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December 27, 2006

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I had to share my own blog post in response to yours -

Yesterday I was going to post about gentility, decency, and forgiveness, and direct my readers to this blog that begins with, "America has lost a decent man - Gerald Ford," and ends with "As the 2008 presidential campaign heats up, let's keep in mind character as something we want in our leader." Today, however, I have a rant about this so-called decent man.

I awoke to hear the report that Ford had in 2004 criticized the Bush administration's justification for going into Iraq, but requested that his comments remain secret until the publication of the interviewer's book or until his (Ford's) death.

Now, my mother's generation would say that that was the decent and gentlemanly thing to do. "Don't make a big fuss. Mind your own business. Don't stir things up. Don't discuss politics, religion, or money in public." These were (and are still) the reprimands I received at home. Anyone who knows me, can well imagine how exasperated my parents must have been (and are) with me.

Is it really a decent man who keeps silent as thousands of Americans are killed and maimed for "a mistake?" Whether or not the public would have listened to him is not the issue, but I know a few would have paid closer attention if a respected Republican former president publicly had said,

"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 he said he was skeptical "whether you can detach that from the obligation number one, of what’s in our national interest."

"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."

Ford's remaining silent on his opinions kept the Republicans appearing cohesive, helping to "re-elect" W in 2004. Not until this past year, did some brave party members begin speaking out against the president's policies and "course" for Iraq, resulting in November's vote to "stop the madness."

Dante wrote, "The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, remain neutral." I would add to that reservation "those who remain silent."

As a friend and a diplomat, Gerald Ford will be remembered a decent man. As a patriot, I find his silence despicable.

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