Phony Bush Letter More Than a Lie

The secretary of a now-deceased man who oversaw President Bush's service in the National Guard (search) says even though the letter sent to CBS is phony, the stuff it said was true.

In other words, the question seems to be... does it matter that someone thinks it's OK to forge a dead man's name on a phony letter to smear a sitting president during a dead heat, neck-and-neck presidential campaign?

CBS and Dan Rather (search) don't think it matters. They think if the 86-year-old secretary is there to testify that she thought young Bush didn't think the rules applied to him, well good enough... no need to worry about who is going around forging letters of dead men.

Well, let's all make our own judgment about whether that matters so much in today's war on terror.

But I think it does matter if the charges against the president are carried by people who think forgery is OK.

For one thing, it's a criminal act. For another, it's way different than saying — as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (search) did — "I served with John Kerry (search)," when they meant they were assigned to the same river as Kerry in the same year.

That is a stretch. The phony letter is a lie and a crime.