Sunday, January 30, 2005

Michael Ignatieff Article

Check this out too while you're about it.

UPDATE: This is very wrong though:

The Bush administration has managed the nearly impossible: to turn
democracy into a disreputable slogan.

Liberals can't bring themselves to support freedom in Iraq lest
they seem to collude with neo-conservative bombast.

The Bush administration has done a hell of a lot wrong - either the wrong thing or the right thing in an incompetant manner - over the past four years. But to place the blame for Liberals "not being able to bring themselves to support freedom in Iraq" at the door of President Bush is entirely wrong. The fault lies with those on the Left for whom the key aspect of any policy position must be that it is anti-American. If they can't get their heads out of their own arses and take on board some degree of moral perspective and responsibility (John "We can't afford to be choosy" Pilger and George "The day the Soviet Union fell was the worst day of my life" Galloway are positively Kissingerian in their realpolitik approach to containing America) then that's not George W. Bush's fault. These people aren't infants. It's high time the commentariat at large stopped coddling them and recognised the for the vicious, dogmatic, morally retarded, student-politicking arseholes they are.


Blogger J. said...

Obviously it's difficult for me to comment on British liberal positions on Iraq, but may I suggest that it's too soon to wax poetic about Iraqi people's fierce desire for freedom, etc etc? I think you're right in the sense that the left is wary about crediting the election process in a fear that this will be viewed as tacit approval of Bush's process of forcing a regime change for less than noble reasons. But to suggest we all ought to be singing "halelujah - freedom reigns" is not very logical either. Let's see in five years whether this Shi'ite-dominated government represents more or less of a threat to U.S. interests in the region before admitting that Bush was right.

I saw a comment somewhere in the blogosphere that sounded similar to Galloway's but different in character - the person noted that it would be far preferable to have captured Osama and to have Saddam still in charge of Iraq, but contained, than to have the opposite. It's not difficult to understand that position, I think.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I don't blog much, partly because if I were to regularly post something next to Anthony's pieces, it would illustrate exactly how uninformed I am and partly because I am in the part of the season where I'm getting two briefings a day and I can't keep straight what I hear at what level of classification. In both cases, I think its best I keep my mouth shut.

But "J", who is a regular contributor to the comment section here has put up something to which I'd like to respond. "J's" comments are always thoughtful and I mostly agree with her but here I take exception.

First, yesterday was a triumph, and the Iraqi people especially and the Administration as well, ought to be justly proud. When you hear the pre-election stories of Iraqi families strategizing the best way to survive the voting process (for instance: husband and wife go alternatively so if one dies, at least somebody will be there for the children or both go together to minimize exposure), it is truly amazing. That is courage. Think about what it takes to keep Americans away from the polls, say, for instance, like bad chicken salad at lunch or a new Friends episode.

Secondly, "J's" point about the nature of the threat of the new regime in 5 years seems reasonable, but it's a matter of degrees. Even if the new regime is more threatening, it doesn't mean this was not a worthy endeavor. Consider we could have better domestic security if we just clamped down on personal freedoms and extrapolate that to claim that we could have better international security if we just clamped down on the small nations where we could. Better the despot we know than the elected leader we don't? No. I think that's a risk worth taking, in most cases. Sure, I'm not a big believer the Democratic Peace theory and it's possible the new Iraq will be more of a threat than the old Iraq (read: a threat in fact). But we can work to prevent that from this starting point, which seems infinitely better than the alternative.

This is not to say that this war is about security alone. I've long maintained that when measured in units of security gained per unit of effort expended, the balance is not even close to favorable unless the scope is such a long long run as to be almost immeasureable. That is a large failing of the Administration - and it's quite possible we'll "win" this war but come out the weaker for it.

But that does not mean good is not served here, and we ought to recognize its potential.

2:50 PM  
Blogger J. said...

And no one is saying that the elections, in and of themselves are not a good thing (despite the best attempts of the right wing to disparage the left). I think all we are saying is that at best, this represents a milestone on the path to a less dangerous Middle East. It's not the endpoint, so celebration is at best premature.

On the Daily Kos blog site, there is an interesting entry about how well the 1967 elections in South Viet Nam were going... see Vietnam elections. Past as precedent?

4:16 PM  

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