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Of Course CBS Knew Bush Volunteered to Fly Combat Missions in Vietnam

Bernard Goldberg is getting a good bit of attention for something he said on O'Reilly tonight -- that documents show the CBS investigation in 2004 revealed that George Bush volunteered to fly combat missions in Vietnam. The following is from his website, Bernard Goldberg.com (via Newsbusters):

However the complexities and seeming contradictions are interpreted, if Bush at any point had volunteered to fly combat missions in Vietnam - as the CBS investigation unequivocally states -- how then could he have been a slacker? The clear answer is that he could not - unless, of course, he volunteered to go to Vietnam knowing full well he wouldn't be taken. But if that was the case, Mapes would have had an obligation to report both that he volunteered and then produce a credible witness to say it was a sham. She did neither.

Mapes, a well-known liberal at CBS News, has always contended that she had no agenda, that she was not out to get President Bush. But if she knew that George Bush had volunteered for service in Vietnam - as the CBS outside panel clearly concludes -- she obviously had an obligation to share that with her viewers.

This was not a secret. Jed Babbin wrote about it at National Review on February 4, 2004:

The first American jet fighters to be deployed to Vietnam were F-102s of the 509th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. When Lt. Bush signed up for fighters and joined the 111th FIS, he stood ready to deploy to Vietnam, as did every other Air National Guard pilot. In fact, he tried to volunteer for Vietnam.

Of the four pilots I spoke to who flew with Bush in the Texas days, Fred Bradley knew him best. They had met before going off to the year-long ordeal of pilot school, and entered the 111th at about the same time. Both were junior lieutenants without a lot of flying experience. But the inexperience didn't prevent Bush -- along with Bradley -- from going to their squadron leaders to see if they could get into a program called "Palace Alert." "There were four of us lieutenants at the time, and we were all fairly close. Two of them had more flight time than the president and me, said Bradley." All four volunteered for Vietnam (Bradley doesn't remember whether he and Bush actually signed paperwork, but he specifically remembers both Bush and himself trying to get into the Palace Alert Vietnam program.) Bush and Bradley were turned away, and the two more senior pilots went to Vietnam.

Of course Mapes and those working on the story at CBS knew that. If they hadn't known, then they certainly should have. Remember, the infamous Rathergate story aired on Sixty Minutes II on September 8, 2004. Babbin's piece was carried by National Review in February 2004, not in response to the CBS report, which had not yet run, but in response to the criticism and accusations coming from many on the left. Babbin was not the only one who wrote about Bush volunteering to fly combat missions and it was also repeated by many bloggers covering the story in 2004. What Goldberg is now pointing to is evidence that proves CBS knew it when they ran the Sixty Minutes II report.
Until now, the controversy over the Rather/Mapes story has centered almost entirely on one issue: the legitimacy of the documents - a very important issue, indeed. But it turns out that there was another very important issue, one that goes to the very heart of what the story was about - and one that has gone virtually unnoticed. This is it: Mary Mapes knew before she put the story on the air that George W. Bush, the alleged slacker, had in fact volunteered to go to Vietnam.

Who says? The outside panel CBS brought into to get to the bottom of the so-called "Rathergate" mess says. I recently re-examined the panel's report after a source, Deep Throat style, told me to "Go to page 130." When I did, here's the startling piece of information I found:

Mapes had information prior to the airing of the September 8 [2004] Segment that President Bush, while in the TexANG [Texas Air National Guard] did volunteer for service in Vietnam but was turned down in favor of more experienced pilots. For example, a flight instructor who served in the TexANG with Lieutenant Bush advised Mapes in 1999 that Lieutenant Bush "did want to go to Vietnam but others went first." Similarly, several others advised Mapes in 1999, and again in 2004 before September 8, that Lieutenant Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam but did not have enough flight hours to qualify.

This information, despite the fact that it has been available since the CBS report came out four years ago, has remained a secret to almost everybody both in and out of the media -- one lonely fact in a 234- page report loaded with thousands of facts, and overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the documents.

I don't know why it took a "deep throat" type source to point to something that was part of a pubic document, but evidently when the fact pointed to makes CBS look bad a witness protection program is necessary. I am glad Bernard Goldberg is pointing to this, even this many years later. This is no surprise to those of us in the blogosphere who followed the story closely, but Goldberg is right about the mainstream media. This fact, and others that showed how ridiculous the Rather/Mapes' "fake but accurate" story was, did not get much attention from the MSM. The Rathergate scandal should be taught in journalism schools, if it is not already. What is really scary is that we will never know how many stories have been run in the media that were based on equally flimsy and even fraudulent information.

