April 23, 2006

Fmr. President Ford on the Circus of Generals, Rumsfeld.

Gerald Ford 'troubled' by former generals' Rumsfeld complaints.

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - Former President Ford said Friday he is troubled by the efforts of retired generals to force the ouster of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Ford, who appointed Rumsfeld as his White House chief of staff and then chose him to be defense secretary during his administration, said in a statement that President Bush was right to keep Rumsfeld in his post.

The statement was released by spokeswoman Penny Circle as Bush arrived in California for the weekend.

Ford, 92, said the decision on keeping Rumsfeld is the president's alone.

"Allowing retired generals to dictate our country's policies and its leadership would be a dangerous precedent that would severely undermine our country's long tradition of civilian control of the military," Ford said.

"It would discourage civilian leaders at the (Defense) Department from having frank and candid exchanges with military officers. And, today, at a time of war, such an effort sends exactly the wrong message both to our troops deployed abroad and to our enemies who are watching for any signs of weakness or self-doubt."

Ford suggested that the issue stemmed from Bush's efforts to change the military.

"He knew that Don, who had been in the job before, was extremely well-suited to take on this challenge and contend with a bureaucracy that has a built-in resistance to change. The president knew that successfully carrying out these missions, against stiff resistance, takes someone with a certain amount of steel," Ford said.

Thank you, President Ford, for speaking up about this ridiculous circus. If only other former presidents had the same respectful decency.

Posted by Kyer at April 23, 2006 11:52 AM | TrackBack