Monday, August 06, 2007

Ignatieff is unrepentant

Joseph Palermo's article "Michael Ignatieff "Getting Iraq Wrong" in the Huffington Post should not be missed. Here are some of my favourite parts:

In yesterday's New York Times Magazine, Michael Ignatieff, the former Harvard professor and Canadian politician, offers his long-awaited assessment of the invasion of Iraq, which he had previously heralded as the glorious beginning of a new American imperial order. [...]

After fluttering around for eight paragraphs with intellectual ornaments to obfuscate the fact that he is not going to admit he was wrong, Ignatieff finally gets around to mentioning Iraq:

Benchmarks for progress in Iraq can help to decide how long America should stay there. But in the end, no one knows -- because no one can know -- what exactly America can still do to create stability in Iraq.
Here Ignatieff sounds a lot like Donald Rumsfeld's "known unknowns," and, like Rumsfeld, he obscures the only realistic option left for the United States, which is to get out of Iraq now and end the occupation. [...]

Ignatieff continues:
The costs of staying will be borne by Americans, while the cost of leaving will be mostly borne by Iraqis.

Here he is dead wrong: the Iraqi people have borne and will continue to bear the catastrophic human costs of both the American invasion and the occupation of their country. [...] This notion is just another argument for staying the course in Iraq, and Ignatieff knows this. [...]

Pathetically, Ignatieff tries to play on the human sympathies of his readers:
I went to northern Iraq in 1992. I saw what Saddam Hussein did to the Kurds. From that moment forward, I believed he had to go.
But he doesn't explain why he didn't bother to read about the Reagan Administration's support for Saddam throughout the 1980s. He must know that the U.S. lavished on the Iraqi dictator generous agricultural credits, precursors for chemical weapons, and even satellite intelligence data, as well as vetoed U.N. resolutions condemning Iraq's September 1980 invasion of Iran. [...]

But the assertion in this article that made me the angriest is this:
We might test judgment by asking, on the issue of Iraq, who best anticipated how events turned out. But many of those who correctly anticipated catastrophe [...] opposed the invasion because they believed the president was only after oil or because they believed America is always and in every situation wrong.
This statement is a political attack on those who, unlike Ignatieff, got it right from the start. [Ignatieff is] the one who waxed eloquent about the glories of American imperialism and American power; he's the one who ignored international law and world opinion to further abstract notions of American hegemony and preventive war; he's the one who was a cheerleader for "shock and awe" knowing that innocent people were going to die; and he's the one who promulgated an exaggerated sense of American innocence as he still does in this wretched piece. Ignatieff is unrepentant.

[...] Ignatieff's blindness to history continues when he writes:
[Those who opposed the war] did not necessarily possess more knowledge than the rest of us. They labored, as everyone did, with the same faulty intelligence and lack of knowledge of Iraq's fissured sectarian history.
This assertion is patently untrue. Hans Blix, Mohammed ElBaradai, Scott Ritter, Ray McGovern, David Albright, Robert Baer, Joseph Wilson, and many others all knew the Bush Administration was cooking the intelligence and rushing the country to war; dozens of people resigned from the CIA and the State Department in protest prior to the invasion; over 14 million peace protesters demonstrated worldwide on February 15, 2003; the U.N. rejected a resolution authorizing the use of force; and the Arab League, the Islamic Conference, Germany, Russia, France, China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Organization of American States, and the Organization of African Unity, all opposed the invasion. Ignatieff here is repeating the Bush-Cheney lie; the mantra that "we all got it wrong," therefore "we" are all blameless. It is just a device to deflect accountability for the disaster.

A person with Ignatieff's intellectual gifts knows he is deliberately making a bogus argument to shield himself from responsibility. That doesn't sound like a mea culpa to me.

- Read the whole story in the Huffington Post: Michael Ignatieff "Getting Iraq Wrong"
- New York Times (2007): "Getting Iraq Wrong" - Michael Ignatieff
- New York Times (2003): "The Burden" - Michael Ignatieff


janfromthebruce said...

Great post Eric. Iggy was trying that old group work strategy - "all in the same boat." No Iggy, some of us, well alot really, didn't have on 'rah rah' American imperialism lens.
I'm of the school: if it walks like a duck, quacks likes a duck, and looks like a duck, well it's a Duck. Iggy is a duck who is trying to duck.

Erik Abbink said...

"Iggy is a duck who is trying to duck. "

Hi Jan, I like that!

I've tried to read his book "the lesser evil" but didn't make it past the first 20 pages or so. It was so full of falacies, tainted with an American "this is how the world works" and "the US is the best" sause (much like the latest piece in the NYT) that I was ready to vomit if I had keept the book in my posession one day longer.

I think Iggy (with his imperial view) is a dangerous candidate for Canada, maybe even more dangerous than Harper will ever be. His NYT piece shows once again that Ignatieff is still full of himself, which still seems to have some attraction with some of the Libloggers; are the Libs (or progressive-lites, as I like to call them) so desperate for a new leader?

Let's make sure real progressives expose Ignatieff for what he really is.

Ignatieff is a neoliberal Bush-backer who seems to have very little trouble with torture and war; as long as "we" start it.

That's evil to me.

skdadl said...

Great post, Eric.

I keep trying to pull self together to splutter against Ignatieff's latest exercise in narcissism -- maybe today.

Erik Abbink said...

"Ignatieff's latest exercise in narcissism"

You hit the nail on the head there, Skadl. Thanks for that.

I feel exactly the same way about him and I also had difficulty finding energy to debunk his shameless self-propaganda.

Fortunately Joseph Palermo did the work for me (I really need my time for Uni right now), but I hope it won't stop you.

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