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Dan Rather’s Attack on President Bush’s Military Service

 Rested on Left-Wing Media’s Contrived Myths

By Col. John H. Wambough, Jr. USAF (Ret.)
 March 9, 2005  

(Permanent Link to this Article:  http://WrennCom.Com/CommentaryArchives/2005/20y05m03d09-01.asp)

Dan Rather's CBS' 60 Minutes Hit Piece on President Bush's Air National Guard Service

Tied Left-Wing Media Myths in with Fraudulent Memos


Response to "Dan Rather: A Reporter Remembers"-- 8 p.m. EST on March 9, 2005



Col. John H. Wambough, Jr

         USAF (Ret.)


Dan Rather and Mary Mapes are still embracing the veracity of content of their 60 Minutes fraudulent memos aired on September 8, 2004 . They need to re-read the Report of the Independent Review Panel “Concerning President Bush’s Air National Guard Service” by Dick Thornburgh and Louis D. Boccardi. For a fair perspective of President Bush’s Air National Guard (ANG) Service, suggest reading Bush and I were lieutenants by Col. William Campenni (retired), my article: Bush and Uncommon Valor and "Bush's Air National Guard Years" by Byron York. For a better understanding of the Dan Rather scandal, suggest reading: "Rather Biased" by Charles Krauthammer; “Political Bias? What Political Bias?” by John Podhoretz; “Exposing CBS” by William Campenni; "What the CBS Report Actually Admits" by Clarice Feldman; "Rather's Career Put in Harsh Light" by David Zurawik; and "Inferring the Obvious" by Paul Mirengoff. 


Far more troubling than Dan Rather's CBS fraudulent memos are the maliciously contrived myths embedded in those fraudulent memos. The hoax exposé (below)  demostrates that the content of Dan Rather's memos was fraudulent. Left-Wing Media (LWM) treachery, deception and distortion laid a solid foundation for Dan Rather's CBS 60 Minutes fabricated story and fraudulent memos. Prior to Election 2004, communications generated by "credentialed media" misled the American people about GWB’s ANG record. As you read the hoaxes perpetrated by LWM against the American people, appreciate that these hoaxes were contrived from interwoven myths forged via repetition (by LWM, Democrat National Committee [Terry McAuliffe], Kerry's Campaign, Left-Wing 527s and finally, Dan Rather’s 60 Minutes). The purpose of these hoaxes was to defeat President Bush in Election 2004 and restore the Democrat Party to power.

It is incomprehensible that investigative journalists could get so much wrong about a story without a malicious intent to deceive the American people. How is it possible that LWM investigative journalists didn't inform the American people that there was "no waiting list" to get into the Texas Air National Guard (147th Fighter Interceptor Group [FIG]) as a pilot in May 1968? (p.46 -47) How is it possible that the American people weren't informed that F-102 pilots from GWB’s unit were flying combat missions in Vietnam at the very time George W Bush (GWB) applied for pilot duty and that President Bush (while in the ANG) volunteered for service in Vietnam? (p.130) As you review the LWM hoaxes below, you should appreciate that Dan Rather's CBS 60 Minutes was just the tip of iceberg of the fraud perpetrated by media on the American people in an effort to defeat a sitting President of the United States. 

"Leapfrogged Hundreds Hoax" Left-Wing Media (LWM) asserted (prior to the election) that GWB was leapfrogged over hundreds of Texas Air National Guard (TANG) applicants to protect him from the draft and avoid Vietnam . There was no truth to this assertion; there was “no waiting list” for “qualified pilot applicants” in May 1968 when GWB applied to the TANG (147th Fighter Interceptor Group [FIG]). In mid 1968, the 147th FIG (the unit GWB signed up with) was under manned by 156 military personnel (130 enlisted and 26 officer positions). Pilots, on occasion, had to be recruited outside Texas to fill vacant pilot positions. A coveted pilot slot in the ANG in 1968 was a LWM myth. So called “credentialed main stream media” couldn’t help but know this (in their vigorous search for the "truth" about GWB’s ANG service) (p.46) but for some reason (I wonder what that would be?) they chose to deceive the American people (media fraud?). 

