Posted by Mr. President on May 24, 2007
We are often told that like Presidents “growing in office,” presidential museums somehow worm their way from the grasp of the Ex and his followers and become almost real museums, splorin’ controversies ‘n such. Twenty five years on the Ford museum appears to be still at least holding hands with the past.
With so little time in office, much of it cleaning up Nixon’s messes, the Ford administration seemed then and the museum now to grasp any chance to tell a nice story. So set aside the dead millions and the damaged survivors of Southeast Asia and recall a happy time, when Saigon fell but America saved the children!
The museum is recalling 1975’s “Operation Baby Lift”, a project to withdraw Vietnamese orphans, or simply available children, from Saigon before it fell. The first flight crashed, killing hundreds of children and damaging survivors by oxygen deprivation in a plane never designed for carrying passengers. But hundreds of others were brought out. The effort was controversial at the time, but the museum is mounting a celebration.
Other issues beckon. Henry Kissinger’s Ford funeral oration broke new ground in creative remembrance, claiming Ford “sparked the initiative to bring majority rule to southern Africa, a policy that was a major factor in ending colonialism there.” Others might recall that Ford and Kissinger’s effort to ally with South Africa in it’s Angola intervention was only prevented by the Democratic Congress blocking it.