Steelcitygrit [in exile]

Ruminating on all things Canadian and political.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

worth the wait (well - maybe not entirely)

Obviously the real issue here is how long this was in coming. That's not something I would refute. It really made no sense in the first place. It only became stranger when his campaign was so completely and bizarrely unresponsive to the public fallout that was being created. To release something now only makes the whole thing more bizarre and troubling.

Nevertheless, this is the best statement issued by any politician in Canada. He doesn't waste much space with a superfluous argument about how Israel has a right to defend itself from terrorism. He rather assumes this from the outset. If we could all do the same we'd save a lot of time.

Neither does he play any post-modern games. He places the blame for the conflict's eruption squarely on Hezbollah's shoulders. However, he doesn't stop here. Instead he recognizes the real issue that exists beyond this fairly straightforward assignment of responsibility. That is - that Israel needs to think of more than simply its justification. If the loss of Humanity in Lebanon is not apparently negative enough, than its significance is expressed purely in terms of how damaging it is to Israel ultimately. This is an argument rooted in real politik rather than human security, but it is done so in an effort to find an audience. This spirit is conveyed in the statements of most of the others, but there is a commendable degree of clarity here.

Secondly, he is more clear than others on Canada's role. He acknoledges our practical restraints, and offers a plan based on our capacity.

When I read this, I see more than I did in the statements of most others. I hear echoes of Janice Gross Stein, Ignatieff's friend and fellow giant head. But, as I say, its content needs to take a back seat to its incomprehensible delivery.


Tonight I deliver a speech to a bunch of older Greater Ipperwash area white people about how the Six Nations occupiers at Caledonia are merely upholding law and order. Pray for my soul.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The over reaction to Iggy being away is just plain "pathetic". I like his views...shows more understanding that others of the situation.

Whether he said it yesterday or 2 weeks ago doesn't matter because unfortunately, Harper is calling the shots right now.

Iggy's gotten more attention (unnecessarily so) in his absence than the other candidates present.......hmmmm - he is at least making the news - the other aren's.

7:42 AM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

It doesn't matter in practical terms - that's true. It was just very unpolitic - and yeah, I suppose that's not always such a bad thing either.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous just looking around said...

^^ I agree. Probably because perceive him as the race's "front-runner." I can't blame the media for that. Iggy, through his very clear and practical plans, has definitely distanced himself from the other contenders of the crown.

Clear, practical, and not just throwing rhetorical questions - these are the things that the Liberal Party has to have.

8:28 AM  
Blogger s.b. said...

Welll everyone else said something three weeks ago and had about a sentence to state their views. Ignatieff was given an entire op ed piece. Why I don't know given he is obviously following on this one and not leading. We want a leader, right?

10:10 AM  
Blogger Zac said...

Mike, I have to agree the statement is bang on, but a little late. Either way, better late than never.

Good luck on the speech, if its anything like the article you submitted I'm sure you'll be fine.

10:31 AM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

"Well everybody else...had about a sentence to state their views"

In fairness, the wonders of modern technology are such that even without an op-ed, candidates are able to publicly develop as long and comprehensive a statement as they wish. I mean, if I'm able to...

"...he is obviously following on this one and not leading. We want a leader, right?"

That's an interesting point, and we certainly do. Ignatieff seems to be travelling against the current and ignoring the trends on the issue of Afghanistan. This, then, is that leadership you crave? You may be right to criticize him in this instance (I'm not sure - I'm not willing to discard the family tragedy story) but it does create a precedent.

11:53 AM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

Cheers Zac

12:35 PM  
Blogger Sholdice said...

Mike, if I wanted a real-reasoned and concise essay on the Middle East problem, I'd go to the library (they have tons of them, convienently indexed). His op-ed may have played well to the PoliSci majors out there, but I still don't believe in the existence of philosopher kings.

Do I disagree with anything he said? No. But therein lies the problem. Why did it take a noted Harvard professor two weeks to write a short piece which effectively mirrors the opinions of Canada's chattering classes? I'm not blaming him for being absent - he can take as long as he wants for all I care, but I refuse fawn over this guy.

