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Devil’s Advocate.

Aaron Wherry over at Macleans writes this thoughtful piece where he asks the question if Michael Ignatieff condones torture or not. His answer can be summed up as he thinks Ignatieff does not, but his propensity for debating himself in public has led to some accusing him of that. (Read the whole article – its a good read).

My own thoughts on that are this: personally, I consider myself on the left of the Liberal Party, and I disagree with some of the public policy positions Ignatieff has advanced since his ascent to the Liberal leadership. I do think he is more of a “centrist” Liberal – particularly on foreign policy – then he is a progressive Liberal, though I’m willing to be persuaded otherwise.

That said, I also share Aaron’s opinion that he neither supports torture or Dick Cheney-type “coercive interrogation techniques.”, but his debate style of putting out the other side of the argument and playing Devil’s Advocate can lead some people to think otherwise, which explains why this issue keeps popping up for him.


5 comments to Devil’s Advocate.

  • Emerys

    Ignatieff has very ambiguous views on torture and the timing of his pieces and their clear sympathy for those advocating torture led a lot of people to read between the lines. Frankly Scott, I don’t understand how people who consider themselves progressive can consider this guy acceptable at all.

  • Roll Tide

    He and Obama want it both ways.
    With Bush, the US thwarted terrorists attacks by extracting information with enhanced interogation.

    Obama knows this.

    Obama bans “torture”,replaces it with extraordinary rendition.

    With GWB,at least, what you saw is what you got. Its always better to get info first hand.

  • Ignatieff’s coy style of vacuous debate got him into the torture-lite mess. Now if he could muster up the conviction to speak clearly on his position, as in “I wholly condemn all forms of torture including coercive interrogation techniques. Further, I will not in anyway allow Canada to participate in extraordinary rendition and will continue to strongly condemn US human rights violations in Guantanamo, Bagram and Abu Gharib.” You get the picture.

    A little more straight talking on foreign policy in general would also be appreciated. For example, does still support the US missile defense shield?

  • I’m in agreement with Wherry, and have always thought that Ignatieff (while not one of my favourite people when it comes to his devotion to the American Empire)) got a bum rap on this one. People unfamiliar with the sic et non technique cherrypick the bits that suit them. It’s Ignatieff’s conclusion that too frequently gets ignored.

  • Roll Tide

    According to Tom Walkom in Saturdays Star: regarding Obama and torture:

    “True, he has changed its parameters by ordering the Guantanamo Bay prison closed. He’s also banned the use of torture by U.S. officials.
    But at the same time, his administration has quietly indicated that it plans to continue the practice of so-called extraordinary rendition: capturing suspected terrorists anywhere in the world and shipping them off to countries such as Egypt to be tortured.”

    Sometimes its about throwing the left a bone.

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