There were reasons why the TANG was short of pilots. At the time GWB applied for a pilot slot, the 147th FIG was routinely deploying F-102 pilots to Vietnam to fly combat missions. These deployments came at a time when squadron pilot positions were not fully manned. In May 1968, the 147th FIG found it challenging to find qualified pilots due to: (1) stringent educational, security clearance and physical requirements to qualify for an ANG pilot slot and United States Air Force (USAF) pilot training; (2) a six-year service commitment; and  (3) the "danger factor" (70 pilots were killed flying the F-102). A six-year commitment, stringent requirements and risky training (versus the alternative - serve 2 years of enlisted time) made pilot training a very uninviting option - if anyone were trying to avoid  Vietnam

Can it be validated that there was "no waiting list for qualified pilot applicants in May 1968" when GWB applied for the TANG? Yes it can. Four separate entities can confirm no waiting list: First, the pilots that were flying in the 147th FIG (111th Tactical Interceptor Squadron) in May 1968; Second, the ANG senior officers that were in the 147th FIG in May 1968; Third, the Director of Operations for the TANG (when GWB was in the ANG) Colonel Earl Lively says: there was no waiting list for qualified pilot applicants to get in the TANG as a pilot in 1968; and Fourth, the TANG history indicates no waiting list for qualified pilot applicants in May 1968. Even later, when there were waiting lists, practically all applicants were applying for ANG enlisted positions; not for officer pilot training.

Pre-election strategy was to malign President Bush’s military service and undermine the peoples’ trust in GWB as Commander-In-Chief.  At the same time, Kerry was promoted as a war hero in a calculated effort to offset Kerry’s anti-war activities and extreme anti-national security voting record. Promoters of the Leapfrogged Hundreds Hoax were LWM, the DNC, Terry McAuliffe, the Kerry Campaign, Left-Wing 527 Groups, Left-Wing supporters and Dan Rather’ CBS 60 Minutes program.  

The leapfrogged hundreds hoax was a progressive hoax. Once Left-Wing "credentialed" media duped the American people into "erroneously" believing that GWB was leapfrogged over hundreds of applicants, then the hoax was embellished with an assertion: that the only way GWB could have been leapfrogged over hundreds of applicants would be through the use of political influence, family intervention, favoritism and special treatment. Then the hoax manufacturers went in for the kill with Dan Rather’s CBS 60 Minute interview with Ben Barnes. In this interview, Ben asserted how troubling it was for him to admit that it was he who got GWB leapfrogged over hundreds of ANG applicants. Ben, answer one question, how did you get GWB leapfrogged over hundreds of applicants if there was no waiting list (in the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group) for qualified pilot applicants in May 1968? This is a question that needs to be answered by Ben Barnes, Dan Rather, Mary Mapes and credentialed LWM. The Report of the Independent Review Panel validates my commentary. See pages 130 and 131.


The progressive hoax doesn’t stop here. The hoaxers further duped the American people into believing that not only had GWB used political influence to leapfrog hundreds of ANG applicants but that he did so to avoid going to Vietnam ; see my article Coward/Draft Dogger Hoax.  Also, the "Leapfrogging Hundreds Hoax" gave credence to charges of political influence and favoritism which propped up Dan Rather's CBS 60 Minute fabricated story and fraudulent memos and the Ben Barnes' fabricated story of political influence. Note: Colonel William Campenni (retired), U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard served in the same fighter squadron as GWB. See his articles: "Bush and I were Lieutenants" and "Answering Kerry's Questions". See my article: Left-Wingers' Attacks on Bush Are Slap in Face to Servicemen

"Political Influence/Favoritism Hoax" Dan Rather and Left-Wing Media (LWM) asserted that political influence, family intervention, favoritism and special treatment were used to get GWB into the ANG. Their assertions were false. The truth is GWB got into the Guard based on his own merit. (p.47)


President George Herbert Walker Bush stated publicly that the Bush family played no part, whatsoever, in getting GWB in the ANG. President George W. Bush stated publicly that he had no help from anyone in getting into the Guard. For arguments sake, let's disregard what both Presidents said on this issue. 


