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Sep-20-2007 05:50printcomments

Dan Rather Lawsuit Claims President's Shoddy Military Record is True

Rather says his report on Bush's military record was accurate, but maintains he was made a "scapegoat" by CBS.

George W. Bush and Dan Rather
George Bush during his military years courtesy: Bush's Skeleton Closet
Dan Rather on the "CBS Evening News" courtesy:

(SALEM, Ore.) - The Bush Administration has learned a great deal since taking the reigns of this nation in 2001, but accumulated knowledge keeps leaving the team as the voices of critics grow louder. Another nagging problem is the growing lineup of skeletons in the President's closet, seemingly locked in competition to gain exposure.

President George W. Bush

This team has had to manage huge problems that stem from a domestic terrorist attack, to poorly managed military conflicts and natural disasters. Throughout all of it, President Bush has shown an uncanny ability to weather the endless sea of political storms while keeping his rugged determination.

One of those problems came up in September 2004, when veteran CBS News Anchor Dan Rather reported information about the President's less than lustrous military record during the Vietnam conflict. While CBS initially backed Rather and his news team, major fallout followed and the report served as a turning point in Rather's lengthy, distinguished career.

But an announcement this week that Dan Rather is suing CBS for problems stemming from that story, could pose real problems for George W. Bush. A verdict in Rather's favor would mean the report was accurate, and all of the negative aspects of the President's military service are true.

Many doubts about OJ Simpson's involvement in the murders of his wife Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman changed when a civil court returned a verdict mandating Simpson to pay large sums to the families for the murders.

If a court rules in Rather's favor, his story will be vindicated, and it could lead the President's military record to an OJ Simpson-like verdict in civil court, and that may be a more difficult matter to control, even from the oval office of George W. Bush.

Dan Rather says his report on Bush's military
record was true and he intends to prove it in court

Even if this Presidential Administration is talented at putting fires out, and keeping them from heating back up for years in some cases, the coals are always smoldering under this president. An official ruling that the President skirted his military duties and in fact went AWOL, would further decrease the support for this embattled leader.

Rather's September 2004 report claimed President Bush avoided some of his duties during his National Guard service and that a commander felt pressured to soft-pedal the President's military record. Rather's position is that the story was true.

The former anchorman of the "CBS Evening News," is seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.

The AP reports that the lawsuit also names CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves, Viacom Inc., Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone and former CBS News President Andrew Heyward. CBS was the owner of Viacom Inc. at the time, prior to splitting into two companies in January 2006.

CBS dismisses the complaints as old news, claiming that Rather's lawsuit is without merit.

In filing the lawsuit, Dan Rather alleges that the network and other parties made him a "scapegoat" when they discredited the story about President Bush's National Guard service.

Dan Rather left CBS News for good shortly after the story, and it did not make him look better when an independent review for the network concluded that the story was neither fair nor accurate.

Three CBS News executives were fired, along with a producer who aired the report. His last months at the network, as one of America's longest standing and most respected news anchors, were an uncomfortable period for Rather.

Dan Rather did something that day in September 2004 that set him apart from almost all other national network reporters; he did his job and took the President to task, whether people like it or not, that is what good journalists are supposed to do.

President Clinton screwed up, and he was afforded no quarter for his sins. He lied and was exposed, but there is not a soul who doesn't know about it today.

President Bush on the other hand, had led the country with far more of a totalitarian approach regarding the handling of his personal problems, disallowing any uncontrolled response by the media. Perhaps the Rather lawsuit will bring to the surface more of the Texas Republican's real character, qualities that many people claim to have been painfully aware of for years.

Bush's Military Years

The story on Bush's military record is multi-fold. On May 27th, 1968, Bush was 12 days away from losing his student draft deferment. At this point in the war, 350 Americans a week were dying in combat and Americans watched it on television every night.

The senior George Bush was serving as a Texas Congressman, and it is reported that he and his family friends pulled strings, and the young Bush was granted admittance to the guard the same day he applied.

Bush in the F-102 "Delta Dagger" jet fighter

It was a lucky break for young George, sources say, because the National Guard had a huge waiting list, a year and a half in Texas, and the list involved over 100,000 men throughout the country.

Bush's acceptance into the military came in spite of the fact that he scored in the 25th percentile on the written pilot's aptitude test. That is the lowest acceptable passing grade. He also reportedly was able to enter the military without attending Officer's Candidate School.