Update: Bernard Goldberg has written an update to the post linked above, in which he clarifies some of the points I raised here. He has additional information as well.


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Comments (33)

But...but...but...Fox!... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:


So, there!

Seriously, they're not unAmerican, they're just on the other side.

Yellow journalism is thy na... (Below threshold)

Yellow journalism is thy name.

Well, then, I seem to recal... (Below threshold)

Well, then, I seem to recall many claiming dan rather's $70 million lawsuit against CBS would provide him with "delicious power of discovery."

So much for that.

There was never a president... (Below threshold)

There was never a president more targeted for garbage, character assassination, disinformation and outright betrayal by the so-called "free press" than George W. Bush. But like Martin Luther King said, "a lie can't last forever." Someday Bush will get the props he deserves.

Gotta agree with willa.<br ... (Below threshold)

Gotta agree with willa.
And I'd like to add that Bush handled all of the abuse with class and grace.

Is someone suggesting that ... (Below threshold)

Is someone suggesting that Dan Rather and Mary Mapes are both just lying sacks of shit?

Whew. Film at 11, eh?

Dan Rather and Mary Mapes a... (Below threshold)

Dan Rather and Mary Mapes are lying sacks of shit.

truth doesn't matter to the... (Below threshold)
jim m:

truth doesn't matter to the liberal. Only the narrative.

Lying is what progressives ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Lying is what progressives do in the quest for power. A more recent example was the hit pieces the NYT was running hoping to damage McCain. Being honest is one of those old fashioned ideas that progressives reject.

And liberals still talk abo... (Below threshold)

And liberals still talk about the media's right-wing bias!

LEAVE DANNY ALONE! HE'S SU... (Below threshold)


There VIC, saved you the time to type a response.

I am an unabashed supporter... (Below threshold)

I am an unabashed supporter of GW and will not back down from that position. His presedency had circumstances thrown at him where precedency did not exist. He and his team literally had to respond daily to keep us safe. He as was all americans crushed with sadness that this great land of ours was targeted and our fellow citizens were killed. With variables changing by the hour for more then a year, with an intelligience agency that was gutted with their hands tied had to be let lose by GW to do the work they should have been doing. I admire the courage and energy it took to maintain the course GW and his administration dedicated to the mission.

For that dedication, the left constantly castigated him and his family with absolute hatred and venom. Their behavior is undefined since it is worse then disgraceful. Maybe reprobative will cover it.

GW lost me with immigration and the spending towards the end, but I can do nothing but admire him. ww

The Rathergate stuff... sig... (Below threshold)

The Rathergate stuff... sigh. Anyone who'd ever done time in a squadron orderly room up to the late '80s doing admin work would have recognized the memos as bogus. The paper was the wrong size, the spacings were wrong, the font wasn't produced by a typewriter. And didn't it seem odd that the media couldn't be bothered to actually find someone who HAD done admin work to verify the memos were in proper formats?

And his 'refusal' to go to Viet Nam was also bogus, when I went into Air Force basic training in '74 we were told to fill out a 'dream sheet' on where we wanted to be stationed - and we were told to specify no overseas assignment since we were AT our first assignment. Later on we could fill out the form detailing where we wanted to go, but until we got out of basic, overseas assignments weren't to be considered. I don't imagine that policy would have been much different in the '60s. Training comes first - THEN assignments.

(There was also the 'attendance' problem - which was bogus as well, but not mentioned here. Having done attendance, pay and points recording for about 8 years in a Reserve unit, the record was clear there wasn't a problem. Yet the media apparently couldn't find anyone to actually explain the paperwork, continually making conjectures passed off as fact. It was rather annoying...)

I look forward to the day w... (Below threshold)
James H:

I look forward to the day when all politicians are too young to have served in Vietnam or to have dodged service in Vietnam.

JL:There was also th... (Below threshold)

There was also the minor problem that all the jargon was in "Army" talk not "Air Force" talk. I'm sure it was just a coincidence that Burkett, who "found" the memo's was prior Army Reserve. And also a coincidence that Burkett proclaimed on a BDS web site that "We've RECONSTRUCTED your (Bush's) military records."

One volunteers for... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
One volunteers for flying service in Vietnam by joining the regular armed forces on the deployment fast track, namely the army, marine corps, navy, or air force, and NOT by joining the RESERVE services, which the guard units are. D'uh.

The fact that 2 of the 4 reservist pilots who volunteered for Vietnam went to Vietnam shows your statement is misinformed at best.

