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/BushGuardmay19.p df
http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/BushGuardaugust1 .pdf
http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/BushGuardaugust1 8.pdf

Name change? (-1, Offtopic)

Screaming Lunatic (526975) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206538)

Someone please change politics.slashdot.org to policy.slashdot.org.

I get enough of this shit from mainstream media.

But why from the WHouse? (2, Insightful)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206540)

If these are forged, why did the White House release them?

At first I thought it was idiot Democrats trying to smear, now maybe it is idiot Republicans trying to make Democrats look bad.

I can't wait to see if anyone can demonstrate what military typewriters in 1972 were capable of proportional fonts!!!

Re:But why from the WHouse? (3, Informative)

jgardn (539054) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206570)

The White House only released the documents that they had. Those documents were obtained from CBS.

Re:But why from the WHouse? (1)

crmartin (98227) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206590)

A-HA! The WH released memos that CBS News faxed them. The WH never had originals at all.

Kevin Drum (blogging from the Left) [washingtonmonthly.com] looked into this.

Re:But why from the WHouse? (1)

TTop (160446) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206665)

Via Atrios [blogspot.com] The IBM Electric typewriters were a series of electric typewriters that IBM manufactured, starting in the late 1940s. They used the conventional moving carriage and hammer mechanism. Each model came in both Standard and Executive versions; the Executive differed in having a multiple escapement mechanism and four widths for letters, producing a near typeset quality result. [emphasis mine]

Re:But why from the WHouse? (2, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206708)

Not "IBM Electric." "IBM Executive." The IBM Executive and the IBM Composer were the only typewriters that could produce variable-pitch type in 1973. But neither of them could produce superscript "th" in smaller type. They lacked that character.

And neither of them had the Times New Roman font that these memos were typeset in. That font didn't exist in 1973. It also didn't exist in 1984, when the man who allegedly wrote and signed these memos died.

Re:But why from the WHouse? (1)

bandy (99800) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206805)

But neither of them could produce superscript "th" in smaller type. They lacked that character.


Got a photo of the keyboard handy? I haven't been able to google up anything better than small bad scans of old adverts.

Re:But why from the WHouse? (0)

revscat (35618) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206827)

Times New Roman has been around since the 30's. Ask a typesetter.

Keep reaching. Do you *really* think Bush honorably completed his duties?

Re:But why from the WHouse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10207207)

You mean Times Roman has been around since the 30's. Times New Roman was not even around in that guy's lifetime.

Re:But why from the WHouse? (1)

Second_Infinity (810308) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206842)

That font didn't exist in 1973. It also didn't exist in 1984, when the man who allegedly wrote and signed these memos died.

Bingo.

Typeface is essential when investigating the authenticity of an old document. Heck, experts can track down which specific typewriter was used in old documents, given enough time - as each typewriter was unique. Now this was not done with a typewriter, but with something electrical - so typeface is especially relevant.

Re:But why from the WHouse? (1, Troll)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206893)

You might find this [demon.co.uk] interesting. Or not, if you're determined to believe the memos are forgeries.

During the decades of transatlantic "sharing" of the Times designs, and the transfer of the faces from metal to photo to digital, various differences developed between the versions marketed by Linotype and Monotype. Especially these became evident when Adobe released the PostScript version, for various reasons having to do with how Adobe produced the original PostScript implementations of Times. The width metrics were different, as well as various proportions and details.

In the late 1980's, Monotype redrew its Times New Roman to make it fit exactly the proportions and metrics of the Adobe-Linotype version of Times Roman. Monotype claimed that its new version was better than the Adobe-Linotype version, because of smoother curves, better detailing, and generally greater sensitivity to the original designs done for The Times and Monotype by Victor Lardent, who worked under the direction of Stanley Morison. During the same period, Adobe upgraded its version of Times, using digital masters from Linotype, which of course claimed that it had a superior version, so there was a kind of competition to see who had the most refined, sensitive, original, genuine, bona-fide, artistically and typographically correct version. Many, perhaps most, users didn't notice and didn't care about these subtle distinctions, many of which were invisible at 10 pt at 300 dpi (which is an em of 42 pixels, a stem of three pixels, a serif of 1 pixel, and so on).


Bush is a deserter. Kerry is a war hero. If you can't deal with that, maybe you should look at your basic assumptions.

