September 17, 2004

Yet another exciting episode of "It's OK to lie to show Bush lied."

Even for someone who is already aware that Bush served honorably and well in the Air Guard, it's pleasing to see another filthy lie go down in flames. A lot of those mentioned by the Bush-haters are conveniently dead, but General Staudt, of forged memos fame, is very much alive, thank you.

Retired Col. Walter Staudt, who was brigadier general of Bush's unit in Texas, interviewed Bush for the Guard position and retired in March 1972. He was mentioned in one of the memos allegedly written by Lt. Col. Jerry Killian as having pressured Killian to assist Bush, though Bush supposedly was not meeting Guard standards.

"I never pressured anybody about George Bush because I had no reason to," Staudt told ABC News in his first interview since the documents were made public.

The memo stated that "Staudt is pushing to sugar coat" a review of Bush's performance.

Staudt said he decided to come forward because he saw erroneous reports on television. CBS News first reported on the memos, which have come under scrutiny by document experts who question whether they are authentic. Killian, the purported author of the documents, died in 1984.

Staudt insisted Bush did not use connections to avoid being sent to Vietnam. "He didn't use political influence to get into the Air National Guard," Staudt said, adding, "I don't know how they would know that, because I was the one who did it and I was the one who was there and I didn't talk to any of them."

'Highly Qualified'
During his time in charge of the unit, Staudt decided whether to accept those who applied for pilot training. He recalled Bush as a standout candidate. "He was highly qualified," he said. "He passed all the scrutiny and tests he was given."

Staudt said he never tried to influence Killian or other Guardsmen, and added that he never came under any pressure himself to accept Bush. "No one called me about taking George Bush into the Air National Guard," he said. "It was my decision. I swore him in. I never heard anything from anybody." [Thanks to Bill Hobbs]

So, um, how many years did Mary Mapes work on this story? Five, wasn't it? But never talked to Staudt? And that secretary who would have typed memos for Col. Killian was also unknown 'till the last minute? Uh huh.

Posted by John Weidner at September 17, 2004 5:16 PM
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