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Thursday, September 09, 2004

Twenty-four hours of loathing the way things are

I didn't watch last night's "60 Minutes" with Dan Rather's story about the former Texas official who supposedly pulled strings to get young George W. Bush out of serving in Vietnam. But I've followed the aftermath on and off throughout the day: enough to know that old IBM Selectric typewriters are about to become as synonymous with this presidency as paper shredders were to Reagan's, what broccoli was to Bush the First and what cigars have been to Clinton.

As everyone who's a nut for this sort of thing knows by now, the interview with Ben Barnes was a red herring for the REAL supposed bombshell: documents from the files of the late Jerry Killian, who as a colonel in the Texas Air National Guard in the early 1970s was squadron commander of Bush's unit. The memos that CBS News is said to have obtained show Killian praising Bush, then ordering him to submit to a physical examination, then suspending him for failing to follow a direct order. And then complaining that he did not like showing favoritism toward the young Bush at the behest of others. It is this final memo that has come under fire for its dubious origins.

If the documents are real, Bush should face up to it, come clean before the American people and admit that he got away with doing some things that a young man at the time from less fortunate circumstances would probably have never gotten away with, and let the people make a judgement on him. If the documents are forgeries, CBS News should own up to it and somewhere, the appropriate heads should roll. If Dan Rather himself knew about them being forgeries all along, he should admit to it on live television before an audience of millions and then - both for himself and his chosen professoin - do the honorable thing and resign from CBS News. He would at least be thankful that CBS was not owned by Japanese management that would have recommended he perform on-air seppuku.

I've let my feelings for Bush be known already: I can't vote for the guy because I don't trust him, on the basis of a lot of things. But I damned well don't want to see him - or anyone else for that matter - suffer injury in the arena of ideas when the ideas being leveraged against him have nothing but a fraudulent foundation beneath them.

I'm probably going to write more about this later, but in all honesty I would feel disgusted either way - if Bush had rigged the system so that he wouldn't have to serve in Vietnam as others were being made to, or if this whole thing was a con by a major television network - were it not for the fact that at this point I couldn't care less. I'm too exhausted by everything that's happened leading up to this election to really give a damn anymore about which one between Bush and Kerry may or may not win. I know that realistically one of them is going to win this year, but that doesn't obligate me to believe that one of them deserves it more than the other... because despite what the mobs around me demand that I buy into, neither one of them deserves to be President of the United States.

Will pour out my frustration on this subject later. I'm going to watch my DVD of "Hellboy" in the meantime.