Re:But why from the WHouse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10207231)

Kerry is a war hero. ...for North Vietnam. They've got his picture in their museum and everything.

Re:But why from the WHouse? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206928)

Oh yeah ... [typolis.de]

The Times New Roman appeared for the first time on october 3rd 1932 ...

Re:But why from the WHouse? (1)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207162)

Sigh. You're not paying attention. There are lots of implementations, if you prefer that word, of Times New Roman out there. Microsoft's is the one that was used in these memos, as identified positively this morning by forensic expert Dr. Philip Bouffard.

When was Microsoft Times New Roman invented, smarty-pants?

If you want to chastise me for not being sufficiently specific, mea culpa.

prove they're false (1)

bandy (99800) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207217)

What needs to be done is to find an Executive and type out the memo on it, scan and post it to the net.

The 'd' and 'b' characters are pretty unique and their variation from Times doesn't look like a generational error. I don't see kerning in the memos, either. Word, on the other hand, does a good job kerning the "fe" in "feedback", for example.

Re:But why from the WHouse? (2, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206750)

My mother used to use one of those models of IBM typewriter at her job. There is no way in hell that you would find one at a typical office, let alone a military installation. It still wouldn't look anything like the images of the memos that have been posted to the web.

Back then, most people in the military were still using grungy old manual typewriters. The military is not noted for being on the cutting edge of office equipment.

Re:But why from the WHouse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10207143)

> If these are forged, why did the White House release them?

The answer is here [washingtonmonthly.com]
See the section "UPDATE: I now have copies of the memos the White House released"

All this on Bush... (2)

GypC (7592) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206558)

... and nothing on John Kerry's service record or his post-service Vietnam war related activities? Kerry is anything from a hero to a traitor who should have been executed a long time ago, depending on who you believe. Much more interesting stuff.

I think Slashdot's political section is biased.

Re:All this on Bush... (2, Insightful)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206645)

Don't forget "admitted war criminal".

All of this stuff has to do with things that happened 30 years ago. We elected (and re-elected!) Clinton who completely dodged the draft - Apparently we were past this 12 years ago.

A much more important comparison between the two candidates is what they have done in the last 3 years, not what they did 30 years ago.

Re:All this on Bush... (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206716)

A much more important comparison between the two candidates is what they have done in the last 3 years, not what they did 30 years ago.

I entirely agree -- whether it's Kerry's service in Vietnam, Bush's in the National Guard, Clinton's deferment or Dean's 4-F, it's ancient history and it's only baby boomer narcissism that anyone thinks any of this matters.

That said...

Kerry has based his entire campaign on his 4 months in Vietnam. Just last week, he responded to Zell Miller's attack on his Senate votes with "I served in Vietnam! You can't criticize me!" I think it's nuts, but if the Democrats claim that his Vietnam stint qualifies him to be president, then it's certainly inbounds for questioning.

Re:All this on Bush... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10206867)

Kerry has based his entire campaign on his 4 months in Vietnam.

If you believe that, you might want to check to see if the meds you're taking for ADHD are actually working.

It's really insulting to say something so utterly devoid of intelligence, as if Kerry's campaign is entirely based on Viet Nam. That's BS. He's been talking about his plan for the country since the beginning. Why don't you turn off Fox news and read something now and then?

Re:All this on Bush... (1)

aster_ken (516808) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206891)

Could you provide a source for this, please?

Re:All this on Bush... (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206896)

I agree with you there - he's the one that keeps bringing it up!

I'd think that if I'd worked at a job for 20 years, I'd probably have a thing or two to tell a perspective employer other than what I did 30+ years ago.

Re:All this on Bush... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10206926)

Well to be fair.... How exactly does the B-2 Spirit contribute to winning the war on terror? Last time I checked Osamma didn't have a modern interlocking air defence and communications network. He was using Satellite Phones, probably with Motorola or Qualcomm inside, and chinese knockoffs of american shoulder fire anti-air missles, which were thoughtfully provided by George and Ron to Iran. Iraq such an air defense, but it didn't have the terrorist until we took down their capacity to protect their borders. Iran had both the terrorists, the air defense, and oddly enough was breaking ground to enrich uranium, but no one is attacking them.

So please. Pretty please. Explain to me how the B-2 Spirit is winning the war on terror?

