Saturday, October 14, 2006

When you're this big, they call you Robert

One thing is slowly coming clear to me out of this whole Ignatieff/Qana/warcrimes flap:

In a leadership race, Bob Rae is the one showing the most leadership.

"I think it's a very unwise comment, because these words have a very prejudicial effect, and it's important for anybody not to rush to judgment on these matters. It's obviously an extremely emotional and difficult issue in the world," Mr. Rae said in an interview.

"To me, it's a terrible tragedy when civilians get killed in a war. But the suggestion of a war crime is something that involves the deliberate and intentional killing of civilians," he added.

He said Hezbollah, which fired rockets on Israeli towns, clearly aimed at civilians.

"But with respect to the government of Israel, I've never heard a serious suggestion that there was any deliberate targeting of civilians."

He's the only one to speak out on a controversial opinion and tackle it, and he's given the most reasonable (and, probably, most statesmanlike) opinion.

Right now, Bob Rae's starting to stand out in my view. I also think he's handled it more gracefully than Stephen Harper.


Blogger SouthernOntarioan said...

No kidding on that one. I wish Harper had just kept quiet.

On the other hand, I'll never (emphasis on the never) vote for a party led by Bob Rae. You know what they say "the best indicator of future performance is past performance"

Saturday, October 14, 2006 9:24:00 AM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

I like to stay to "principle" and "policy" and keep out of "politics". 98% of Liberals have chosen their pony already, but - this is a big issue, and right now, Bob Rae is the most untouchable on it. After not standing up to Ignatieff, the rest don't have near the credentials to say, "The LPC is a friend of Israel" in an election.

I'm just saying is all. I'm not casting any aspersions on Kennedy, Dion, or the rest.

Also, FWIW, a discussion with ChuckerCanuck is what led me to feel this way about Rae.

Saturday, October 14, 2006 9:29:00 AM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

Hey S.O.,

To me, I think the Liberals should lose the next election anyway - too few of them are yet interested in renewal.

And a term or two as an effective and graceful Opposition will gave Rae a whole new past performance.

But me, there's very few people I'd "never" vote for (Layton is one).

Saturday, October 14, 2006 9:31:00 AM  
Blogger Gavin Neil said...

JBG - he has done a good job of handling it in a statemanlike fashion. Credit due for that.

I just don't like the fact that it's totally fine to say Hez committed war crimes (they did) but then say that you don't want to jump to any prejudicial conclusions about Israel and, besides, he's never heard 'a serious suggestion' that they were targeting civilians.

That's the sort of slippery talk I just don't like. Iggy made a very serious suggestion that they had comitted war crimes, it's what caused this whole flap, and so to simply say he's never heard any such serious suggestion is crap.

Also, he of course adopts the same tired bromide that the IDF trots out every time something like this happens (and it happens distressingly often, which is one of many reasons I don't believe it for a second). "We didn't deliberately target civilians." Well whoop de fuckin doo. They deliberately targeted a combatant, who was in or near a building that had hundreds of civilians, and they targeted that combatant with a giant figgin bomb that they knew would take out the whole block and, ergo, all the civilians.

They didn't deliberately target the civilians, but they deliberately bombed them, and they deliberately killed them. In both law and common sense, they need to justify why the bombing of the intended target, (who may or may not have even been there) justified the deliberate killing of all those unintended targets. They knew they were there, and they knew they would die, and they went ahead with their murderous plan anyway. I don't think they can justify that, but they have to at least try instead of just saying "c'mon, we're nice guys, we would never intentionally target civilians."

But Bob can say something like this, sound wise and statesmanlike, and Canadians can go back to thinking one side is bad and the other is good and not have to worry about pesky things like facts, or law, or a giant pile of corpses. Let me tell you this kind of BS would not sound staesmanlike if it was a pile of 50 mangled and putrid Canadian corpses rejoining the great circle of life in the desert.


Saturday, October 14, 2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Zac said...

Jason, did you see the new Liberal poll out today? Bob Rae's in the lead. Guess that skinny dipping with Rick Mercer put him over the top.

Saturday, October 14, 2006 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Cherniak_WTF said...

