Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gerald Ford- A man of extraordinary courage

Gerald R Ford Jr., 93, who became the 38th president of the United States as a result of some of the most extraordinary events in U.S. history has died.

The death of the United States 38th president has focused the media and public attention on his time in the White House. Over and over again you hear commentators saying that he was a good and decent man.

Ford was the only occupant of the White House never elected either to the presidency or the vice presidency.

He was sworn in as president Aug. 9, 1974, elected not by the people but on constitutional grounds when President Richard M. Nixon resigned in disgrace as a result of the Watergate scandal.

"With his quiet integrity, common sense, and kind instincts, President Ford helped heal our land and restore public confidence in the Presidency," President Bush said last night in a statement.

A month after Ford took over the Presidency, he gave Nixon the controversial, unconditional pardon, avoiding a divisive criminal trial of a disgraced president.

He managed to calm the anguish, of a deeply divided nation caused by the tumultuous period of the Vietnam War and the nasty politics of Watergate which brought down President Nixon.

In an embargoed interview with journalist Bob Woodward the former President Gerald Ford said that President George W. Bush and his top advisers made a "big mistake" in their justification for invading Iraq.

This news comes at a time when the Americans are debating the merit of invading Iraq. In the tape-recorded interview, Ford was critical not only of Bush but also of Vice President Cheney _ Ford's White House chief of staff _ and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who served as Ford's chief of staff and then his secretary of defense.

Ford had the ability to see beyond the moment. He lived his principles beyond the ambitions of politics, a quality that is in short supply in the US politics today.

He came from humble beginnings. Everything in his life, he had earned the hard way. He was an authentic person. He was uniter and a great leader.

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