Was Ford against the war before he was for it?

posted at 5:42 pm on December 28, 2006 by Allahpundit

Check out how Woodward’s story is faring on Memeorandum today. Wow.

ford-meme.png

I don’t know why anyone cares particularly what Ford thought about Iraq, although I suppose it’s for the same reasons media coverage of his death has been so intense generally: it’s the slowest news cycle of the year, it gives the left an excuse to make tacit comparisons between Bush and Nixon (Ford was personally liked by his opponents, Ford was a salve to the wounds of military defeat and scandal, etc.), and now that he’s a sage and a saint, they can siphon off his absolute moral authority as needed to support their agenda. Plus, it’s always fun to bludgeon the other party with one of their own. We do it to the Democrats with Harry Truman all the time. If the price of telling them “you should be more like Harry Truman” is the reply “you should be more like Gerald Ford,” I’ll take that deal.

Was he against the war? A few months ago, he told Thomas DeFrank this:

Ford was a few weeks shy of his 93rd birthday as we chatted for about 45 minutes. He’d been visited by President Bush three weeks earlier and said he’d told Bush he supported the war in Iraq but that the 43rd President had erred by staking the invasion on weapons of mass destruction.

“Saddam Hussein was an evil person and there was justification to get rid of him,” he observed, “but we shouldn’t have put the basis on weapons of mass destruction. That was a bad mistake. Where does [Bush] get his advice?” [Answer here. -- ed.]

In July 2004 he told Woodward that he wouldn’t have invaded, a position Woodward equates with saying the war was “not justified,” which isn’t necessarily true. As I read the two pieces, it sounds like Ford thought either sanctions or war might be justified, albeit not by the threat from WMDs; that sanctions were by far the better option of the two (and the one he would have chosen); and that in any case, he supported the mission once Bush made the decision to go even if he didn’t personally agree with it — a level of nuance that oddly seems to elude so many of our more nuanced patriots these days. Or maybe Moran’s right and Ford was just telling Bush what he wanted to hear. That would be neither saintly nor sagacious of him, but then, neither was embargoing an interview until his death because he didn’t want to take heat for it.

As for Harry Reid missing his funeral, unless someone can show me it’s a deliberate snub, I don’t much care. Symbolic gestures are overrated and it’s not like he’s taking the day to play golf; he’s on a trip with several other senators, including Republicans, to meet with leaders in South America. And even if it is deliberate, look at it this way — it gives Republicans cover to skip Dhimmi Jimmy’s canonization when that day finally rolls around.

Update: St. Cindy takes the Bush/Nixon comparison to the next level.

Usually, burying a 93 year old loved one is sorrowful but, I believe his pardon of Richard Nixon is one of the factors that have led to the untimely deaths of over 3000 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in the Middle East…

[S]ince Nixon got away with his blatant crimes and every President since Nixon has skated away from office after having committed overt and covert crimes, we have on our hands, here, a situation that I am forced now to call: “Bloody George.”


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It’s funny…I was against the war myself, before I was for it. But I’ve always been of the opinion that the biggest mistake was hanging the whole casus belli on WMD. There were more than enough other good reasons for kicking Saddam’s sh*t to the curb.

flipflop on December 28, 2006 at 5:52 PM

Woodward is so classless. It’s all about Bob.

JammieWearingFool on December 28, 2006 at 6:01 PM

Woodward is so classless.

That’s an understatement!

R D on December 28, 2006 at 6:13 PM

Ford probably told Woodward what he wanted to hear in that interview. It was a nice gesture since he owed Bob a debt of gratitude. After all, without Woodward hounding the Nixon Administration 24/7 following the Watergate breakin, Ford never would have become POTUS.

fogw on December 28, 2006 at 6:16 PM

It’s funny…I was against the war myself, before I was for it.

Me too. But then if the media weren’t so homogenous a lot more people might have been in favour of the war from the beginning.

aengus on December 28, 2006 at 6:19 PM

Yeesh…reading Ford’s comments to Woodward in their entirety, his views weren’t very different from my own. Namely, invading Iraq to depose Saddam was good. Marketing the invasion as an effort to reduce Iraq’s capacity to use WMD was bad.

flipflop on December 28, 2006 at 6:27 PM

Where does he get his advice? (link to Rumsfeld and Cheney/ex Ford administration)

heh. Nice.

Scot on December 28, 2006 at 7:22 PM

Woodward channeling again. Putting words in the mouth of a semi-senile older gentleman and then editing the tape. Woodward and the media never miss an opportunity.

But, this always works best for Bob when they’re either (nearly) dead or in a coma.

doingwhatican on December 28, 2006 at 7:24 PM

[S]ince Nixon got away with his blatant crimes and every President since Nixon has skated away from office after having committed overt and covert crimes

I’d say every president before Nixon got away with blatant crimes as well! Gosh darnit – we need a leader like Fidel or Hugo!

