Saturday Blogfights on Killian-Bush Guard Memos

First up is Jeff at Protein Wisdom, taking issue with TalkLeft and Pandagon.

Jesse Taylor at Pandagon responds.

Jeff Harrell at Shapes of Days has been all over the issue on the opposite side of TL...Kevin Drum is wavering. Mark Gisleson of Norwegianity is skeptical of the skeptics.

Add the blogs whose opinions you've agreed with in the comments section, just be sure to put any urls in html coding so the site doesn't get skewed. Instructions are inside the "post comment" box.

Update: Bill in DC has interviewed Dr. Bouffard who was interviewed by the Boston Globe. Bill says Dr. Bouffard is furious that the Boston Globe misrepresented his comments.

Dr. Bouffard told Bill via telephone:

What I said to them was, I got new information about possible Selectric fonts and (Air Force) documents that indicated a Selectric machine could have been available, and I needed to do more analysis and consider it." "But the more information we get and the more my colleagues look at this, we're more convinced that there are significant differences between the type of the (IBM) Composer that was available and the questionable document."

Bill says,

Dr. Bouffard is not indicating yet that the the docs are definitely fake, he's just clueing me in on a preponderance of indications that it may be likely. Expert analysis is still underway.

Bill's point is that a major national newspaper misrepresented what its source said in order to create the headline it wanted. Without hearing a tape of the conversation between the reporter and the source, I don't know that's true. Perhaps the source got cold feet after seeing what a brouhaha this turned out to be.

The veracity of the documents may never be established. People need to remember that forensic document examination is not a science. It's subjective and there is no unbiased study finding that document experts are more likely than lay people to get it right. As I said here:

Forensic typewriting comparison analysis is not scientifically valid or reliable. It is not likely to be helpful to the trier of fact. It does not constitute technical or other specialized knowledge. Typewriting and handwriting comparison and identification analysis are similar in that neither is a science. No schools provide degrees in these fields.

Dating typewriting is not a task that forensic document examiners can perform with any measure of accuracy. They do not possess sufficient information from with to draw such conclusions. This is especially true when the examiner does not possess the typewriter and can not test it or determine the cause of the defect. Any conclusion drawn in this area is unreliable, untrustworthy, likely invalid, and therefore not helpful to the trier of fact.

The real issue is whether the man running for re-election as President lied to the American people about his Guard service, covered up that he got special treatment, or bailed early without permission. I hope people stay on track and get off the typewriter issue. It's a red herring.

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