Jason Bo Green, I used to support Dion (as you know) but I'm slowly building toward Iggy.
I've listened to what he said and in his own defense.
I think it's fine for someone to have nuanced what he says.

Sadly, this is beyond the comprehension of most five year olds and the majority of the voting population.

As much as I like Rae for slowing in lumpy Michael Douglas-like ass on TV, I think that Iggy has shown balls.

Some of the fallout from this is that many Liberal party members care more about Israel than Canada. If they feel like that, there is the law of return for them and I'd like to get rid of them.
Both Israel and Lebanon are our allies but because one is partly Muslim/Arabic it seems okay to treat them as pond scum.

There is a question of prejudice here, and in a climate of fear, these incidents remind me of the "red scare" of yesteryears.

Saturday, October 14, 2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

Zac, no I didn't - interesting.

Gavin, you clearly know more about the law than I'm ever going to. I have to say, your "What if Osama Bin Laden was in the Empire State Building" scenario has really opened my mind to the definitions of "intent" and "deliberate". From where I'm sitting, I see a lot of conflicting views and opinions on Qana - I hear that civilians were warned to leave, I hear that there were never rockets inside the building - it's turning into He Said, She Said, and I don't know what to believe.

I'd be extremely shaken to find out that Israel struck with the intent to kill civilians just for the sake of killing.

I'm very, very critical of Israel's management of the war in Leabanon -- especially as Lebanon could have been supported and befriended as an ally, and assisted in purging Hezbollah. I think it was a grave error to conduct the war the way Olmert et al did.

And, I think that Canada could have given a billion dollars of the 13B surplus towards reconstruction. It's more than worth it to support a growing democracy in the Middle East.

(Plus, I feel that a fraction of the money spent in Iraq could have supported emerging democracies in the Middle East and accomplished more than the war has)

Saturday, October 14, 2006 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

C_WTF - hey man, how are you?

Personally, and this is just me, I think Ignatieff showed guts on a) not losing any sleep, and b) condemning the Qana attack. I don't think he can have it both ways, and that bothers me. Both are controversial opinions to present, neither are 'safe' comments that a politician would make. It's just the mind-changing that makes me wonder what's going on in his head.

I agree there is some "red scare" types around.

Saturday, October 14, 2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

Iggy made a very serious suggestion that they had comitted war crimes... so to simply say he's never heard any such serious suggestion is crap.

Er, can't argue that one...

Saturday, October 14, 2006 12:39:00 PM  
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Saturday, October 14, 2006 1:16:00 PM  
Blogger SouthernOntarioan said...

My "never-vote-for" list is also pretty short but it includes Rae and Layton as well.

Hell, if Martin had stayed on I'd have considered him (at one point I was supporting him).

For people like Kennedy I might in the future consider voting for them, but not currently.

Saturday, October 14, 2006 6:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Crescent Canuck said...

My problem with Ignatieff is not his views (either that Qana was inevitable or it was a war crime) but the appeareance he gave in trying to play both sides. I don't know if his views are nuanced or not. A smart politician can be nuanced as well as diplomatic. The Middle East issue will come up again and again as the only thing Ignatieff was right on was that it causes a lot of friction between Jewish and Arab communities in Canada, who otherwise get on fine.

Frankly if some Liberals leave the party over the issue of Israel (and only over that reason) I say good riddance. I never let one sole issue (that too a foreign country) dominate my local politics. Paul Martin was definitely one of the most pro-Israeli Liberal PMs we had in recent times (supporting a US veto on some resolution against Israel, calling Israeli values Canadian values and so on) and that didn't stop us from voting Liberal.

- Mezba

Sunday, October 15, 2006 8:04:00 AM  
Blogger SouthernOntarioan said...

I agree Mezba, that is probably what annoys me the most about this situation as well. That he appeared to play both sides. He's trying to have his cake and eat it too.

Although I would tend to agree that political support should be based off a wide swath of ideas, sometimes a single issue is very important. For instance, Bev Desjarles shoddy treatment by Layton sent many of my die-hard NDP relatives into a rage.

Sunday, October 15, 2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

Mezba, that was well said.

Sunday, October 15, 2006 3:39:00 PM  

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