Viva Santo Cindy! (or is it Santa – Sante…shucks I jes don’ know)

reaganaut on December 28, 2006 at 7:30 PM

Woodward is shit. Just a bag of hot *%$t.

And I meant to leave $#it spelled out this time, woodward brings that out of people…no pun intended.

shooter on December 28, 2006 at 8:17 PM

[S]ince Nixon got away with his blatant crimes and every President since Nixon has skated away from office after having committed overt and covert crimes
I’d say every president before Nixon got away with blatant crimes as well! Gosh darnit – we need a leader like Fidel or Hugo!

Viva Santo Cindy! (or is it Santa – Sante…shucks I jes don’ know)

reaganaut on December 28, 2006 at 7:30 PM

Quite right!

On the plus side, at least we got a Christmas Card from the president.

Perhaps the DNC will run him and either Obama/Hillary in ’08?

Emmett J. on December 28, 2006 at 9:04 PM

Yes, flipflop, there were plent of good reasons to go to war besides WMD, and if you go back and look at the stated positions of the administrations (past and present), you’ll see that those positions were stated quite clearly, over and over and over again.

Unfortunately, it was the media and naysayers who made this “all about WMD”. If you go back to the ILA and that AUMF you can see the reasons beyond Saddams WMD and programs (both of which BTW have been found and confirmed).

Those that say it was “all about WMD” are A) using that as an excuse so they don’t have to address the other points in the ILA and AUMF and B) ignoring the WMD that were most definately found in the form of chemical weapons (in drums and in actual shells), the biological agents (in drums) and with shells at the ready and the 18 tons of yellowcake which miraculously turned into 1.8 tons of enriched uranium while under U.N. “seal”.

But, yes, there were plenty of good reasons to go forward with removing Saddam, they’re stated clearly in the ILA and AUMF.

–Jason

Jason Coleman on December 28, 2006 at 10:12 PM

it gives Republicans cover to skip Dhimmi Jimmy’s canonization when that day finally rolls around.

Sorry AP, you are wrong on this. No Republicans of any stature will miss the opportunity to respect the passing of a president. Thankfully they will not follow your advice. This title carries so much honor that it should transcend petty differences. And most everything is petty compared to the honor and respect we should have for our past presidents. Reid should be there, his soiree during Christmas break isn’t that important, look at his schedule of events. South America is just several hours flight from Washington, these meeting can be delayed for a week or two.
Reid, like many others, think the office of the president is just another job. It is that attitude, transmitted via the news media over the years, that has diluted the honorable postition to one of disdain if they are not one of your party. To you if may be no big deal, and to Reid it may be no big deal. But to me and many others that have served this country and served under a Commander in Chief, I am sorry (and disappointed) that you do not see the importance of honoring the passing of any man who has held that postition.

right2bright on December 28, 2006 at 11:49 PM

Once the war started, one can’t be for it and against it, no matter what the reasons; not even H. Clinton can’t say and get away with “I would have voted against it…”.

No one gets to live/decide like that. We’d all live in Schlaraffenland, the land of plenty, or of milk and honey, or one which doesn’t exist on our Earth.

But, this always works best for Bob when they’re either (nearly) dead or in a coma.

doingwhatican on December 28, 2006 at 7:24 PM

…or when an election is really close…smart, deceiving and self-centered operative who believes he will alter world events…heh!

Entelechy on December 29, 2006 at 1:55 AM

*rolleyes*
Well opinions are a lot like arseholes, everyone has one… well except for that kid who was born without an arsehole in France or something, but I’m sure he had an opinion too… probably on the need for arseholes.

In short though, whoop de do, every single bloody former head of state has opinions which likely clash with some opinions of a current administration.

Wired German on December 29, 2006 at 3:54 AM

I thought the same exact thing when I heard the clips of Ford’s interview. He clearly says that the Bush administration made a mistake in how they justified the war, and then talks about the WMD threat in the very next sentence. But every time a reporter introduces the story, they’re claiming that “Ford said Bush made a mistake by invading Iraq!” Thanks for being the first blog I’ve seen so far to point this out!

thepuke on December 29, 2006 at 8:21 AM

What’s wrong with Woodward? He always seems to be crossing the line. Is he desparte for money? Is he addicted to the fame? I’m waiting for someone to write a book about him, release it the day he dies, where in an interview, Woodward admits to being a lying, manipulative scumbag.

EF on December 29, 2006 at 9:36 AM

Ford probably told Woodward what he wanted to hear in that interview. It was a nice gesture since he owed Bob a debt of gratitude. After all, without Woodward hounding the Nixon Administration 24/7 following the Watergate breakin, Ford never would have become POTUS.

fogw on December 28, 2006 at 6:16 PM

LOL. Using this logic of course, Ford’s real debt was to the peerless Spiro (I’m an ignorant and corrupt politician but I’m great at alliteration) Agnew. Really anyone who can get into trouble over milk…milk!!

honora on December 29, 2006 at 9:40 AM