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Thursday, December 28, 2006

2004 or 2006? Woodward or DeFrank?

In an interesting article from New York Daily News, Thomas DeFrank tells of his last meeting with Gerald Ford and their discussion on Iraq.

Ford was a few weeks shy of his 93rd birthday as we chatted for about 45 minutes. He'd been visited by President Bush three weeks earlier and said he'd told Bush he supported the war in Iraq but that the 43rd President had erred by staking the invasion on weapons of mass destruction.

"Saddam Hussein was an evil person and there was justification to get rid of him," he observed, "but we shouldn't have put the basis on weapons of mass destruction. That was a bad mistake. Where does [Bush] get his advice?"

This account from 2006 differs quite a bit from Woodward's claims and reporting on his talk with Gerald Ford back in 2004.

First though the headline of the article states: Ford Disagreed with Bush about Invading Iraq. Then IN the article it states that Ford did not agree with the "justification" that was given for going into Iraq and that he wouldn't have done it had he been president.

What it then comes to is credibility. I did a piece on Woodward once before showing his lack of integrity, long before this article and this issue.

In it it shows that Woodward will go to any lengths to promote book sales, even if distortions are part of that bargain.

As I stated in my previous piece:

Let us not forget Woodward's role in the Plame scandal.

Woodward emerged as central figure in the leak of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson in November. For the better part of two years, Woodward had publicly discounted the importance of the Plame Wilson leak and had referred to Fitzgerald as a "junkyard dog" prosecutor in interviews during the course of the investigation. He then revealed in November that he had been told about Plame Wilson's CIA employment in June 2003 - before any other journalist.

News of his deposition sparked the latest round of debate about his status at the Post. One reporter described Woodward on an internal Post message board as the “800-pound elephant among us,” adding: ‚“I admire the hell out of Bob, but this looks awful.
Other credibility issues that has followed Woodward around are easy enough to find:

The narrative, reporting-driven style of Woodward's books also draws criticism for rarely making conclusions or passing judgment on the characters and actions that he recounts in such detail. Didion concluded that Woodward writes "books in which measurable cerebral activity is virtually absent," and finds the books marked by "a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured."

Brad DeLong has also noticed strong inconsistencies between the accounts of the making of Clinton economic policy described both in Woodward's book Maestro and his book The Agenda. Didion, meanwhile, complains about inconsistencies even within the same book. On page 16 of The Choice, she notes, Clinton complains about Dole using the Whitewater scandal to attack him the day after his mother passed away. But on page 346, Dole says "he had never used Whitewater to attack the president personally."

Woodward has credibility issues, old ones and newer ones and to use the words of Ford in any way he chooses to spin them, when Ford is not around anymore to verify OR correct him, is a new low, even for Woodward.

Now as to DeFrank's interview, which I will repeat was done in 2006, I can fully understand Ford's comments about the WMD's. With the amount of sanctions on Iraq and Hussein, the genocidal activities Saddam Hussein ordered, which now he will be hanged for, among a dozen other things, were reason enough to go in and take him down. WMD's did not have to be part of that.

With that said, we know that only 10% of the WMD suspected sites have been searched, so although many would like to claim there are no WMD's in Iraq, is patantly false, just as if someone claimed there were definitely WMD's in Iraq, that too would be patantly false.

Until ALL the suspected sites have been searched, neither side can prove either allegation.

I will leave you with the end of the interview that DeFrank had with Gerald Ford, because at this juncture it should be Ford's words, thoughts and feelings as well as his career that should be talked about.....time later for the rest, for now let us show a little respect for a good and kind man.

Toward the end, Ford showed a sentimentality I'd rarely seen in him. We reminisced a lot about the Air Force Two days, when just five reporters and a vice president desperate to hold his beloved Republican Party together amid the wreckage of Watergate hurtled around the country in a twin-engine Convair propjet so slow we dubbed it Slingshot Airways.

He talked about how he regretted that his "magnificent" mother hadn't lived to see her son Leslie King become the 38th President. He misted over when he remembered how much he loved his adoptive father, so much that he took his name, Gerald R. Ford.

"When I wake up at night and can't sleep," he mused in a voice suddenly far away, "I remember Grand Rapids."

Suddenly, the hairs on my arms stood on edge, as they have done again each time I remember that powerful moment. Now I knew why he'd finally invited me to lunch.

In his typically gentle, understated way, Jerry Ford was telling me goodbye.

Good bye Mr. President, as I said yesterday, may you rest in peace.

Others discussing this:
Power Line, Captain's Quarters, Sister Toldjah, Right Wing Nut House, On Deadline, The Sundries Shack, Washington Post, Sweetness & Light, Macsmind, jules crittenden, Ed, PrairiePundit and Don Surber