That's food for thought for all of us who have had to endure Marine/Army/Navy boot camp or Officer's Candidate School. At that time in particular, there were few rules about the treatment of recruits and cadets, and people in the U.S. military service were treated harshly. President George W. Bush, the son of a distinguished WWII Navy fighter pilot, avoided those hardships.

As Bush became a pilot flying the F-102 jet for the Texas Guard, more than ten thousand Air National Guard personnel, many fighter pilots, had been called to active duty to serve both in Vietnam, and in support of the war effort.

Bush was assigned to Houston, after completing the Convair F-102 training program. This is the time-frame critics allege, that Bush was treated with favor due to his father's political standing. It is also a time when he reportedly had very poor attendance, which any aviator would be severely reprimanded for, according to military law, with few exceptions. reports that National Guard records and Bush's own supervisor's and friends show no sign of him attending any drills or performing any service for nearly a year, from May 1972 until May 1973. This period began with Bush moving to Alabama for a political campaign.

After this period, he was transferred to the Alabama Air National Guard to work on a Republican senate campaign. He was let go from the Alabama Guard almost eight months early, so that he could complete his MBA at the Harvard Business School.

The United States Department of Defense has released all of the records of Bush's Texas Air National Guard service, but critics scoff at the likelihood that the records were left in their true form.

Dan Rather in Vietnam courtesy:

Many reports detail George W. Bush's substance abuse problems during this era, and the President has admitted to drinking "too much" in those years. There are also many accounts of alleged cocaine abuse during these years.

Two years later, Bush was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. George W. Bush pled guilty, was fined, and had his drivers license suspended for almost two years.

Rather maintains that he was accurate in claiming that President Bush skirted some of his duties during his National Guard service, and that a commander felt pressured to sugarcoat Bush's record.

Interestingly, Dan Rather did not avoid spending time in Vietnam. He first arrived in December 1965, and in just a few days found himself in Tam Ky, in the middle of a fire fight. A Marine was hit in the crossfire. Rather offered medical assistance, and helped carry the wounded Marine from the battlefield.

A contact gave me copies of Bush's military records in 1999 and 2000, while I was an assignment editor with KVVU FOX-5 in Las Vegas. I was surprised when Rather went on the air with material I had long been in possession of. It will be interesting to watch the matter unfold.

Watch Dan Rather's first TV appearance on the matter tonight on Larry King Live at 9:00 PM ET.


Visit CNN to learn more about Thursday's upcoming appearance with Dan Rather: Larry King Live

Check these sites for more information on the history of U.S. President George. W. Bush. Wikipedia page on President George W. Bush

Bush's Skeleton Closet

Thanks to Wikipedia for information in this report

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with almost twenty years experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist and reporter. Today, in addition to his role as a war correspondent in Afghanistan where he spent the winter of 2006/07, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated only with Google News. You can send Tim an email at this address:

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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TERRY August 3, 2008 2:56 am (Pacific time)


Dave Thomas September 26, 2007 7:14 am (Pacific time)

I guess when you are in the twilight of life and you have to face the reality that your ruined the reputation it took a lifetime to build because you didn't do your job properly that there isn't anything left to lose. Why not go out in a blaze of false glory bent on obfuscating the truth just a little longer. Your true colors are showing through Danno.

Henry Ruark September 23, 2007 6:37 am (Pacific time)

Q-M et al: I admire your kind and open response, and agree in part. BUT Dan's response is shaped in large part by overwhelming interior forces felt widely across the entire nation, and of such magnitude that even iron determination like he has demonstrated is also, too often, also overwhelmed. More power to those who still drive at it decently and with deep intensity; it is on their efforts that our freedom and democracy may well hang --so long as we have open and honest dialog in open channels like S-N.

Charlie September 22, 2007 10:36 pm (Pacific time)

Greg...nobody answered your question...Has anybody seen Bush's DD214? Probably because they don't know what it is. I for one would like to see it. For Ya'll that haven't served, it's a one page distillation of what you did in the military service. Has the document ever been released? Does anyone know?

Q Madp September 22, 2007 6:54 pm (Pacific time)

Yes Henry, Dan used to do a great job getting the stories and reporting his stories. I remember him reporting from all kinds of hostile environments and he was good. However, I feel that the last few years he's become like many others, reading and acting out scripts presented to him. I think his credibility went right down the drain with that. I'm not saying that's easy, I couldn't do it. My opinion comment was based on what I heard in the media and understood it to be. I bid you all a good weekend! Hey Jeff, Thanks For Serving and Welcome Home!