Also: W deserted the Air National Guard anyway on the highway between his first duty station in Texas and his new duty station in Alabama. He transferred from TANG to the AANG, but never showed up at AANG. Ergo W's 2O subsequent years of drunken self-loathing.

And yet eye witness have stated they saw Bush at AANG. The fact that some government paperwork is fucked up isn't surprising to any Vet.

Why, why, why, why, why do ... (Below threshold)
James H:

Why, why, why, why, why do people keep refighting old battles? The Vietnam War is over. Woodstock attendees are now happily consuming special brownies (prescribed by their doctors) at the Happy Hippy Retirement Home. John Kerry and his Hair of Death are going gently into that good night and President Bush is now a happily retired ex-president.

In what way is the whodidwhatinVietnam debate still relevant?

In what way is the... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
In what way is the whodidwhatinVietnam debate still relevant?

It's not about whodidwhatinVietnam, it's about a major player in the old MSM knowingly withholding facts in favor of a conservative candidate while faking up derogatory information. The more that story is made public the less influence such liars will have on future elections, and that's relevant for as long as we have elections in this nation.

bryanD - "One volunteer... (Below threshold)

bryanD - "One volunteers for flying service in Vietnam by joining the regular armed forces on the deployment fast track, namely the army, marine corps, navy, or air force, and NOT by joining the RESERVE services, which the guard units are. D'uh."

Here, let me fix that fer ya:

One who volunteers for Vietnam service doesn't sign-up for patrol boat service while saying... "I heard patrol boat service was patrolling the ocean coastline, but hey I made the best of it by writing my own citations and purple hearts."

But they let Dan Rather pub... (Below threshold)

But they let Dan Rather publish his fraud to cover up for John Kerry(D)'s dishonorable service anyway. That was the point.

Mac Lorry hit the nail on t... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

Mac Lorry hit the nail on the head. That is exactly why it doesn't bother me how many times this story comes up again, even if the info is all old. We need to remember it so we will look at all future stories with a skeptical eye.

I will grant that Rather's ... (Below threshold)
James H:

I will grant that Rather's error is salient, though I would argue it's less salient now that the major players in the story (e.g., President Bush) are no longer running for high office.

But I continue to be irritated by people who bring up the Vietnam war, including Rather himself. And I notice that arguments about Rather inevitably devolve into arguments abouw whodidwhatinVietnam. In this thread, for example, we see people arguing the technicalities of what constitutes "volunteering to serve" in Vietnam.

In a column, David Broder once predicted that Baby Boomers will still be fighting each other over Vietnam when they land in the nursing homes. I think Broder was right.

Mapes was proven to be a ly... (Below threshold)
Rickvid in Seattle:

Mapes was proven to be a lying sack here in Seattle when she faked a story about cops bursting into some guy's home and gunning him down unprovoked. Her source was an eye witness to the events. Except that when pressed, he turned out to have been a drunk who staggered onto the sceen well after the cops had the area secured. He saw nothing. Mapes knew this, but did not stop her vendetta against the cops. She was exposed for the fraud she is and left soon thereafter. Glad CBS has such lofty hiring standards.

BryanD -I was a pe... (Below threshold)

BryanD -

I was a personnel specialist in the AF Reserve for 13 years, and I spent 8 years of that handling the unit attendance accounting. The AF Reserve (and ANG) take their attendance paperwork very seriously, with jail time for falsification of the records. The time is recorded for retirement purposes, and any exceptions are recorded on an AF Form 40A, which is sent over to Finance for recording. However, the forms from that period were long gone. So what's left is an accounting of the days attended, and the points the member accumulated for their attendance. But if you know what you're looking at (as I did, and still do) it's pretty clear. Show me any record like that, and I could tell you what was a regular drill weekend, what was an excused drill or rescheduled drill or annual tour time.

It ain't rocket science, and it doesn't depend on who knows who - there's ways the system works, and people on the left didn't want to know.

So just for YOU (and whoever else is interested) I dug back into my blog at the time, and here's what I put on Calpundit's site in the comments.

Over on Calpundit, they've got a nice clear image of Bush's points for his last fiscal year in the Air National Guard. They've also got a rather interesting discussion about the relevance of the information.

Basically, they don't give a shit. He was AWOL, doesn't matter if he's got points or paperwork showing he attended, nothing matters except their interpretation of things. I even went through the effort of doing a point-by-point analysis- because, after all, this is what I did for 8 years or so in the AF Reserve - and it was basically laughed at by some of the folks there.

Here's what I posted.
Here things are in short form, based on the points records above at the top of this article, and based on my experience with the drill schedules and record keeping customs.

