Friday, September 17, 2004

'News' media: You're missing the point

It's NOT about the memos:

A former Texas Air National Guard official who served at the same time as President Bush says he believes the bigger story about gaps in Bush's service is being overlooked in disputes over the validity of certain Guard documents.

"I think the public ought to be concerned about his preferential treatment getting in and whether he satisfied his commitment to the Air Guard. Those are the two fundamental questions," said Robert Strong, the administrative officer in charge of air operations at Guard state headquarters from early 1971 until March 1972.

Documents publicized last week by the CBS program "60 Minutes" have been called into question by some experts and relatives of the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who supposedly wrote them when he was one of Bush's commanders in 1972 and 1973. The memos indicated that Killian had been pressured to sugarcoat Bush's performance and that the future president had ignored an order to take a physical....

Killian's former secretary, Marian Carr Knox, 86, of Houston has said she believed the memos were fake but their content accurately reflected Killian's opinions....Strong added that he and Knox worked closely with Killian and are in better position than Killian's family to know how he did business. Killian's five children were between the ages of 2 and 19 in 1972. Strong said Killian's official records would have been removed from his Guard office before his family would have been allowed to retrieve his personal items after he died in 1984.

Regardless of the authenticity of the memos, the question should be centered on Bush's Guard service, and what is indicated in the documents, Strong said.


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