Jeff Wayne- veteran September 22, 2007 1:45 pm (Pacific time)

That's a really sick statement about Dan Rather from Q. Madp. George Bush is a criminal and so are the people who stick up for him. You seem to have a highly over-inflated ego and it seems clear that Q. Madp and is the real hoax, just a mean spirited name caller at heart.

Henry Ruark September 22, 2007 1:09 pm (Pacific time)

Q-Mad: You must be reading some strange cereal-box to find that Rather "admitted being a phony". Please cite source here, if you have one. Re "reading script", visit any newsroom for day, then see if you think it's allathat easy. SOMEbody has to GO get that STORY...and it has often been Rather right out there on the line, as those in the news-business know full well. By the way, where did you ever work to build that facile statement-style ? You might do well in ad-end..the easy part.

Rob Morris September 22, 2007 11:46 am (Pacific time)

I say good luck to Dan, if you stop and use your heads, no one is going to push a lawsuit unless he has something concrete o back up the facts. Lets stop putting Dan down and get to the truth about the phoney GWB, Cheney, Gang who got us into a illegal war and invaded Iraq. The blood of your sons and daughters and more to come will occur as long as we have GWB, Cheney in the White House. Now is the time to bring about the truth, Good luck again Dan, the truth will and must come out, We then can demand the truth about Sept. 11, The real terrorits are in our White House. The law suit is wonderful lets get behind Dan and the facts and truth will come out, No more cover ups, Big Daddy saving the chimp.

Henry Ruark September 22, 2007 7:09 am (Pacific time)

To all: For record here, we post "see with own eyes" and other references to permit YOUR own examination of sources-used here, and stand ready for further honest dialog on any point you wish to raise. How much more can we do to allow YOU to participate in formation of honest, open, and democratic dialog, to aid us all to reach precisely that kind of decision on crucial issues ? Do you find that same effort elsewhere ? There is no thought here of "know-it-all"; simply honest and open sharing of source and resulting analysis, for YOUR thoughtful consideration, too. ID by editor is necessary to protect emailer for both of us, otherwise subject to some abuse, as experience proves. There is now underway a paid effort by some malign forces to attack, discredit, and if possible seriously damage such open channels as we offer YOU here. Serious investigation is underway to determine funding sources and training for those now engaging in that attack. You can easily draw your own conclusions on source, motive, and participants involved.

Q Madp September 22, 2007 4:18 am (Pacific time)

I'm glad Dan Rather has finally admitted to being a phony. He's been reading script all along just like all the others. So Dan, go get a box of cheerios, and have a conversation with yourself. Just read the text on the box.

Henry Ruark September 21, 2007 6:54 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Dan Rather stated Thursday on Larry King's program that undue influence of government and large corporations over newsrooms spurred his decision to file a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and its former parent company. "This was in many ways a fraud. It was a setup", Rather told King regarding his dismissal after a story about President Bush's military service. A panel selected by the company had found documents he used to be forged; their provenance is sure to be a key fact-determined in his suit. "See with own eyes" at: www.informationclearinghouse.infoarticle 18440.htm

Greg September 21, 2007 4:45 pm (Pacific time)

Has anyone seen George W.Bush's DD214 ?

Henry Ruark September 21, 2007 2:38 pm (Pacific time)

C-Man: Yr dialog welcomed when you have intellectual integrity enough to make it via ID to editor, as invited here publicly, for continuance privately. Your withdrawal simply spotlights yr inabilities to dialog, preferring instead to make personal references of negative nature --as per Bush pattern, et al, et al, et al. Per Op Eds here I do so at invitation and by agreement, on basis of own professional record, published herein. Where's yours-similar ? We have no way of knowing who--or what--you are, and cave man you definitely are NOT.

cave man September 21, 2007 2:05 pm (Pacific time)

Henry: You obviously use this platform to promote your own opinions and not to encourage comments or discussion. You assume the role of knowing everything. It's your place and you can keep it. I'm out of here.

