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Monday, January 26, 2009

Haroon Siddiqui: An Obama dilemma for Harper, Ignatieff

What a difference one man can make! But Obama is not just one man. He is only the chosen instrument of the will of the voters. American democracy works slowly but it does work, at least for Americans, if not for the millions of dead, maimed and displaced Iraqis, Afghans and others.

For Canadians, it has been a matter of conjecture as to why Harper backed Bush to the hilt.

He may have done so for the pragmatic reason of preserving our bilateral relations and trade. If so, he should be doing a 180-degree turn and saluting the new president in the service of that very cause.

If, however, he backed Bush as an ideologue himself, Harper should be squirming, now that his neo-con comrades stand repudiated and the entire edifice of their war on terror dismantled.

Ignatieff was an active enabler of the war on Iraq, an articulate apologist for Bush's American Empire Lite and a strong advocate for aggressive interrogation techniques that Obama just abolished, leaving no room for sophistry as to what does or does not constitute torture.

Ignatieff also fully backed Harper-Bush on the Israeli onslaught on Gaza. During the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, he had accused Israel of committing a war crime, only to reverse himself and has been trying ever since to undo the damage. This has raised doubts about both his judgment and the sincerity of his support for Israel.


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