The Peach

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Friday, September 10, 2004

A Word on the National Guard Documents

We are not document authentication experts, and so are not qualified to render a judgement about the authenticity of the documents presented on 60 Minutes -- documents which, to the joy of Democrats and consternation of Republicans, seriously called into question not only Bush's Guard service, but his honesty on every statement he's ever made about it.

There are three possibilities -- all the documents are authentic, some of them are or none of them are. If none of them are authentic, then someone has perpetrated a hoax on the American people. We would expect the media to turn their attention to who and why. Personally, we would not be surprised if it was the Republicans. It would be so like them.

It seems likely that at least some of the documents are authentic. According to the Wash Post, CBS contacted retired Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges, the immediate superior officer of the documents' alleged author, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, and he indicated that the content of the documents was similar to things that Killian had verbally expressed to him at the time. Hodges is a Republican who told CBS that he did not want to hurt Bush.

It also continues to be possible that all the documents are authentic. You will see a lot of arcane posts flying back and forth on the blogs filled with details about typewriters of the 60's and 70's, old typefaces, vintage secretarial practices and more. It gets a bit bewildering after a while, but a couple of questions could be answered definitively by someone in the media, and we wish they would get to it. E.g.:

1. Did any electric typewriters exist at the time that had a font more or less resembling Times Roman? My mom, a professional editor and typist of that day, says there was at least one called Testimonial and perhaps others as well.

2. Did any electric typewriter exist that could type a superscript in a smaller font than the one used in the main document? Mom, again, says that any secretary worth her salt knew how to do this, even with a manual typewriter, and that they did indeed have at least two different sized fonts.

3. Did Killian own or have access to such a typewriter?

The jury is still out. And regardless, we still all know that Bush was AWOL from the guard, and that Kitty Kelley is probably telling something pretty near the truth.

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