Former U.S. President Gerald Ford said in a 2004 interview the Iraq war was not justified and he disagreed with President Bush's decision to invade the country.
In an exclusive interview with veteran reporter Bob Woodward published in The Washington Post Thursday, Mr. Ford said he "very strongly" disagreed with Mr. Bush's justifications for invading Iraq.
He told Woodward that, based on the facts publicly available at the time, he would have maximized the effort to deal with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein through sanctions and other restrictions.
In the tape recorded interview, Mr. Ford was also highly critical of Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Both men served in the Ford administration in the 1970s.
Mr. Ford praised Cheney as an excellent chief of staff, but said he agreed with former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that Cheney had developed a "fever" (obsession) about terrorism and Iraq.
During the interview, Mr. Ford also took issue with the United States entering a conflict to help spread democracy. He said America should only fight when it is directly related to the country's national security.
Woodward says his interview with Mr. Ford was part of a future book project, but the former president gave him permission to publish his comments at any time after his death.