Gerald Ford and Saddam Hussein

There’s some irony in the fact that in the same week that the death of former US President Gerald Ford is leading to a slew of obituaries mentioning his pardoning of Richard Nixon, Saddam Hussein has been executed.

You don’t have to draw any moral comparisons between the crimes of Hussein and Nixon to suggest that if most historians agree that Ford was correct to let Nixon off the hook for his crimes in order to begin a process of reconciliation within the US, then perhaps there’s a better way forward for Iraq than a rushed verdict and sentence on Saddam Hussein. Especially when that sentence looks set to lead to a significant increase in violence.

If the United States really wants to honour the memory of Gerald Ford, perhaps it will consider the implications of one of his most notable actions when advising other countries on their judicial policies.

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