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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Hand Ignatieff his hat 

If he survives the nomination, I hope the voters of Etobicoke-Lakeshore hand Michael Ignatieff his hat.
This is NOT a fellow who should be sitting in our House of Commons, not at a Liberal at least. His writings may have been insulting to Ukrainians -- I'm not sure of the larger context for a sentence like "Ukrainian independence conjures up images of peasant embroidered shirts, the nasal whine of ethnic instruments, phony Cossacks in cloaks and boots . . ." so perhaps he can actually claim the benefit of the doubt -- but certainly his other writings are offensive to me.
This July, 2005 article "Exporting Democracy, Revising Torture: The Complex Missions of Michael Ignatieff" exposes the moral bankruptcy of this man.
Torture? Well, that's OK really, because its necessary, and its just human nature anyway:
"the issue then becomes not whether torture can be prevented, but whether it can be regulated". [Ignatieff] goes even further, and seems to like the idea that when the police need to torture a suspect they could apply to a judge for a 'torture warrant' that would specify the individual being tortured and set limits to the type and duration of pain allowed . . . "The problem is to . . . maintain the limits, case by case, where reasonable people may disagree as to what constitutes torture, what detentions are illegal, which killings depart from lawful norms, or which pre-emptive actions constitute aggression." . . . we know what torture is. From the Spanish inquisition, from the Nazi era, from Augusto Pinochet in Chile, from the apartheid police in South Africa, from Antonio Salazar in Portugal and Francisco Franco in Spain, from Mobutu Sese-Soko in Zaire and now from those digital snapshots of Abu Ghraib, all 'reasonable people' know what torture is. The United Nations charter and half a century of juridical development inside and outside the UN have showed us in detail what torture is, and the rights that we have and must protect. Ignatieff, apparently speaking from some distant world, tells us that, yes, the repressive instincts of the executive power and the security forces should be counterbalanced by the judicial system . . .
The Bush administration, the neocons, the Republicans in general? Just wonderful folks, really, because their hearts are in the right place:
He attacks Europeans as anti-democratic and selfish. He criticises John Kerry as a “risk-avoiding realist” . . . he enthusiastically praises Ronald Reagan, “who began the realignment of American politics, making the Republicans into internationalist Jeffersonians”. For him, “the emergence of democracy promotion as a central goal of United States foreign policy” started with Reagan. Somehow, the director of the Carr Center fails to mention the effects of the Reagan doctrine in Central America and Africa, the Iran-Contra affair, the illegal attacks on Nicaragua and the promotion of the freedom fighters in Afghanistan – a policy with powerful consequences in today’s terrorism. Ignatieff has no historical context. Fatally attracted by the style of instant journalism, he frivolously mixes history and propaganda. . . . Ignatieff does not even know about the country he lives in. He has “an imagined community” in his mind, a homogenous and coherent American society embodying Jeffersonian ideals. And he dreams of a fair and normal electoral process: “Judging from the results of the election in 2004, a majority of Americans do not want to be told that Jefferson was wrong.” US society, with its deep fragmentations and its millions of immigrants whose hearts and minds are in the Dominican Republic, Russia, Honduras or India, has a diversity that mocks such generalisations as “the American electorate seems to know only too well how high the price was in Iraq, and it still chose the gambler (Bush) over the realist (Kerry). In 2004, the Jefferson dream won decisively over American prudence.” It may be difficult to explain all the reasons behind last year’s presidential vote, but we can be sure of this: not many people voted for democratic ideals in the middle east. . . . Ignatieff chooses to applaud a government that goes to war in defiance of the Security Council, that actively promotes the failure of the United Nations, that refuses to sign international treaties, that opts out of international justice and that ignores human rights in prisons – a government that is violating rather than promoting the Jeffersonian dream. In his militaristic patriotism, Ignatieff is blind and wrong.
Please, Etobicoke-Lakeshore, save us from this guy. Or else we will all have to listen to him pontificate during Question Period day after day.
And he probably expects a cabinet post, too. Gag me with a spoon.

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