A serendipity benefit of the CBS 60 Minutes fraudulent memo scandal was that the public got to hear directly from retired ANG senior officers about GWB's ANG service (unfiltered by LWM). What these officers had to say was quite different from what LWM had been telling the American people. Retired Colonel Walter B. "Buck" Staudt (who conducted the interview that resulted in GWB being selected by the ANG) stated in an ABC Special Interview that: "He recalled Bush as a standout candidate"; “No one called me about taking George Bush into the Air National Guard. It was my decision. I swore him in. I never heard anything from anybody.”; “He didn’t use political influence to get into the Air National Guard”; “He was highly qualified. He passed all the scrutiny and tests he was given” “He was a well-educated, bright-eyed young man, just the kind of guy we were looking for." "He presented himself well. He more than met the requirements for pilot training. I’d say he was in the upper 10 percent or 5 percent or whatever we ever talked to about going to pilot training. We were pretty particular because when he came back (from training); we had to fly with him.”


Any investigative journalist searching for the truth on how GWB was selected for the ANG would have asked himself simple logical questions. First, why wouldn't the ANG want GWB? Bush was a Yale graduate and potentially a great asset to the Guard. Second, why wouldn't the Guard select a young man who had already met stringent educational, security clearance and physical requirements for pilot training and held the attributes Staudt stated in the ABC Special Interview? (These attributes were well known by many people). Third, there was “no waiting list” for “qualified pilot applicants” in May 1968 (when GWB applied for pilot training) so why would political influence be needed? Fourth, GWB's pilot instructor in the F-102 (Major Maurice Udell) pegged GWB in the top 5 percent of pilots he instructed; GWB was known to be a top notch fighter pilot by the pilots that flew with him and knew him. Given due consideration to the above and positive information about the flying skills of GWB, a fair minded journalist would have concluded that the ANG made the right decision when they selected GWB for a pilot training.


Journalists, having done their homework, would have known that GWB got into the Guard based on his own merit. Their problem was that this wasn't the story LWM wanted told, so LWM fabricated a different story: one of political influence, family influence and favoritism and sold that story to the American people. They perpetrated a hoax on the American people every bit as malicious as the fabricated story and fraudulent memos used in Dan Rather's CBS 60 Minute hit piece. Where is the outrage? It’s a fascinating story – how is it that LWM hoaxes became embedded in Dan Rather’s fraudulent memos. Whatever happened to fair and balanced journalism, seeking the truth, ethical standards and independence of the press? Apparently, when a national election is at stake these principles do not apply to LWM. There must be a special dispensation given media during the national election cycle that allows Party affiliation and activism to trump ethics and fair play. Fortunately, the Blogoshpere, Radio Talk Shows and FOX News have now made it risky for LWM to continue its fraudulent and partisan reporting.  

President Bush is the 19th President of the United States to have served in the National Guard. Colonel Staudt’s 36 year-old decision to select GWB for pilot training (based on his assessment of GWB's character and qualifications) has stood the test of time. The ANG got it right!  LWM got it wrong!


LWM's "Political Influence / Favoritism Hoax" was propped up by Dan Rather's CBS 60 Minute Ben Barnes' story. Should LWM want to use Ben Barnes to defend their accusation of political influence, they should be reminded that Ben Barnes' daughter stated that Ben Barnes had nothing to do with getting GWB in the Guard and that her father told her (during the 2000 election cycle) that he had nothing to do with getting Bush into the Guard. Also, remind LWM that Ben Barnes was a big fund raiser ($100,000) and supporter of John Kerry and was "likely" in line for a position in government had Kerry been elected President. This is the “reliable source” Dan Rather used to attack President Bush and help validate the content of CBS’ fraudulent memos. Ben Barnes (p.130) is the type of “reliable source” CBS goes to when they want to attack President Bush. He is the "reliable source" that swears he got GWB leapfrogged over hundreds of ANG applicants even though there was “no waiting list” for “qualified pilot applicants” in May 1968 when GWB applied to the TANG.  LWM pointed this out, right?     