72 Oct 28-29 -- 4 points - Either rescheduled October drill, or premature November drill. 0 drill points, 0 AT points.
72 Nov 11-14 -- 8 points. Nov. drill, and December's - which is missing. +4 drill points, no AT points.
72 Dec - missing. 0 points, no AT points.
73 Jan 4-6 -- 6 points. Jan drill, and 1 day of another - maybe Feb. +2 points, no AT points.
73 Feb -- missing, so subtract 4 from 2 - -2 points, no AT points.
73 Mar -- missing, so subtract 4 from -2 - -6 points, no AT points.
73 April 7-8 -- 4 points, normal drill. Still 6 points down.
73 May 1-3 -- 3 points, not normal drill - Annual tour most likely? -6 drill points, 3 AT points.
73 May 8-10 -- 3 points, not normal drill. -6 drill points, 6 AT points.
Now, it could also be that he was doing his makeup for the excusals in Feb and March one period/point per day - and AT points and drill points ARE the same. Without a 40A, I'll admit I'm just guessing here.
73 May 19-20 -- 4 points, normal drill for May. -6 drill points (still), 6 AT points.
73 May 22-24 -- 3 points - not normal drill. -6 drill points, 9 AT points.
Now we go to the other copy of his points.

(Quick explanation - You got 4 points per drill weekend, 2 points per day. AT points are Annual Tour days - a member needed 15 of those in a calendar year, but you only earned 1 per day. You also needed 48 drill points. Where I'm showing -4 or -6 drill points, thats how many he was short to be on schedule for the year. You could excuse (with commander's permission) a drill weekend, or reschedule it. As long as you made your 60 points per year, it was seen as a 'good' year, and counted towards retirement.)

73 May 29-31 -- 3 points - not normal drill. -6 drill points, 12 AT points.
73 June 5-7 -- 3 points - not normal drill. -6 points, 15 AT points. Normal AT points needed - 14.
73 June 23-24 -- 4 points, normal drill. Still -6 drill points. 15 AT points.
Conversely, if some of the 3-pointers were single period makeups, we could be at 0 drill points and 9 AT points. But we'll keep the -6 and 15 for now.
73 July 2-3 -- 2 points - looks like AT or makeup, 1 period a day. -6, 17
73 Jul 5 -- 1 point, one day. -6, 18
73 July 9-12 -- 4 points, 4 days - Annual Tour? -6, 22 points
73 July 16-19 -- 8 points, 4 days, looks like a rescheduled drill weekend, as well as making up an excused drill weekend. -2 drill points, 22 AT points.
73 July 21-22 -- 4 points, two days - normal drill pattern here. Making up for August drill excusal?
(You could excuse drills in advance, with commander's approval.) +2 drill points, 22 AT points.
73 July 23-27 -- 5 points, 5 days, looks like annual tour. +2 drill points, 27 AT points.
73 July 30 - 1 point. +2 drill points, 28 AT points.

Annual Tour accounts for 15 of the 28 - 14 + 1 day travel time. 15 points remaining. (2 drill, 13 AT - they're interchangeable after you do your minimums.)
73 Aug - Done, I think, 21-22 July.
73 Sept - No record. -4 points from the 15 - leaves 11 points excess.

Looks to me like he did more than his minimums for the year. I don't see a problem with this.
I won't bother putting in the snarky replies. Not much point, really.

Look, I can accept someone might have different opinions than I do - I've got no problems with that. I also appreciate it when I see reasoned opinion. But what I'm seeing from the vast majority of the people there isn't reasoned - it's straight ignorance and it's determined ignorance. They don't know what goes on in the military reserves as far as pay and points go, and they're not interested in learning.
Had to link to the Archive.org Calpundit page - looks like Calpundit went under when Kevin Drum moved elsewhere.

Something rather amusing - the folks there kept obsessing over Bush's record, even admitting they didn't understand what they were looking at - but wanted even MORE info on his military history.

If only they'd bothered to vet Obama as well...

Garandfan -I think... (Below threshold)

Garandfan -

I think Burkett was nuts, and Rather & Mapes figured nobody would bother to verify their story. Sure, things were different between the AF and Army customary wording, but nobody IMPORTANT would know the difference. Just like we were supposed to believe those forgeries came from 1973...

They were wrong - and it sincerely sucks to be them at this point.

One other thing is that the... (Below threshold)
Scotty Battistoni:

One other thing is that the Convair F-102 airplane that Bush flew in the ANG ended up being a failure in Vietnam. The limited program was canceled and all F-102's that did deploy to Vietnam left the combat arena.

