Was Ford against the war before he was for it?

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


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.”