Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ford in 2004: "I don't think I would have gone to war"

So here's what Former President Gerald Ford told Bob Woodward in 2004:

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.

"Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction," Ford said. "And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."

Well, it kinda surprises me...
But it really doesn't.

Ya see, Gerald Ford was part of the realist old school that believed that a nation's foreign policy should be guided by its strategic self-interest. Realists are not idealistic, and they are not guided by wild fantasies. Now while they also dismiss the idea of taking values into consideration, and they are not particularly guided by morals.

Now once I remembered that Ford was a part of that realist tradition, I could understand why Ford would object to the wild ways of the neocons. As we have seen, being bogged down in the Middle East is not in our best interest. Losing the goodwill of the entire world is not in our best interest. Beginning a civil war in another country is not in our best interest...

It is just too bad that Bob Woodward sat on this interview for the last two and a half years. Now yes, I understand that Ford wanted this under wraps until he died...
But still, why should a reporter be complicit in saving face for a failed administration via silence? Was he just saving materials for his new book, as Nitpicker suggests? Was he helping Ford save face for the GOP?

While on one hand, I appreciate Ford's willingness to call out Bush & Co. for their unrealistic fantasies of hegemony over the Middle East, and Woodward sharing this with us now...

But why couldn't they just share this with us two and a half years ago, when we had a chance to give Bush & Co. a real "accountability moment"?

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