Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gerry Ford - Bush was wrong to invade

Bob Woodward posts an embargoed interview with Gerald Ford conducted in 2004. Unsurprisingly he disagreed with Bush's decision to invade Iraq. He scoffed at the WMD rationale and had this to say about "spreading freedom."
"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."
Damn straight. It's worth a read through if just for the tasty tidbits about Kissinger being such a crybaby in private but what struck me in reading this today is that I had forgotten the "important pundits" had labeled Ford as the only president to lose a war. It's funny, but when I did my little eulogy yesterday it never even crossed my mind.

Vietnam was lost long before Ford got there. He just presided over the long overdue evacuation. I never blamed him but then again, I didn't pay as much attention to pundits in those days. Back then they were much more peripheral to the debate, rather than driving the propaganda as they do now in the internet age and the 24/7 infotainment cycle.

But in retrospect, it does shed some light on why Bush is so hellbent on staying the course in his "new" way forward. He doesn't want to be remembered as the second president to lose a war and by hanging in with all these ill-advised surges, there's some remote possibility they might work and at least it will kill enough time so the next president will be the one stuck presiding over the inevitable evacuation.
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