Henry Ruark September 21, 2007 1:02 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Statement below is from The NATION, leading journal of opinion and information for many years, world-renowned for professional and factual presentation. Shared here simply to show that Op Ed approach is both professional and widely-used, as by other journals, including those on "the other side"; albeit all such "politically correct" terms are now useless. Here is statement: For more than a generation now, right-wing, corporate manipulation has corrupted our government, our mainstream media, our educational institutions and the very democracy we cherish. "In this media age of GE, Disney, Murdoch and Time Warner, it's not uncommon for thoughtful, independent students to be called unpatriotic--or worse--even on the very high school and college campuses that should be encouraging students to understand and challenge the failed policies that have resulted in the mess they will be left to fix." All I heard was UN-graceful, but you can count on rest to come soon, as with all such bereft of solid fact to send for "see with own eyes".

Henry Ruark September 21, 2007 12:19 pm (Pacific time)

To all: No apology for Op Ed-style, intended to motivate dialog and bring on unintended brainwave reaction...and here, with him, obviously upsetting cold conservative freeze. SO you pays your money and selects your channel... Disclosure: Working on 5th million-words, some of which was sold and widely published.

Henry Ruark September 21, 2007 12:03 pm (Pacific time)

C-M: Check out my "see with own eyes" documentation, sir. HOW I present it is my privilege, and you are free to comment here on anything you can document as out-of-line in any way. Specious, undocumented statement such as yours shows only "feeling", not "opinion". IF it irritates and otherwise motivates you, perhaps it will also bring on cogitation about the issues involved, too, not otherwise taking place, obviously.

Cave Man September 21, 2007 7:52 am (Pacific time)

HR: Your tone is one of a professor who's lecturing, debating, and accusing. There are many news blogs where opinions flow more gracefully.

Henry Ruark September 21, 2007 7:21 am (Pacific time)

C-Man OR Cynic ? My counter-accusation was to Cynic, not C-Man. Must now ask "WHO HE ?" OR do we have two-facer at work here...again !!

Henry Ruark September 21, 2007 6:33 am (Pacific time)

C-Man e al: Forgery requires scientific and authoritative examination, which is why I sent info re McCrone and method, painfully learned. Interview took over a month, partially done via phone and radiophone since he commuted to London to second lab there. Re Mozart, genius has its own patterns and limitations, and fyi he also had skillful colleagues, "teachers" by example and demonstration, which is best possible way for music. Re "experience",in jrnlsm love of truth and exploration of event for recap to others is driving motive...most sharp jrnlsts, even today, learn more "on job" than at college, since this is craft more than true trained-profession. But that's insider view, for you probably mystery more than mundane professional marker. Without yr bkrnd, dialog stymied; ID self to editor and I'll happily continue, with deep, definite documentation.

S.LaMarche; September 21, 2007 3:29 am (Pacific time)

to quote the Rev. Mr. Black od Kingston Trio fame, as he confronts g.w. at the end of his days, "you got to walk that lonesome valley, you got to walk it by yourself, aint nobody else can walk it for you, you got to walk it by yourelf".

Cave Man September 20, 2007 7:26 pm (Pacific time)

Accuse him? I don't recall accusing him of anything. Experience? Training? What experience or training did Mozart have? Are you implying that only seasoned journalists are capable of opinions about the authenticity of documents?

Henry Ruark September 20, 2007 7:24 pm (Pacific time)

Bravo et al: Sorry, clearing files here after 30 years, cannot locate McCrone-in print, but did find Chicago Tribune 6/21/81 "Turin Shroud Doibt Cast by Scientist" which was Sunday feature from our McCrone report in Functional Photography, professional trade journal. McCrone famed since he also found Yale's famous Vinland Map to be hoax, with same electron microscope technique. Functional issue was thus June '81; have original copy here SOMEplace...!!

Henry Ruark September 20, 2007 6:31 pm (Pacific time)

Bravo: You assume similar documents as seen by Tim were forged too which may not be the case. Anyone with some familiarity knows "forged" is often only "opinion" about original as "virgin". Learned that doing famous Shroud of Turin probe with world-famous microscopist McCrone in Chicago, who found near-atomic size real-evidence proof for widely published story branding Shroud as fake. Could "see with own eyes" on that one !! (Thru his $100,000 microscope-lab technology) that is...) Rather case will nail down facts one way or t'other; in profession, he's still one of top men, many feel he was entrapped by Bush-gang action. By what right of experience or training do you thus accuse him ? Knew him long-distance on wires intermittently, and admired his work and standards then, and still do...

