In ultimate act of healing, Ford left last words "Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake..."

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 12/29/2006 - 02:02.

I'm just old enough to remember Watergate, and Nixon's resignation, and President Ford pardoning him, and Chevy Chase spoofing Ford throughout his presidency, and the end of the Viet Nam War, and then Ford was gone, defeated by Carter. Ford died December 26, 2006, and the headline in the Plain Dealer the following day was "The Accidental President." The news also referred to him as "a healer", taken from the title of Ford's autobiography "A Time To Heal". To me, his legacy was not especially memorable, until I learned Ford had conducted a series of interviews with Watergate investigative reporter Bob Woodward, of the Washington Post, to be published after Ford's death, which make public Ford's exclamation "Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq." This was published in the Washington Post December 28th, and spread like wildfire, and is certainly Ford's greatest contribution to world peace imaginable.

Cheney and Rumsfeld were each Chief of Staff for Ford, and so no strangers. I believe Ford allowed his opinions on them and President Bush to be made public in the interest of healing America, and the world. Ford seemed an intelligent and thoughtful man who took his position of national leadership and public service very seriously. While he did not criticize the Bush administration publicly, in his lifetime, it is no accident he ended his life prepared to make certain his feelings would he heard by the world with the greatest possible impact, leaving his last words in the hands of the reporter who took down his predecessor, to be released when Ford was the most in the public eye since he was in office as President, being when he is being mourned, analyzed and remembered.

This was a remarkably bold and courageous departure, certainly not appreciated by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld or any of their political backers, and champions of the Iraq war. Yet, I feel confident Ford did not do this to cause any of them harm or embarrassment, but to help bring peace on Earth. Who better to lead us to peace than the man who finally got America out of the Viet Nam War - a conservative, Christian Republican - an upstanding, respected and peaceful statesman - a healer.

While there can be no doubt the tides turned against popular support of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the Iraq War long ago, no words of any other global leader could be as impactful as these last words of President Ford. It seems, he was not an accident, at all, but a healer who now is playing a roll in ending a second horrible war. Those who believe in God should accept his words were God-sent, as they will be hard pressed to imagine Ford is not in Heaven today. Bush... do you believe, and feel a greater man and statesman's eyes upon you?

Thank you, President Ford, for your lifetime of service and your thoughtfulness in moving on.

Excellent editorial on this by Elizabeth Sullivan

I'm glad to see others sharing this perspective - in the December 29, 2006, Plain Dealer Foreign-Affairs columnist and Associate Editor of the Editorial Pages wrote an excellent column titled "Because of Ford's honesty, his image stands firm" that concludes:

These days, I have a hard time imagining that time will exonerate President George W. Bush for allowing ideologues to hijack his presidency, for not speaking plainly and honestly to the American people, for pushing the nation into an unjustifiable war and for treating politics like partisan warfare instead of a process aimed at achieving some national good.

It is time for more honesty, again, in public life.

Disrupt IT