I hope to God you have an escape plan for your speech. When you are chased out of the Grand Bend Lions' Club, screaming for your life, Steve better be waiting in a warmed-up, 62 Chevy Impala. You will turn your sweat-glistening face to look at his weary eyes. "Thanks man" you will say, "I think we're safe now."

"Little do you know" retorts Steve, "the chase has just started."

4:04 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

Why did it take two weeks? I don't know. I don't think it did take two weeks - I think Ignatieff was doing other things for two weeks. It's still problematic, as I argued in my post.

It was a good clear op-ed. I don't mean to fawn, and I don't think that's what I'm doing. I've been only critical of him for some time now.

Rotary club actually. I only just escaped. Steve did pick me up, I did say "I think we're safe now", but he responded with "The truth is much more terrifying." Then he did one of those sideways blinks that the alien does in Men In Black when Will Smith is still just a policeman. Man I hope soemone picks up that reference.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Sholdice said...

Don't worry - I've just taken on a new summer job as an anti-Iggy troll. My job is to harass you via the comment section on your blog. Come to Kingston some time this summer. Bring Steve along and I will annoyingly needle him with sarcasm. Makes you nostalgic, doesn't it?

8:19 PM  
Blogger Peace said...

Looks to me that if Iggy passed gas, it would be viewed by some here as a fart with depth, dimension, full of intrigue and worth bottling. For a man whose raison d'etre is international affairs, human rights and warfare, he sure took his sweet time to come up with this one pager, which coincidentally was timed shortly after the release of public opinion polls.

In his long awaited op-ed piece he graced us with his conclusion that the systematic pounding of the Lebanese population and civilian infrastructure will ultimately harden support of Hezbollah and further endanger Israeli security?! Wow, I could have sworn I read something similar on some two bit message board weeks ago. Maybe it was Iggy!

And for those whose eyes were too star struck on the first read, if you revisit the article with a dash of objectivity you will find that his concern, unlike other candidates, is not the alarming rate of civilian casualties, but that continued hostility is strategically contrary to Israeli interests.

Yet again, the man sounds more like an Israeli general than a former human rights chair. He waxes over the tragedy at Qana, and rather than drawing on his expertise and address the apparent violations of international conventions and rules of engagement on both sides, he instead laments that the tragedy proved a "victory for Hezbollah".

He then accuses Hezbollah of scheming to draw Israel into a greater conflict with Iran and Syria and eventually “result in its ultimate destruction”?! Surely he must be joking! The entire region would be turned into a sheet of glass before any plausible attempt at her destruction could even begin.

He continues throughout his piece with the common but false assertion that Israel is constantly being baited into responding to unprovoked attacks. The economic vice, including withholding tax revenues belonging to the Palestinians already ruled illegal, that Israel has brutally tightened on the Palestinians since the Hamas election victory causing mass starvation was not a provocation; the constant air strikes and shelling that killed 49 Palestinians in June alone, prior to the attack on Israeli military outpost in Gaza was not a provocation; the over 9000 Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails, among them one third of the democratically elected Palestinian parliament, 359 children and 105 women, could not possibly have been a provocation.

I would argue that this expert on world affairs is being deliberately dishonest in trying to sell Canadians just one side of the story. But I'm sure most of you Iggy admirers see it differently.

10:10 AM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

I'm not going to launch into a detailed defence of Iggy, because I have not interest in doing that. I'm not going to engage in that ridiculous reductionism which is assigning good and evil in the Middle East.

But I will, very briefly, defend myself.

"And for those whose eyes were too star struck on the first read, if you revisit the article with a dash of objectivity you will find that his concern, unlike other candidates, is not the alarming rate of civilian casualties, but that continued hostility is strategically contrary to Israeli interests."

From my original post:
"This is an argument rooted in real politik rather than human security..."

Open your damn eyes before you spew in my direction, tough guy.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Peace said...

You're right. I was too busy being derisive. My apologies.


12:45 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

No worries

9:39 AM  

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