The President of the United States and Commander-In-Chief of our Armed Forces served honorably in the ANG.


The LWM hoaxes covered above are just a small sampling of what LWM did to assassinate the character of GWB for the purpose of getting a Left-Wing Liberal Democrat elected President.  Articles written about the President's service in the Guard were seldom written from a politically neutral perspective. When LWM went back 30 plus years to "explore" GWB's ANG record, they were on a search and destroy mission. They were not looking to find the good. They were looking to find bad. When they they didn't find bad, then they speculated, conjured up, fabricated and manufactured it. LWM used fraud and deception each time they attacked GWB's ANG service. Many Americans were duped by LWM. Fortunately Bloggers saved the day and exposed CBS’ fraudulent reporting, and in so doing, discredited the reporting ethics of the, so-called, “credentialed” media. People should realize that LWM is as culpable as Dan Rather. It was LWM that manufactured and promulgated the myths which provided the fraudulent content supporting Dan Rather's fraudulent memos. It should be noted that while the American people heard the steady drum beat of attacks on GWB's service in the ANG, LWM refused to methodically scrutinize Kerry's service history. There were no LWM lawsuits for the release of Kerry's records as there were for GWB and there was no LWM drumbeat for Kerry to sign form 180 - which would have released all of Kerry's military records.


It should be noted that CBS' attempts to sabotage GWB didn't stop with Dan Rather's Memogate.  On October 31, 2004,  CBS's 60 Minutes had planned to take another shot at influencing the outcome of our national election. See Big media drops the mask It was reported that the New York Times and CBS 60 Minutes were engaged in a collaborative effort to manufacture a story with the following underlying theme "380 Tons of RDX and HMX went missing under Bush's Watch"; therefore, Bush is incompetent and the military was incompetent in performing its duties to safeguard each of the 10,000 munition storage facilities in Iraq. This story was ideal for an October election surprise because it would inflame the passions of the American people with conjured up stories of how the 380 tons could be used to attack our population and soldiers; also, the hoax would  require time to debunk and therefore perfect for influencing a national election. Back to back efforts (by CBS's 60 Minutes) to influence Election 2004 tells us that there are virtually no sacred media boundaries when it comes to getting a Left-Wing Democrat in the White House. Lessons Learned: Fraudulent LWM stories should be expected on the broadcast networks and in mainstream media prior to National Elections.

My recent articles are: Exit-Poll Disinformation Hoax Backfires?, 380 Tons of RDX and HMX Missing Hoax and Sugarcoated Officer Efficiency Report Hoax.


John Wambough is a retired Air Force colonel with 28 years of service. During his career in the Air Force, Colonel Wambough flew F-105 and F-111 tactical fighter aircraft. His combat tour in Southeast Asia was in the F-105 and F-111 tactical fighter aircraft. His combat tour in Southeast Asia was in the F-105s with the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Also, he served in Current Operations at 7th Air Force Headquarters, TanSon Nhut Air Base, RVN. He was a Fighter Squadron Commander (F-111E aircraft, 55TFS, Royal Air Force, Upper Heyford , United Kingdom ) and later Group Commander at the same base. He served on the Air Staff and Joint Staff in the Pentagon – and attended the National War College . He was head of the Joint Studies Group at Tactical Command Headquarters, Langley AFN, Virginia and completed his service in the Air Force as Commander of the 4442nd Tactical Control Group and Commandant of the United States Air Force Air Ground Operations School, Hurlburt Field, Florida. He retired in March 1990 – having served 28 years in the Air Force. Contact info:  Visit Site: