Pssst, Bush Volunteered For Viet Nam Theater Duty, Really!
An outside panel CBS brought into to get to the bottom of the so-called “Rathergate” mess says on Page #130 on an online report resource that George W. Bush had volunteered for fighter pilot service in the Viet Nam theater.
This little known information discovery was first brought forward on "The O'Reilly Factor" Tuesday night in an interview between Bill O'Reilly and Bernie Goldberg. What is interesting about this uncovered piece of information is that it shows to what lengths the producers and tellers of this story, that aired just 55 days before an election, went to hide an important fact about George W. Bush and his military service (beyond the phony documents).
This edited and excerpted from Bernie Goldberg's Between Manhattan and Malibu -
A "Lost" Fact in the "Rathergate" Mess
By Bernard Goldberg - Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 at 7:58 pm
What seems like a long, long time ago Dan Rather was a very powerful force in American journalism. He not only was the anchorman of the CBS Evening News, he was also the face of the network’s renowned news division — the “Tiffany” network of bigger-than-life legends like Ed Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Eric Sevareid, Mike Wallace and many, many others.
That was then.
Now Dan Rather is suing the network that employed him for 44 years, asking for $70 million dollars in damages. Technically, the lawsuit is about a dry legal issue — breach of contract. But it is also about something much more personal to Rather: his legacy. It is a lawsuit, fundamentally, about saving Dan Rather’s reputation.
That reputation took a turn for the worse back in 2004. As has been widely reported, just 55 days before a very close presidential election, Dan Rather and his producer Mary Mapes put a story on the weekday edition of 60 Minutes that brought on the media equivalent of World War III. There were accusations that Rather, Mapes, and maybe the entire CBS News Division had set out to deliberately destroy George W. Bush and get John Kerry elected President of the United States – a charge everyone at CBS vehemently denies.
The story was about how the young George Bush got preferential treatment during the Vietnam War; how he wangled his way into the Texas Air National Guard back in the 1960s to avoid service in Vietnam; and how he was able to do it because his father was a big-shot, a United States Congressman from Houston. The story portrayed the Bush as a slacker. Others have said it portrayed him as a “cowardly draft dodger.”
And to bolster their story, Rather and Mapes got their hands on “never-before-seen” documents (as Rather put it in his story) that supposedly backed up their months (and in Mapes’ case, years) of reporting. But in no time flat the documents came under attack, mainly by conservatives on the web who examined the typeface of the memos and concluded they were fakes.
In 2007, Rather filed his $70 million lawsuit against his old company saying he wasn’t allowed to defend his story because the top management of CBS’ parent company, Viacom, wanted to appease the Bush Administration and protect its business interests.
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  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 made an online check and discovered that while a few websites noted the CBS finding, the story got no ink (that I could find) on the news pages of any big mainstream paper. I did manage to find two opinion pieces about the CBS mess – one in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the other in the Miami Herald — that briefly, and only in passing, mentioned the “Bush volunteered” angle. But that was it! A check of network newscasts turned up nothing. And when I questioned two journalists with intimate knowledge of the story, both said Mapes never shared her information with them.
For the record: George W. Bush has always maintained that he joined the National Guard not to avoid service in Vietnam but because he wanted to be a fighter pilot.
Right there on Page #130 on an online resource it clearly states that George W. Bush had volunteered for fighter pilot service in the Viet Nam theater.
We, at MAXINE felt, the 43rd President of the United States may have been one of the most confounding Presidents this nation has ever seen given border security and Government spending ... at least until the current Administration took over, but George W. Bush did not join the Air National Guard to escape having to be put in harm's way in Viet Nam ... he actually volunteered for combat duty and this information was purposely suppressed because it just did not fit the direction of the intent of the 60 minutes piece!