...says Mary Mapes to Howie Kurtz:
KURTZ: Mary Mapes, hours after that broadcast, you got hammered by people who you describe in the book as vicious and bloodthirsty bloggers with pitch forks and fiery torches.
What was that experience like?
MAPES: Well, it was terrifying. I think you have to think back to a year ago, more than a year ago now. And no one had ever seen this kind of onslaught aimed at a mainstream media organization. And gosh, I can tell you, Howard, if you were in that -- the middle of the death ray, you would have felt it, too.
We're talking about thousands of e-mails going to various CBS affiliates, blog sites with chat room -- you know, people chatting and none of them giving their names. You know, everybody was signing "Big Kahuna" or something like that and saying things about me, that I was a communist, or, you know, certainly a fool and a liberal tool. And I was somebody who had worked in journalism for 25 years.
MAPES: I was not political. And it was -- it was pretty panicky.
No, of course not, Mary. How would anyone get that impression from an evenhanded analyst like you:
MAPES: .... I have to say, when I grew up, if I'd been a little bit older and if I'd been a boy, I came from a social class where I would have had my rear end in Vietnam.
President Bush was lucky enough that he had other options. And so did a number of other people in his unit. And then he did not -- he was supposed to keep flying until, depending on which document you believe, May of 1974, or December of 1974.
Instead, he crawled out of the cockpit in April of 1972 and he never went back. He had a million dollars worth of training, and he never went back and kept his promise that he would fly and that he would repay America for the investment they made in him.
Those other options included training to be a fighter pilot on a plane being flown in Vietnam by Texas Air National Guard pilots at the time he signed up. And when he was qualified on that plane, volunteering to fly it in Vietnam.
The only reason he didn't end up with his 'rear-end in Vietnam' is that there were other pilots with more experience ahead of him. And that Richard Nixon started bringing pilots home as early as 1969 as he Vietnamized the war. Which process was largely complete by 1972, leaving a glut of pilots stateside competing with each other for scarce cockpit hours.
Bush and thousands of others were given early outs on their service commitments because they were no longer needed. Doesn't CBS News have a library?