A Parting Goodbye

I have to give it to Gerald Ford on this. He did an embargoed interview in July 2004 with Woodward that Ford said “could be published anytime after his death” according to WaPo. There is some strangely deft elegant touch particular to this man considered the team player, that he finally have his last word…

On Bush and Iraq

“I don’t think I would have gone to war,” he said a little more than a year after President Bush had launched the invasion advocated and carried out by prominent veterans of Ford’s own administration.


“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, 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.”


“I don’t think, if I had been president, on the basis of the facts as I saw them publicly,” he said, “I don’t think I would have ordered the Iraq war. I would have maximized our effort through sanctions, through restrictions, whatever, to find another answer.”

On Cheney

“He was an excellent chief of staff. First class,” Ford said. “But I think Cheney has become much more pugnacious” as vice president. He said he agreed with former secretary of state Colin L. Powell’s assertion that Cheney developed a “fever” about the threat of terrorism and Iraq. “I think that’s probably true.”

Regarding Kissinger

Most challenging of all, as Ford recalled, was Henry A. Kissinger, who was both secretary of state and national security adviser and had what Ford said was “the thinnest skin of any public figure I ever knew.” SNIP

“I think he was a super secretary of state,” Ford said, “but Henry in his mind never made a mistake, so whatever policies there were that he implemented, in retrospect he would defend.”


“Over the weekend, any one of 50 weekends, the press would be all over him, giving him unshirted hell. Monday morning he would come in and say, ‘I’m offering my resignation.’ Just between Henry and me. And I would literally hold his hand. ‘Now, Henry, you’ve got the nation’s future in your hands and you can’t leave us now.’ Henry publicly was a gruff, hard-nosed, German-born diplomat, but he had the thinnest skin of any public figure I ever knew.”

Ford added, “Any criticism in the press drove him crazy.” Kissinger would come in and say: “I’ve got to resign. I can’t stand this kind of unfair criticism.” Such threats were routine, Ford said. “I often thought, maybe I should say: ‘Okay, Henry. Goodbye,’ ” Ford said, laughing. “But I never got around to that.”

What will they say of Gerald Ford tomorrow?

4 thoughts on “A Parting Goodbye

  1. i bet ford was massaged into E timor by Kissinger and the rite wing cabal under nixon.
    all for anti-communism.
    and you can’t fault Ford, republicans are taught NEVER to criticize one of their own. unity is sometimes a bad thing.

  2. What will they say of Gerald Ford tomorrow?
    That, like most other “moderate” Repukkklicans, he didn’t have the fucking balls to stand up and say what he believed when it could have made a fucking difference.
    And this world suffered greatly as a result.
    May the goddesses judge him accordingly.

  3. Gerald Ford was an honorable man, a President with integrity. He may have been the last one, certainly the last Republican one. Unfortunately he gave us a preview of life with an incompetent President, and that preview should have been noted by the voters and used to refuse to vote for Bush. Ford did prove that an unqualified person can be President without doing major lasting damage to the country, but there is a big difference between “can be” and “will be”. That is Bush’s legacy. Now, if only the voters will remember this and the next time they see a cute man who talks the religious talk they will look further and reject him if he has a vacant mind.

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