PS - Mind linking to coverage of the speech where Kerry said, and you quote, "I served in Vietnam! You can't criticize me!"?

Re:All this on Bush... (2, Insightful)

jgardn (539054) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206691)

Actually, it shows the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans are more than willing to honor our military and let the small stuff slide. We're even willing to forgive Kerry for lying about his service and for admitting to committed war crimes. It just doesn't bother us because we know the realities of war.

However, the left wants to find any small inconsistency or the smallest lie that Bush told and magnify it. It is important that we have a rock-solid case to defend Bush so that we can keep them focused on the issues, which is where we are focused.

Re:All this on Bush... (2, Insightful)

r7 (409657) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206919)

>it shows the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans are more than willing to honor our military and let the small stuff slide. We're even willing to forgive Kerry for lying about his service and for admitting to committed war crimes.

Actually I think this better illustrates the differences. Republicans repeat fabrications questioning a Democratic who served in Vietnam and at the same time ignore what everyone knows is Bush's AWOL (an actual crime).

There is perhaps no better illustration of Rep/Dem differences than how lies about AWOL, WMD, the Geneva Convention, ... are ignored whereas an extra martial affair is grounds for Impeachment.

You have to give Republicans credit for being true to their central plans i.e, "might makes right".

r7

Re:All this on Bush... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10206740)

Considering you can watch a current Swift boat vet for truth on video tape praising Kerry for his actions during a firefight that he now says didn't happen.... So hard to figure out what happened.

Bleh (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207228)

Kerry's military history is so last week. Bush's military history is what we're talking about today. Anyway, this is really intresting. And, btw what do the rest of this guy's personal documents look like are they all written in Times New Roman as well?

Dupe? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10206561)

Is this story a dupe of More... | 3 comments ) New Bush Guard Records Released [slashdot.org] -- that one? From 5 hours ago?

Re:Dupe? (0)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206614)

No- the original was the guard memos released, this is the update, that the guard memos are false.

Nice try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10206782)

I think it's a little early for you to get away with saying "the guard memos are false", don't you think? Even Drudge is hedging his language on this one, and we all know what a paragon of journalistic integrity he is.

Motive (1)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206563)

There's a lot of motivation right now, both to discredit Bush and to make him look alright. I wouldn't be surprised if this is fake.

Is bush even denying the accusations? (1, Insightful)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206564)

I said it before today but I'll say it again:

Whether or not you can replicate the doc in word or on your 1907 eniac prototype typewriter is irrelevant if the candidate doesn't come out to deny the allegations . . .

If he DOES come out and call shenanigans then let professionals take a look at the docs and make a judgement - if he won't deny what's being implied then it's fairly obvious that reproduced or not, they're the truth . . .

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (0)

jgardn (539054) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206608)

Bush didn't write these documents. Someone else was claimed to write them. How can Bush deny that someone else did or did not do something? He can only talk about what he has done.

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (2, Insightful)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206656)

He can only talk about what he has done

He can refute the absence from rating period, refute the missed physical and explain how he got an honorable discharge after going AWOL without first obtaining a transfer . . . But I'm guessing he won't. The man doesn't even take questions.

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (0)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206769)

The man doesn't even take questions.

You're talking about Senator Kerry, right? The guy who hasn't answered a reporter's question for one month and eight days now?

The thing about these allegations is that they're old news. They were trotted out in 1999, when Ben Barnes was under investigation as part of a lottery scandal. They were widely debunked then, even by left-leaning papers like the Los Angeles Times. The reason these allegations are in the news today is because there's new documentary evidence ...which turns out to have been faked.

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (1)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206828)

one month and eight days

If bush had to answer questions every month and 8 days the democrats wouldn't be worry about polls at this point :).

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (0)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206939)

The President answers questions several times every day, through his press secretary. There's a gaggle early in the morning and then a briefing during the day. Every single day of the year.

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (2, Insightful)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207030)

Wait wait I think you typoed there . . .

The President answers questions several times every day, through his press secretary

should read:

The President ducks questions several times every day, through his press secretary

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206837)

"Turns out to have been faked"? More like, "are alleged to be fake by people who are desperately trying to preserve the image of the Chickenhawk-in-Chief as a macho warrior when it's obvious to everyone who's paying attention that he's a deserter."

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206668)

Memos from the personal file of a (conveniently) dead guy. Even without the evidence that they may be forged, this stinks to high heaven.

