Backing another country's war is one thing. Backing a stupid war doomed to failure is quite another.
Before he gave his unqualified endorsement of Israel's assault on Gaza, Michael Ignatieff ought to have given it some thought. He ought to have considered what Israel was really setting out to accomplish and he ought to have weighed whether its objectives were realistic and achievable. Mr. Ignatieff did neither.
It was obvious from the outset that this war wasn't really about some feeble rocket barrages that killed suprisingly few Israelis. It was obvious from the outset that this war had everything to do with the looming arrival of a new American president and with Israel's elections on February 10th.
It ought to have been obvious to Mr. Ignatieff that this war could not turn out well for Israel. There is no way on God's green earth that air strikes and artillery barrages will deter militants from lobbing rockets out of Gaza. The stated objective was not achievable. There is no way that a heavy-firepower campaign in a densely populated area could not inflict massive civilian carnage, further destabilizing the Middle East and drawing world anger to Israel. The blowback was utterly predictable.
What was our leader thinking?
Mr. Ignatieff rashly, pointlessly even, brought the Liberal Party of Canada hard to the right on the Gaza war, abandoning all pretence of objectivity. In the calm following the cease fire, details will begin to emerge of the brutal suffering inflicted on the civilians, particularly the children, trapped in Gaza, from the assault Michael Ignatieff wholeheartedly endorsed. Much as he may try to say these deaths are the sole responsibility of Hamas, that's an empty excuse.
This is a dark moment for the Liberal Party of Canada. It is quite possibly the darkest moment the party has endured going back four decades or more.