Perhaps it's easy to simply shrug off the memo affair and mark the whole thing up to a campaign shenanigan to be expected especially in a presidential-election year. Haven't CBS and its main minion, Dan Rather, always been on the prowl for red republican meat? Well, yes. However, the enormity and shame of the memo affair in terms of integrity are mind-boggling, even for Rather and CBS.

Surely no one who watched the scene a bit in the 70s missed the animosity Rather held for President Nixon. Their tense confrontation in a press conference in which each asked the other if he was "running for something" comes to mind. Later, Rather put out the word during the day on January 25, 1988, that he was going to lower the boom on then-vice president George Bush in an interview, only to be thoroughly bushwhacked by Bush. Rather was livid. Perhaps the nadir for Rather came when, right after 9/11, he blamed President Reagan for the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, calling the Iran-Contra affair Reagan's "debacle" and "fiasco." His inference was clear, to wit, that Reagan bore responsibility for the tragedy of that day, a machiavellian charge.

One is faced with trying to determine the origin of the now-completely-judged memos/letters as false. Did someone in the Kerry campaign contrive the documents and sucker CBS and Rather into authenticating them by palming them off on the world? Or, did someone else or some other group with another agenda? Or, did Rather and CBS originate the documents themselves, never mind the rank amateurishness connected with their manufacture? Rather and CBS are hunkered down now, riding out the storm with their credibility in ruins because they simply can't divulge their sources, the old protecting confidentiality insistence. Some have suggested that a GOP operative may have planted the things, but Rather/CBS would have no trouble divulging that, so that suggestion is a non-starter.

In any case, whoever or whatever group contrived the documents was careful about one thing, to wit, that the only people who could speak authoritatively about them are dead. This also speaks to the appearance of Ben Barnes, former lieutenant governor of Texas and current big-time fund-raiser for the Kerry menagerie. He claimed in an interview with Rather that someone named Adger asked him to do a favor for George Bush by soliciting General Rose, commander of the Texas Air National Guard in the 60s, to get Bush into the service ahead of others. Both Rose and Adger are dead, so Barnes has besmirched their reputations. Nor can one actually believe Barnes would have done that, in the first place. Bush's father, G.H.W. Bush, was at the time a lowly republican congressman from the Texas Seventh District, hardly anyone with enough clout on either the financial or political level to extract a favor from a partisan democrat like Barnes. Even more to the point, Barnes' own daughter has stated on national television that her father lied to Rather.

The infamous memo, supposedly written in August 1973 by Lt. Col Jerry Killian, indicated that another officer named Staudt was pressuring Killian to "sugar-coat" something, presumably about Bush; however, Staudt had retired from the service 18 months before, could therefore exert no pressure on anyone, and has made no comment. Killian, of course, is dead. His wife and son, also a Guard officer, have both said he did not keep personal files. The letter supposedly directing Bush to take a physical, which he did not take, would not have been written by Killian anyway. Bush obviously did not refuse to carry out a direct order; otherwise, he would have been subject to military discipline, of which there is no record, either documented or verbal.

Rather interviewed Killian's secretary at the time of the alleged preparation of the documents, Marian Knox, now 86, on Sixty Minutes II. She said categorically that the documents are false and that she certainly did not type them. She also said they did not even include Air Guard language, but that the language was more like that of the army. A General Hodges listened to the substance of the material over the phone and okayed it, only later to indicate that the documents are false, and that he thought somebody was reading him material composed in longhand, not type. In other words, he felt he was misled, as he most likely was, and on purpose.

This is not even to mention the technicalities involved, i.e., that the documents do not conform to those prepared on typewriters available, especially to the Air Guard, in the 60s-70s. So, what is to be concluded? It would appear, since the materials are false, that Rather/CBS, already suckered, would be more than happy to divulge their origination. What's to lose - certainly not the credibility of either them or the documents? The credibility is already lost. Why take the complete heat when it's possible to let the creep who did the deed share it, perhaps even take most of it?

The logical alternative is to conclude that Rather/CBS simply fabricated the whole thing for reasons known only to them. To the average citizen/viewer, however, the skullduggery obviously would appear to be a ploy for advancing the campaign of John Kerry, since the dirt is directed toward Bush. It's no secret that both the network and Rather are virtual propaganda machines for the DNC and the Democrat Party, in general, and have been for decades. Unless there is some information to the contrary out there that will be brought forward, this corner will believe that Rather/CBS concocted the whole scheme, prepared the documents (or had them prepared), and did so in behalf of attempting to get Kerry elected. Indeed, they are not indicted in this corner; rather, they have indicted themselves by their silence and, even worse, their determination to rest their case on the BIG LIE.