What can we expect next from CBS, Hitler's long-lost diaries, discovered in the third-floor broom closet of CBS headquarters?

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10206774)

In other news. Old people die.

Now you dumbasses are claiming "The Arrow of Time" has an unAmerican, bush-bashing, liberal agenda, and will kill to keep it's secret.

Much more of this and I'll never be able to vote for a republican canadate again....

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (1)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206824)

In other news. Old people die.

Actually the headline would read, "Dead person miraculously signs memo written twenty years post mortem."

These memos could not have been put to paper in 1972 or 1973, when they are alleged to have been written. Nor could they have been put to paper in 1984, the year of Lt. Col. Killian's death.

Combine that with the fact that the signatures don't even match, and it looks pretty bad all around for CBS News.

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10206975)

So he died on January 1, 1984, at 12:01 am then?

And he didn't have access to a nice typewriter, or anyone who had one, or dictate his memos.... Right.

The only explaination is an unwieldy and hastily assembled conspiracy. OJ didn't do it either. The moustache and money were there because he REALLY liked Halloween.... Proof that if you go far enough right, you're left.

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (3, Insightful)

VersedM (323660) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206886)

Wow, so anything not denied is automatically true... What a creative way of blending logic and innuendo! A fresh new take on guilty until proven innocent.

Kudos on your succint statement of a principle worthy of any of the more heinous repressive regimes of our age.

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (0, Flamebait)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206993)

Wow, so anything not denied is automatically true

Presumption of innocence kind of when out the window when multiple primary witnesses and supporting documents were produced by a reputable news agency. Your statement is akin to a defendant reminding the jury of his presumed innocence after evidence of his guilt was introduced.

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (2, Insightful)

VersedM (323660) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207066)

Your statement is akin to a defendant reminding the jury of his presumed innocence after evidence of his guilt was introduced.

Bleh. Your statement is akin to repealing the 5th amendment and forcing all defendents to defend themselves personally rather than leaving the defense to others.

Presumption of innocence has only gone out the window for those that have prejudged (hmm, is that the root word of "prejudice"?) without waiting for all the facts.

Re:Is bush even denying the accusations? (1)

zulux (112259) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207107)



jhaynor is a $NASTY-LIE-OR-FALSEHOOD-HERE

And because jhaynor has not denied it, IT MUST BE TRUE.

Hint: Silence does not imply consent. Just ask any child-hood victim of abuse.

The actual documents seem to be slashdotted (0)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206573)

so I couldn't check for myself- but certainly the ONE document that this CNS article refers to, if it is porportionately spaced, would be VERY odd to have been typed in 1974. I didn't even learn about porportional spacing until 1987 myself- with some problems run into with a brand-new handheld scanner at that time when scanning out of a magazine that TYPESET porportional spaced fonts- and I never saw a computer do porportional spacing until my school got a copy of Adobe Print Shope in 1988. NO printer before dot matrix days could do it that I know of, and only one typewriter.

Re:The actual documents seem to be slashdotted (1)

sinergy (88242) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206654)

Oh yeah? [ibm.com]

Just because you didn't know about it, doesn't mean it isn't real.
Also, a quick typography lesson for all:
Typefaces are a standard. They rarely change. The Times typeface has been in existence for decades, as has Futura, Garamond, etc, etc. They don't change very much over time. Times Roman was invented in the early 1930's. [worldhistory.com]

Re:The actual documents seem to be slashdotted (1)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206724)

The font used in these documents isn't Times Roman. It's Times New Roman, a very specific variation on Times Roman. Compare the numeral "4" in Times Roman and Times New Roman.

And Times New Roman didn't exist until after 1984. The alleged author and signer of these memos died in 1984.

Re:The actual documents seem to be slashdotted (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206854)

That's a typesetter. It didn't have a superscripted th. Times New Roman was invented and copyrighted by Microsoft- and differs from Times Roman by closing the numeral 4 on the top, which these documents do.

Just cause it's fake doesn't mean it's false ???? (4, Insightful)

waynegoode (758645) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206611)

and even if the documents are not originals or photocopies of originals, that doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't faithfully retyped copies of originals.

I find it hard to believe I just read that. Technically that is true, but it sounds like "if it turns out the documents are forged, let's still give them the benefit of the doubt that the documents really existed." By the same reasoning, if a reporter makes up a quote and is found out, that still doesn't mean the person didn't say it, so don't reject the quote!

