Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ignatieff; Bush's Useful Idiot

Ignatieff remains Bush's 'useful idiot', a wonderful twist on the old Cold War phrase, despite his attempts to distance himself from the White House. Even in Liberal Leadership debates he refuses to denounce the invasion of Iraq.Ignatieff takes fire over his position on Iraq

Bush’s Useful Idiots :: Tony Judt: Whatever happened to American liberalism?
London Review of Books

To be sure, Bush’s liberal supporters have been disappointed by his efforts. Every newspaper I have listed and many others besides have carried editorials criticising Bush’s policy on imprisonment, his use of torture and above all the sheer ineptitude of the president’s war. But here, too, the Cold War offers a revealing analogy. Like Stalin’s Western admirers who, in the wake of Khrushchev’s revelations, resented the Soviet dictator not so much for his crimes as for discrediting their Marxism, so intellectual supporters of the Iraq War – among them Michael Ignatieff, Leon Wieseltier, David Remnick and other prominent figures in the North American liberal establishment – have focused their regrets not on the catastrophic invasion itself (which they all supported) but on its incompetent execution. They are irritated with Bush for giving ‘preventive war’ a bad name.

What I felt was disappointing about a lot of Canadian opposition to the war was that very few people seemed to give a damn about the human-rights situation," Ignatieff says. "Very few seemed to care that peace had the consequence of leaving 26 million people inside a really odious tyranny." | Culture | Books | SMART GUY, EH?

NY Times March 14, 2004


The Year of Living Dangerously


So I supported an administration whose intentions I didn't trust, believing that the consequences would repay the gamble. Now I realize that intentions do shape consequences. An administration that cared more genuinely about human rights would have understood that you can't have human rights without order and that you can't have order once victory is won if planning for an invasion is divorced from planning for an occupation. The administration failed to grasp that from the first moment an American tank column took a town, there had to be military police and civilian administrators following behind to guard museums, hospitals, water-pumping stations and electricity generators and to stop looting, revenge killings and crime. Securing order would have meant putting 250,000 troops into the invasion as opposed to 130,000. It would have meant immediately retaining and retraining the Iraqi Army and police, instead of disbanding them. The administration, which never tires of telling us that hope is not a plan, had only hope for a plan in Iraq.

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