Cynic September 20, 2007 5:15 pm (Pacific time)

What is this discussion about anyway? There is nothing new about rich boys getting exempted from military service. And 80% of the world population hate Bush and think he should be impeached. I think the issue here is that Dan Rather is falsely accusing CBS for firing him. Well, I am not a legal pro, however it seems to me that companies can always fire people they don't like. His celebrity status or contrct might have a bearing.

Bravo13 September 20, 2007 4:38 pm (Pacific time)

Bush did the same thing as Bill Clinton and got out of fighting for his country. My father died in Vietnam, so I am no fan of Bush, but you ultra-Liberal West Coasters are forgetting that the story was based on documents and evidence that were falsified and provided by highly questionable sources, as the experts used by Rather and CBS indicated on several occasions. Using the logic you West Coasters are using would mean that tainted and unreliable evidence don't matter and a person could be found guilty if the DA says "I know he did it." The record of Bush as a president is another issue. Rather did not do his job properly and assumed that he could report any story in any way he chose because of who he was, a man who made many millions working for CBS and thought he did not have to meet even the most basic standards of journalism, assuming they have any standards. As far as Bush not being taken to task by the media is absurb. I travel all over the country and can say without reservations that Bush is criticized, really vilified would be a better description, more than anyone I have seen in many years. Bush will be out of office in about 15 months and then who will be president? The Clintons? Obama?

Roger M. September 20, 2007 2:02 pm (Pacific time)

Why is Bush still in office? What is wrong with people in this country? They aren't worth the lard they eat every day.

Henry Ruark September 20, 2007 1:47 pm (Pacific time)

To all: What more can anyone possibly ask in this one than Tim's clear statement he "saw with own eyes" the damning documentation involved ? Do you really believe that ANY-such record can ever survive elite-power cover to show it was "forged", if so deployed to spin-that ? Where've you been, Jeff ? Surely not living with same everyday realities spread all over every channel, even allowing for ongoing spin we now know is there in most ? Cynic, again agree,pointing up success of proven "Noise Machine" operated for last 30 yrs since Reagan; especially with last sentence, which states S-N purpose neatly. You have to live in this profession to really know its guts...plenty bloody allatime, more so now than ever.

Boskolives September 20, 2007 1:13 pm (Pacific time)

Speaking in Bush-ese, I'd call "W" a Turd-head, but that would be an insult to turds everywhere. And to the idiots that still support this moron, I hope you can come up with a good story when you're confronted by your children or grand children who will spend their lives trying to pay off the debt that will be left after Haliburton et al will have strip mined the country. boskolives wordpress dot com

Vic September 20, 2007 12:41 pm (Pacific time)

Couldnt have said it better, Bobby.... our little Napoleon needs to be toppled.

Jman September 20, 2007 10:53 am (Pacific time)

Rather used forged documents...that's what shut it down. He's at Kinko's now working on new documents for this trial

Neal Feldman September 20, 2007 10:00 am (Pacific time)

Jeff - How much did you bleat your 'weaken the nation' BS during the 1992-2000 GOP anti-Clinton witch hunts? You are completely ridiculous. You support Shrub so you are willing to give him a pass on anything up to and including war crime and crimes against humanity... is it any surprise at all that you are willing to give him a pass on his personal benefits from cronyism ... the same kind of cronyism he practices today? It is Shrub who weakens this nation, not his critics. Ah well...

Bobby Terrell September 20, 2007 8:57 am (Pacific time)

I hope this story will be told everywhere and I hope Dan Rather wins his lawsuit. This coward needs to be taken to task.

Jeff in Minnesota September 20, 2007 8:49 am (Pacific time)

You people will stop at nothing to weaken our nation. Thank God people like you and traitors like Dan Rather are not in charge.

Cynic September 20, 2007 8:38 am (Pacific time)

In a country where journalists dare not delve into the lives and misdeeds of the rich, Dan Rather risked his career and perhaps his life in exposing the real George Bush. Tim King's article is excellent and it's too bad that most journalists lack the courage to stand up to the rich playboys who control our country. The greatest problem facing the US today is the fact that so many Americans continue to believe the propaganda we were raised on and naively place there welfare in the hands of corrupt leaders. Our only hope is with the journalists who are not afraid to expose the real world to us and make us think.

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