In any investigation, if the documents are fake there is no reason to assume real ones existed.

Re:Just cause it's fake doesn't mean it's false ?? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206633)

Exactly- it's on the guy who provided these to CBS now to prove that originals exist.

And the moral of the story is if you're going to forge records from the early 1970s, at least go to the trouble to find early 1970s equipment to do it on.

Re:Just cause it's fake doesn't mean it's false ?? (1)

jgardn (539054) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206640)

Excuse me, but this is just stupid. "Just because they are fake doesn't mean they are false". So if I make up something, does that mean it is true?

If these are merely retypings, then the originals must exist somewhere. These are supposed documents written by a dead officer. If the originals don't exist, it was all made up and CBS is untrustworthy as a news source.

Re:Just cause it's fake doesn't mean it's false ?? (1)

copper (32270) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207233)

And even if the documents are retypings, they went to the trouble of faking the signature on it, which by itself is pretty damn untrustworthy.

Strange (0)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206662)

When I first saw this on Little Green Footballs (linked from fark) i dismissed it out of hand, since I knew there were perportional width font keyboard out there, and that the people who made the times-new-roman font could have tried to match some typographic standard.

That said, if it turns out these were made in Word, I think it would be more likely that they had been retyped.

It's also strange that Bush himself re-released the memos after they were made public.

I also have to wonder, where did these come from. Where did they find these things, I'd think that bush's records had been gone over with a fine-toothed comb long ago.

Re:Strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10206684)

I think it would be more likely that they had been retyped.

And the signature? Of someone dead 20 years? Someone wanted them to look original, and in the process, screwed up hard core. LOL.

dupe (0, Offtopic)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206663)


Dupe from about 6 hours ago. The thread discusses the forgery allegations, although Twirlip obviously wants to make it more of a discussion.

I thought I removed this topic section from my preferences just so I could avoid this kind of crap. If I wanted political spin, I'd go to Fox News. Instead, I go to /. for News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters; and there was precious little political discussion here last time around in 2000, when the election promised to resolve the Microsoft lawsuit, and so was arguably on topic. Now it's hardly at all.

What US Politics is all about (3, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206690)

This seems to be what US politics is all about.

Democrats:"Here are some documents relating to dubious military service 30 years ago!"

Republicans:"Liars they are forged! Here are some potential reasons to prove it!"

Which is to say, there are two parties, that are essentially identical (yes, yes, they have their differences, but compared to the differences in other countries, they are trivial), that find pleasantly obscure and largely irrelevant issues to have long and involved debates over, which the media (of course) buys into heavily. Don't let them waste your time! Don't get caught up in senseless hype chanting mantras about being AWOL, or faked documents - it mostly doesn't matter!

Take a step back, ignore "the other side" for a moment, and actually consider what is important.

Do you believe in larger government or smaller government? Good, now realise that it doesn't matter whether you vote Republican or Democrat because, regardless of rhetoric, if you look at the records they do an equally good job of growing government and government spending.

Do you believe conservative or liberal social policy? Good, now realise that it doesn't matter whether you vote Republican or Democrat because, regardless of rhetoric, if you look at the records neither side has actually implemented any significant social policy change in the last 20 years.

Stop getting distracted by soap operas over trivialities designed to distract you from the fact that neither side ever gets around to doing much of anything with regard to all their rhetoric. Stop letting yourself get dragged in to caring about petty debates over non issues. Take a look at what you actually believe in from a purely political philosophy point of view, and spend some time looking at what is going to work the best to see those ideas actually get implemented!

Jedidiah

Re:What US Politics is all about (1)

r7 (409657) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207031)

>now realise that it doesn't matter whether you vote Republican or Democrat

Spoken by someone who either doesn't know the differences or doesn't want you to know.

The relatives of 1,000 soldiers who died needlessly in Iraq disagree with you. Those of us who live near toxic waste sites that were slated for cleanup until Bush was appointed disagree with you. Minotities in Florida whose votes were not counted disagree with you. Women who value their right to choose abortion disagree with you. Even judges who value the constitution disagree with you.

r7

Re:What US Politics is all about (1)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207174)

Spoken by someone who either doesn't know the differences or doesn't want you to know.

