What a Tangled Web

The Kerry Spot on National Review Online

to paraphrase (and butcher) Sir Walter Scott, Oh what a tangled web we weave, When America we seek to deceive!

The stories are flying around. Documents prove Bush lied! Documents are a forgery! Documents are real, and no evidence is needed! Reputations wouldn’t be risked for this! All this, and for what?

You see, I am amused by what appears to be a sudden fascination with the possibility that documents might possibly have been forged. (Yes, I used the passive voice here–because CBS doesn’t have the originals, and won’t disclose how they received these documents!) It appears that now people are working quite hard to build a rather circumstantial case about how it is “possible” that an Air National Guard unit might possibly have had a very expensive typewriter and that a man known to not type would have taken the time to learn an expensive machine to type these memos.

Does anyone else remember the Niger Yellow Cake stories? Apparently this is another instance of “crows coming home to roost.” Several years ago, as President Bush was making his case to remove Saddam from power, he included 18 words in the State of the Union speech that indicated that Niger had sold, or tried to sell, uranium to Iraq. The documents that were presented to support this, documents viewed and believed by British as well as US intelligence officials, were later held up as forgeries. Various charges were levied against the Bush administration. He obviously “knew” these accusations were false, and he lied. Or perhaps, his intelligence agencies were so incompetent that they failed to identify as a forgery what was obvious.

The parallels here are perhaps interesting, and we could simply leave it at that. Except for one rather important point–the Bush administration accepted that the documents might well have been a forgery. They didn’t need that evidence to build their case, and they were willing to “let it go.”

So the question is out there for all to ponder: Why won’t CBS let it go? Certainly they have no “personal” stake in this, do they? It’s not like people won’t understand that, in the language of Nixon’s Watergate and the Clinton’s Travelgate, “Mistakes were made.” Is there some other reason why CBS and Dan Rather must cling tenaciously to what is becoming obvious to all was a bungled, perhaps even juvenile attempt, at a forgery?

Homework for the day: Read Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News by Bernard Goldberg, and learn why Dan Rather must grasp to this story, as his reputation continues to slip from him.

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