August 6, 2007

how not to apologize

Michael Ignatieff offers the world's lamest admission of being wrong in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. To summarize: "political judgment is about specifics. But let's not talk about the specifics that could have shown us that this war was a bad bet (and thus help us figure out the next one)! Instead let's talk about general principles of political leadership!"

Ignatieff also says, after quoting Bismarck to the effect that good judgment means you hear the horses of history early, "Few of us hear the horses coming." I saw a debate between Leon Wieseltier and Mark Danner right before the war, and the basic summary of the arguments went as follows: Leon Wieseltier supported the war, arguing that Saddam was really damn bad and Bush was the only chance we had to get rid of him; Danner opposed it, arguing that the Bush administration would do such a bad job with it that it wouldn't be worth it.

Guess who was right?

I think what Iraq actually teaches us is that you can't disregard means. You have to have the whole thing thought through before you're done. And you can't support an entity as incompetent, corrupt, and lawless as the Bush administration to tackle a very complicated, high-stakes WAR.

Which is basically saying that wishing doesn't make it so. I wish Ignatieff - who has a Ph.D. and a political position - would maybe express a little actual remorse for the disastrous war he supported.

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