The F-102 was originally a fantastic airplane which is why Bush probably chose it. However, it proved unsatisfactory in combat, much to the dismay of many fighter jocks.

No one has brought this to light. This would add to another reason why Bush did not deploy to Vietnam. The National Guard at that time did not have the F-105, or F-4's with them. These were the planes that proved their worth in combat over in Vietnam.

If people would just read up a little on history this would have been cleared up a long time ago.

Scotty B

I find it hard to believe t... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I find it hard to believe that, had Bush actually volunteered for Vietnam duty, that it wouldn't have been TRUMPETED at the time. He was in a campaign, you know. Wouldn't it have helped to have said, "Hey, I volunteered for combat duty, but somebody else had more seniority!"

Not only did Rather not tell us Bush volunteered, but the Bush campaign never told us, either.

Naah. Not credible. Sorry. I call bullshit.

I find it hard to ... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:
I find it hard to believe that, had Bush actually volunteered for Vietnam duty, that it wouldn't have been TRUMPETED at the time. He was in a campaign, you know. Wouldn't it have helped to have said, "Hey, I volunteered for combat duty, but somebody else had more seniority!"

Not only did Rather not tell us Bush volunteered, but the Bush campaign never told us, either.

Naah. Not credible. Sorry. I call bullshit.

28. Posted by Bruce Henry | August 26, 2009 11:26 PM

I call it right back. I covered the story extensively at the time and remember hearing a lot about Bush having volunteered to fly missions in Vietnam. Did you even bother to read the post? Jed Babbin investigated and wrote about it in February of 2004. You would know that if you read the post. If you read the post you would also know that Goldberg was pointing to documentation that showed there was not only evidence that Bush volunteered, but that CBS knew it when they did the "fake, but accurate" report. If you are calling bullshit then you are calling it on another pilot in the reserve, not on me or Bush even, as well as on the official report CBS commissioned after being embarrassed by the phony docs. I know the post is long, and the documents linked to are even longer, but take ten or fifteen minutes and read them before making statements about something you obviously didn't read.

The thing that made the least sense in your comment is the line about Bush defending himself. Bush rarely defended himself. Not even when he was accused of being a murderous war criminal. It is just not his "way" to waste his time responding to loons, as anyone who has even paid a little bit of attention would know. But there were many people "trumpeting" this evidence at the time on his behalf. You just didn't hear them because 1) some of them were in the military with Bush and 2) they were not Bush haters so the media ignored them. Read what was written at National Review and Weekly Standard at the time by people like Babbin and York. They did extensive investigations and uncovered a lot of real documents, not faked ones, and did interviews with real live people, not dead or fictitious ones like Mapes relied on.

The other reason this was not discussed extensively enough to make it prominently into the MSM at the time is because the main issue was the authenticity of the docs, as Goldberg points out. The majority of time and effort was spent explaining to liberals and Rather that documents that were obviously created using a relatively recent version of a word processing program, on a computer, could not be documents typed on a 1970's typewriter. Why that was so hard for them to grasp is beyond me. Denial must be a powerful drug.

I wasn't going to post, but... (Below threshold)
An Airman:

I wasn't going to post, but after seeing some of these posts, I couldn't remain silent.

I worked in the Pentagon '03-'05, and in the course of my duties, personally reviewed then-Lt Bush's ANG records as part preparing the USAF's response the FOIA records request for said records.

Lt Bush completed his service and was honorably discharged from the ANG.

Who can ever even trust any... (Below threshold)

Who can ever even trust anything from the COMMUNISTS,BROADCASTING SYSTEM, and the LYING EYE OF SATAN

Bruce -Sorry to sa... (Below threshold)

Bruce -

Sorry to say it, but I think you've got a real hard time detecting bullshit at all. The false positives on your bullshit detector would lead anyone else to rethink owning it. Maybe you can get it recalibrated under warranty?

"Lieutenant Bush had volunt... (Below threshold)

"Lieutenant Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam but did not have enough flight hours to qualify."

Reports I have read elsewhere say he needed 1000 hours to qualify for the program.

Did he know that he know that he was not qualified when he volunteered? If he did, that would make it a pretty empty gesture.

Hard to say, Rance - rememb... (Below threshold)

Hard to say, Rance - remember, communications back in the '70s were nowhere near as easy as now. He may have seen a notice for the Palace Alert program, put in paperwork for it, only to be turned down because he was short of flight time, and the original notice might not have had the hours needed, or he figured he could get the shortage waivered. (The military will do that if you're not QUITE qualified in one or two aspects, but otherwise you fit the position.)

I'd say it was an honest effort, however. You didn't apply for things like that just to make a gesture.






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