Or perhaps spoken by someone used to considering more diverse views, and looking at results rather than rhetoric. Let's have a look at things shall we...

The relatives of 1,000 soldiers who died needlessly in Iraq disagree with you.

Which is interesting, because the democrat candidate has said, many times, that despite the lack of WMD found, he would still have gone to war against Iraq. If you wish to vote for someone who wouldn't have entered a war that has killed 1,000 US servicemen, and many many Iraqi military and civilians, then perhaps you should look somewhere other than the democrats.

Those of us who live near toxic waste sites that were slated for cleanup until Bush was appointed disagree with you.

I freely admit I know very little about that one, though I would be curious as to how differently it would have been handled under the Democrats. And as terrible as this is for the people involved, on the broader scheme of things, this is a very trivial difference.

Minotities in Florida whose votes were not counted disagree with you.

Well, there would have been an inquiry into that if the objections of various congresspersons had been allowed. Unfortunately their complaints required the signature of a US Senator (just 1 would have been enough). I don't honestly know how many senators are currently Democrats, but I do believe the number is significantly greater than 1. Once again, for all the rhtoric and ballyhoo, in practical terms the democrats did as fine a job of making sure those voters remained disenfranchised as the Republicans.

Women who value their right to choose abortion disagree with you.

Yes, because for all Bush's anti-abortion rhetoric he has enacted... wait, what bills did he initiate and see passed on that? Abortion is now illegal in the US because of Bush right? Ignore the rhetoric, and look at what they actually do.

Even judges who value the constitution disagree with you.

Because not a single Democrat senator or congressperson voted for the PATRIOT act. Because seeing a ban on gay marriage written into the US constitution was ever at all likely (Bush could happily back that all he liked to garner conservative christian support, it was never going to happen and he knew it).

Truly the divide is deep and significant.

In turn, I would ask you if you have looked at political debate in other countries much. Have you seen the differences of opinion that can crop up there?

Jedidiah.

Re:Social Policy (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207112)

Well, to me trying to implement is as important as actually implementing in determining how much I think a politician agrees with me.

And I guess it also depends on what your threshold for signifigance is. To me, it is very significant that under Bush's watch mercury compounds have suddenly been downgraded from toxic chemical status to "volatile organic compounds" and that manufacturers have been given the right to violate clean air acts.

I also think it is very significant that the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law with little protest by Clinton.

And on government spending and small vs. big government, I think the real truth is that the two parties have flip-flopped. Or rather, that the Republicans have made such a rapid shift to big government politics over the past 20 years that the Democrats, by not making many changes to their platform during that period of time, suddenly became the small government party.

So I don't think it's really that there is no difference between the two parties. (Hell, look at how many votes fall on partisan lines and try to tell me again that it doesn't matter which side is in power) Instead, I think it's that the disconnect between what each party claims to stand for and what it really does stand for has grown so large that it's getting darn near impossible to remember which party believes in what.

More Fuel for the Fire... (2, Informative)

DeComposer (551766) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206699)

From http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/ [talkingpointsmemo.com] :

The conservative blog Powerline has a roiling debate or series of charges that the documents published by CBS last night are forgeries.

The basis of the claim is that the sort of proportional font spacing evidenced in the memoranda wasn't available at the time in question. It only came later with word processors and computers and laser printers. Basically, they say, all people had back then were old fashioned block-type typewriters.

On the face of it, that sounds logical to me. But the editor of the site has now posted the comments of at least one reader who says such machines were actually widely available at the time.

It seems worth noting that the White House accepted the documents as genuine and even began releasing them to other journalists yesterday evening -- though it's not clear to me whether they were releasing their own copies or simply passing on what CBS had given them.

The deeper point is that CBS reported that they had handwriting experts scrutinize these documents to ascertain their authenticity. It seems hard to imagine they'd go to such lengths to have experts analyze them and not check out something so obvious as seeing if they'd been written by a typewriter that was in existence at time. (Hard to imagine or, if true, unimaginably stupid.)

One way or another, I doubt we'll have to speculate about this for very long. This question about what sort of typesets were available in 1973 should be easy enough to settle.

