Today's Blogs

Ford’s End

Bloggers eulogize Gerald Ford, fret about captured Iranians in Iraq, and shed no tears over the imminent snuffing of Saddam Hussein.

Ford’s end: Former President Gerald Ford has died at the age of 93. Most obituaries treat his pardon of Richard Nixon as the defining and most fractious moment of his presidency, though assessments of Ford in cyberspace have been overwhelmingly kind.

Righty Allah Pundit at Hot Air calls Ford the “best president of the 1970’s” and adds, “By all accounts he was a decent and genuine man. He survived two assassination attempts and relentless mocking by Chevy Chase, who portrayed him as hopelessly clumsy (even though he was quite athletic and a college football star). … His was a thankless job, cleaning up after Nixon and then inevitably turning over the country to the tender mercies of Carter. He did it well, and we thank him for it. RIP.”

Jonathan Singer at “people-powered” lefty blog MyDD is on board with the charitable eulogizers: “In hindsight, his decision to pardon his predecessor, Richard Nixon, appears to have been the right one, even if at the time it cost him politically. And although he was thoroughly a conservative, he seems to have been someone who treated his political adversaries with respect and genuinely fought to better America.”

However, conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters believes the Nixon pardon was the defining mistake of Ford’s presidency: “Ford had good and understandable reasons for his decision, but it did short-circuit the one quality about America that had always made us different from other nations: our leaders were not above the law. … [W]e lost that sense of ourselves as a nation bound by its dedication to the Constitution and the rule of law. At that time, we needed a way to bind ourselves back to that to restore a national identity in which all could share.”

At The Duck of Minerva, Peter Howard, a professor at American University, writes that the Ford presidency notably “began the era of intelligence oversight by issuing Executive Order 11905. The order is perhaps most famous for its ban on assassination by US government agencies. Since their founding in the early years of the Cold War, the US intelligence agencies, notably the CIA and NSA, gave themselves a wide mandated to fight the Cold War.”

Read more about Gerald Ford’s death.

Seized Iranians: A group of Iranians—including two diplomats—were captured by U.S. forces in Iraq on Christmas Eve after a series of stunning raids, including one on the compound of the leader of the Badr Organization, the armed wing of the largest Shiite political party in Iraq. Four Iranians, identified by the White House as “senior military officials,” are still in custody, causing ripples of embarrassment throughout Baghdad, which has lately been working to improve Iranian-Iraqi relations.

Righty Michael Ledeen at Faster, Please! thinks the Bush administration’s all-too-deferential attitude toward the Maliki-Talabani regime has got to stop: “[D]umping responsibility for dealing with Iran in the quivering laps of the Iraqi leaders is precisely the wrong thing to do. We have to lead this war, we have to go after the Iranians. Otherwise, surge or no surge, fifty or a hundred thousand troops more or less, we’re gonna lose.”

Responding to a Monday news report that said Iran’s foreign minister is getting righteous about “international regulations,” conservative Daniel Freedman at the New York Sun’s It Shines For All submits: “It should be the Iraqi government and the American government that is demanding serious answers from the Iranians. The presence of these Iranians is even more evidence of Tehran’s attempts to destabilize Iraq, as shocking as that might be to James Baker and co. It’s quite the act of chutzpah for the Iranians to try to pretend that these men are diplomats.”

Former New Republic writer and outspoken war critic Spencer Ackerman comments from his blog Too Hot for TNR Online about the opportunity for Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, an insurgent group: “Now, if I’m Hakim, I seize this opportunity. I denounce the U.S. aggression, demand the release of all Iranian detainees, proclaim my desire for a new era of peaceful coexistence with Iran, etc. Maybe I even demand an American apology. Through the other side of my mouth I tell Washington not to worry; and that if they’re for-reals about promoting me as an alternative to Moqtada, I need this to gain some street cred. And if any Sunnis are upset about my closeness with Iran—well, fuck the Sunnis; they don’t vote for us anyway.”

Read more about the Iranians seized in Iraq.

The executioner’s song: Saddam Hussein could be hanged at any time during the next 30 days, an Iraqi appeals court decided today. A prison letter from the man himself, written in hot reaction to the verdict, calls the coming execution an exercise in martyr-making.

GOP Vixen Bridget Johnson argues that “[t]he hanging of Saddam SHOULD NOT take place in U.S. military facilities (unless you want to make the twit a martyr)! Let his sentence be carried out solely by Iraqis in Iraqi facilities.”

Grace at liberal site The Reaction—by Michael J. Stickings sticks to her anti-death-penalty principle: “Some critics have called the sentencing a ‘victors’ justice’. I won’t and can’t defend the actions of Saddam Hussein in any way: There is no excusing the violation of human rights and the killing of innocent human beings. However, I stand in opposition of the death penalty, so I cannot and will not defend this sentence either.”

Read more about Saddam’s imminent hanging.