His support for the Iraq war is not as easy to explain as torture, but let me first ask two questions: Is that foreign war a litmus test against which all other Canadian policy issues become irrelevant? If someone supports an endeavour that the Americans also support, does it matter if the reasons are different? My answers: no and absolutely yes.Both these questions are important, but Cerberus is wrong on both.
First of all, yes, the Iraq War needs to be a litmus test for a Liberal leader. Not because other issues are unimportant, but because this was, quite simply, a no-brainer. Before the war began, it was clear that this would end badly. I keep banging away at this, and I understand that some people refuse to see it, but all the same: The anti-war crowd didn't turn out correct by accident. We saw the same evidence as everyone else, we were just smarter. We were right. Ignatieff - and everyone who backed this war - was wrong. Period. Full stop. Give it up already.
If I can't expect Ignatieff to make the right decision in a case as morally and practically simple as the Iraq War, why on Earth should I expect him to make the right choice about taxes? Welfare? Daycare? Health care? Nevermind laws and security. The choice before the war began was simple - either you were for an aggressive war sold on lies, or you were against it.
Ignatieff was for it. If he wants a future in politics, let him run for the Conservatives.
The second question is also important - Cerberus is trying to excuse Ignatieff's support of the war because Ignatieff isn't Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld. Fine, I'm sure Ignatieff honestly believed that his support for the war was based entirely on his belief in human rights. This makes him naive, not evil. If Ignatieff thought George Bush was both interested in defending Iraq rights, and competent to do so, than Ignatieff was even wronger than I imagine.
Once again, the anti-war crowd saw quite clearly that the war would be objectively worse for Iraqis. Even if Iraq had been "liberated" without a civil war, it was clear (again, before the war began) that the result would be a more Islamicized, Shia-run state. How Ignatieff could possibly believe this would lead to a net increase in human rights is beyond me.
There's more than enough reasons to oppose Ignatieff aside from his moral ineptitude - to but it bluntly, he's a crappy politician. Moreover, I don't share Cerberus' belief that Canada needs a new philosopher-king. Ignatieff can never be the new Trudeau, even if we wanted one. (What we seem to forget is that Trudeau was able to be intellectual without being academic. I have yet to see Ignatieff master this.) We mock politicians, but to paraphrase Jack Nicholson, that's because we can't handle the truth - we want those same politicians. Ignatieff would be a bad Liberal leader because he will lose any election he leads them in to.
I'm sure he'll manage to weasel his way in to Cabinet somehow. I just hope it's as Gerald Kennedy's Minister of Justice.