Find some old typewriters (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206729)

I'd like to see the output of some high-end typewriters of the era. It's possible that the people who made "Times New Roman" for the PC tried to reproduce the typesetting font, and that typewriter makers in the 70s also perfectly emulated typesetting fonts. Someone needs to find one of those old proportional-width typewriters and compare the output with a freshly printed MS-Word document with the defaults. Until someone does that, the jury is out (at least in my mind)

Re:Find some old typewriters (1)

bofkentucky (555107) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206956)

The thing is some pissant Lt. Col in the TXANG isn't going to have a high end typewriter at his desk (or in his secretary's pool). How about someone pulling out the Requisition orders for typewriters from the TXANG in the early 70's (or reciepts for typewriter ribbon) to figure out what equipment they had on hand.

What's more likely... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10206763)

Which seems more likely:

1. CBS cooked up an elaborate hoax and suckered the White House into releasing documents which cast the President in an unfair light, but somehow it didn't occur to them not to use MS Word, or...

2. The Bush Jr., a rich kid with a history of substance abuse issues and benefitting from nepotism, got into the guard to avoid Vietnam and then blew off his responsibilities when they became inconvenient.

Truth is irrelvant (0)

revscat (35618) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206784)

Welp, here comes another example of "lie, repeat the lie until your opponent gets tired of refuting it." Expect this thing to get tossed about by Limbaugh, Hannity, deLay, and all the other conservaclones for months on end. It sure do help divert attention away from the underlying questions of leadership, though, don't it?

Question, though: Does anyone, regardless of what they believe about THESE documents, really think Bush honorably completed his service? And don't give me any crap about "he got an honorable discharge and that settles it", either. Sons of privelege tend to have priveleges handed to them.

Bush just doesn't seem like the kind of guy who wouldn't take advantage of such a situation, if he could.

Re:Truth is irrelvant (1)

jgardn (539054) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206860)

I believe that Bush honorably served in the military. His record proves it, if you took the time to read it.

Go read this article and tell me what you think about Bush's service.

http://www.thehill.com/york/090904.aspx

Remember, and I'll repeat it 'til I am blue in the face, I personally am proud of John Kerry's service, regardless of whether he deserved no medals or more medals, whether he fought in Cambodia or Timbuktu. I can't question anything he's done because he protected me and my family from things I can't dream about. He's been through stuff that I wouldn't dare put myself into.

This is the official Republican and Bush supporter line: We honor Kerry for his service! We don't question his service because we weren't there! We'll never know all the crap that he had to face, and we'll never be in a position to question heis dedication to our country. When Bush says this, the crowd cheers in agreement and support.

Re:Truth is irrelvant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10206889)

The official Republican position on Kerry's service isn't backed up by what they do -- they're talking out of both sides of their head just like they did in 2000 when they slandered John McCain.

Re:Truth is irrelvant (0)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206988)

Yes, because remember kiddies, Republicans are a hive-mind. There's just one Republican opinion on anything, and any time any Republican says anything all other Republicans must necessarily believe and agree with it.

Dumbass.

Let's see if we can be clear on this, okay? The Bush campaign has no complaint with Senator Kerry over his service in Vietnam. Various representatives of the campaign including the president and the vice president have said this on the record more times than I can count.

Many veterans of the Vietnam war, however, disagree. They have a very serious problem with some things Senator Kerry did while in Vietnam and some things that he said --and a book that he wrote, called "The New Soldier" -- when he came back.

But you're happy to sit there and say that these veterans, including a retired rear admiral, are just puppets of a campaign that has repeatedly distanced itself from them.

You're completely off your meds, do you realize that?

Re:Truth is irrelvant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10207111)

This is the official Republican and Bush supporter line: We honor Kerry for his service! We don't question his service because we weren't there! We'll never know all the crap that he had to face, and we'll never be in a position to question heis dedication to our country. When Bush says this, the crowd cheers in agreement and support.

Right, then they turn on to the right wing media and listen about how Kerry lied and lied and lied about his service. Then the VP does a little speach saying Kerry will destory this nation.

We both know it's not the offical line. It's Bush's line. He has to sound all nice and sweet while he send his attack dogs out for the kill. This is a common dirty tactic. I'm sure Kerry's been using it too.

Re:Truth is irrelvant (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207099)

Does anyone, regardless of what they believe about THESE documents, really think Bush honorably completed his service?

Yes. I do. He earned more than enough active duty points, in a program which was dangerous and did experience some deaths, to be honoraby discharged from the reserves a few months early. Especially considering that it was at a time when there were a glut of idle pilots and taking an early release was actually doing the military a favor by allowing them to stop paying officer salary to a pilot who has nothing to do but read technical spec documents all day.

