WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- In a 2004 interview held for publication after his death, former U.S. President Gerald Ford said the Iraq war was not justified.
"I don't think I would have gone to war," Ford told the Washington Post more than one year after President George W. Bush ordered the invasion.
In a four-hour conversation at his home in Beaver Creek, Colo., Ford said he "very strongly" disagreed with Bush's rationale for attacking Iraq, and said he would have pursued other approaches, such as sanctions, more vigorously.
Ford also criticized Vice President Dick Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for their role in the war. Cheney served as White House chief of staff under Ford, and Rumsfeld also served as Ford's chief of staff and defense secretary.
"Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction," Ford said. "And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."