Thursday, December 28, 2006

President Ford: Cheney has a Fever!!!!!

In a article this morning from the Bob Woodward releases an embargoed interview with President Ford that could not be publicshed until after his death, and Bob waster no time in making front page news with it. He says these are not the people he knew three decades ago, that Cheney and Rumsfeld have contracted a war fever, and that he was under the impression that keeping Iraq contained was enough, spreading democracy was not a reason to invade another nation.

The article shows me that 1) I am not alone in my thinking 2) that Cheney and Rumsfeld have changed or become more reckless in their older age

"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."

In a conversation that veered between the current realities of a war in the Middle East and the old complexities of the war in Vietnam whose bitter end he presided over as president, Ford took issue with the notion of the United States entering a conflict in service of the idea of spreading democracy.

"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 was 18 when I traveled from Edgewood Arsenal on August 8th 1974, to Washington DC to be at the White House when President Nixon left and to see my Congressman from Michigan sworn in as the 38th President of the United States, I was a Private E-2 in the Army assigned to the 9th Infantry Divsion, Fort Lewis, Washington. But with 9 other men, we had been sent on a two month (60)day temporary assignment to the "medical research unit" the human experiments involving chemical weapons and drugs that the Army/CIA/DOD conducted from 1952 thru 1975.

It was party time in Lafayette Park right in front of the White House, hippies were hanging from the statues smoking pot, there were so many of them the police were not even trying to stop them. I was not the only curious person in DC that day, by the time the helicopter carring the ex President and Mrs. Nixon left the White House lawn there had to be 250,000 people between the Washington Monument and the South Lawn. I got to see the now famous photo where Nixon was doing the 2 handed peace signs as he left and the entire crowd was giving him the one finger salute in return.

As a soldier I was mixed, he was a crook, deceitful and a very manipulating man, on the other hand he gave the military the largest pay raises they had ever seen, my pay doubled from 200 a month to 400 a month under him. It had to do with changing the military to an all volunteer force.

I don't know what led Cheney and Rumsfeld to become the chickenhawks they have become, if it was a change of heart after they met Bill Kristol, the head of PNAC, or long held beliefs that joining this group allowed to surface. But the choices they made leading up to the Iraq war has just left me shaking my head, they ignored General Powell, who had led the military thru our most successful war in decades, General Shinseki, who told them they needed a force of 3-400,000 to occupy Iraq after the regime toppled.

The past three years have shown us that Generals Powell and Shinseki were right and Cheney and Rumsfeld were wrong.

I don't believe history will be nice to these men, they have done things that fly in the face of the Constitution, and they have attempted to resurrect the "Imperial Presidency" which I believe will come to a boiling point in the next two years during the investigations that are sure to begin in the 110th Congress.

1 comment:

RoseCovered Glasses said...

There are good points in your article. I would like to supplement them with some information:

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled, “Odyssey of Armaments”

The Pentagon is a giant, incredibly complex establishment, budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Administrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.

How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the new Sec. Def.Mr. Gates, understand such complexity, particularly if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

Answer- he can’t. Therefore he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

This situation is unfortunate but it is absolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen until it hits a brick wall at high speed.

We will then have to run a Volkswagen instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.