Or did you think they just let people stroll into the airbase untrained and fly risky test-flight manuvers in expensive and dangerous jet aircrafts on the basis of their family connecitons?

If he had served his entire stint in a comfy desk job, or had simply joined the ROTC in college and then got permission to quit before he actually would have to serve, like a certain previous President, then I would say you have a point.

But he volunteered for a job which subjected him to years of training - raining which most of the people currently calling Bush "stupid" could not have completed. This training was followed by combat simulations which, while nowhere nearly as dangerous as what the "brown water" Navy men were doing in Vietnam, still occasionally resulted in pilots getting killed. In fact, Al Gore's unit, which was technically doing combat duty in Vietnam, actually had a lower casualty rate than the Texas Air Guard.

I have never trusted CBS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10206816)

CBS has been like this for YEARS. I'm glad that now everybody else can see them for what they really are - left wing propagandists.

all the sources stem from the freeper article (4, Insightful)

bandy (99800) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206844)

Well, thus endeth the accusations that politics.slashdot is left-wing only.

List of websites: (4, Informative)

jlgolson (19847) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206865)

Here are a few websites that reference this situation:

UPI: breaking news [washingtontimes.com]

littlegreenfootballs.com [littlegreenfootballs.com]

AllahPundit here [allahpundit.com] and here [allahpundit.com] and here [allahpundit.com] .

indcjournal.com [indcjournal.com]

cnsnews.com [cnsnews.com]

command-post.org [command-post.org]

hftp.blogspot.com [blogspot.com]

Another distraction (2, Insightful)

mabu (178417) | more than 10 years ago | (#10206946)

This is getting out of hand.

It reminds me of a guy who walks into a shopping mall, throws a bunch of pennies on the floor, and while everying is on their hands and knees picking up loose change, he's making off with all their shopping bags.

People get off your knees. Have some self respect and decency and don't fall prey to this big inept pseudo-journalistic, National Enquirer-esque troll that really has very little to do with real issues.

Kerry went to Viet Nam. Bush did not. That's all there basically is. Whether Bush was snorting coke and avoided the health exam, or Kerry was shooting Viet Cong puppies in the back are stupid, distractions that people will forever argue. Let's not get side-tracked by these distractions both parties are vomiting during a time where it's important to pay attention to the real issues and who is best for the country.

A few points.... (2, Insightful)

automandc (196618) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207051)

First, when I first saw the headlines my left-wing conspiracy-nut side immediately suspected the Republicans of faking these, since the documents overall support Bush's story that he didn't break any rules (at least, that was what the Wash. Post seemed to imply this morning, and if they couldn't twist them into a scandal then I don't think anyone could.)

In any case, there are a few reasons why I don't think they are fake:

1. Zoom in on the PDF scans that are available, and the characters seem to support typewriter more than laser printer. First, it seems that there are different ink-levels that one would expect from a ribbon. Compare like letters in different words and you will see that they are darker in some places, or have extra pixels representing "blobs" hanging off of them (bottom serif on the lowercase "n" is a good one). That may be scanning artifact, but it would indicate typewriter.

2. Everyone is making a big deal about the superscript 'th', but IIRC the IBM "golfball" typewriters had the superscripts as special characters (I'm not the first to point this out either). The connectedness of the "th," the fact that they have the same "ink level," and the fact that the entire "th" is no wider than the widest character seems to indicate to me that they were stroked by a typewriter.

3. If the superscript "th" was a function of Word's Auto Format, why didn't it happen in the "111th" in the letterhead?

4. Some of the letters, notably the lowercase "e", look too imprecise to have been laserwritten. Again, very well could be a scanning artifact.

The Philadelphia Project (4, Funny)

I_Love_Pocky! (751171) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207056)

You are all overlooking the obvious possibility that the military has had access to modern computers since their time travel experiments in the 1940's. This was clearly typed back in the 60's using a then 20 year old copy of Word 2000. Simple questions call for simple answers.

These don't look like Kerry's memo's.. (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 10 years ago | (#10207235)

Just look at the Discharge Document [johnkerry.com] and other documents [johnkerry.com] from Kerry. These all use either handwriting or fixed width fonts.
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