2006 December 28 Thursday
Gerald R. Ford Opposed Iraq Invasion

Gerald R. Ford was a better judge of policy questions than George W. Bush.

Former president Gerald R. Ford said in an embargoed interview in July 2004 that the Iraq war was not justified. "I don't think I would have gone to war," he said a little more than a year after President Bush launched the invasion advocated and carried out by prominent veterans of Ford's own administration.

In a four-hour conversation at his house in Beaver Creek, Colo., Ford "very strongly" disagreed with the current president's justifications for invading Iraq and said he would have pushed alternatives, such as sanctions, much more vigorously. In the tape-recorded interview, Ford was critical not only of Bush but also of Vice President Cheney -- Ford's White House chief of staff -- and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who served as Ford's chief of staff and then his Pentagon chief.

Ford was the accidental President due to Watergate and Spiro T. Agnew's ethical failings. I worry that someone with such good judgement can not make it through the primary process today - not in either party.

Ford opposed a global war to spread democracy.

"Well, I can understand the theory of wanting to free people," Ford said, referring to Bush's assertion that the United States has a "duty to free people." But the former president said he was skeptical "whether you can detach that from the obligation number one, of what's in our national interest." He added: "And I just don't think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security."

The article also offers great Ford observations on Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, and Donald Rumsfeld. Ford was a great judge of character and more balanced than the people serving under him. Many of those same people made worse decisions serving under the much lousier decision maker George W. Bush. Oh, and Ford elevated Brent Scowcroft to National Security Adviser and of course Scowcroft also saw the Iraq invasion as a mistake.

Also, to anyone who thinks that George W. Bush is a hard core conservative and that Ford was a moderate by comparison: Ford set some sort of modern record for number of spending bills vetoed because they cost too much. Bush, by contrast, supported big increases in spending and provided little opposition to Congressional spending.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 December 28 09:33 AM  Mideast Iraq Exit Debate

daveinboca said at December 28, 2006 11:53 AM:

Woodward specializes in post-ortem "confessions" and says this Ford statement is on a tape recorder. The WaPo should ask to hear this, and the National Archives should ask for it for Ford's Library.

Woodward lied about Casey's confession in The Veil, his relatives told me. and I'm sure he isn't above lying this time. Someone should check this human weathervane out.

Randall Parker said at December 28, 2006 1:53 PM:


If you would bother to click thru on the link and look down the right hand column of that WPost page you can click on links to excerpts from the tape recordings and hear Ford say these things yourself!

stew said at December 29, 2006 9:24 AM:

Oh now the media sees Gerald Ford as a giant in foreign policy. Isn't this the same Ford the media saw as a bumbling klutz always falling down steps?

gcochran said at December 29, 2006 10:23 AM:

At least Ford had enough sense to come in out of the rain, which is more than you can say for the people currently infesting the White House.

Bob Badour said at December 29, 2006 8:00 PM:


That just shows that physical grace and mental agility don't necessarily correlate. Look at Bush: he is probably the most physically fit president ever, and he is a total fucking moron.

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