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Double Duty During the Dog Days

John and I have been posting six days a week since we started at the end of June, and we hope to continue to maintain a pace of 5-6 posts per week. It is August, however, and traffic is slow everywhere–on the street, on the Internet, around the office, you name it. So today I’m just directing those who might be interested to our posts this past week at BAGnewsNotes: yesterday, the 11th, on “The Fighting Romneys,” and August 6 on the photographs accompanying Michael Ignatieff’s mea culpa in last week’s New York Times Magazine.

In the latter posting we caught some heat for being too easy on Ignatieff, which we were. For the record, I’ll reprint my own mea culpa from the comments thread at the BAG:

In the last week, Ignatieff has been beaten with a stick all over the blogosphere. He deserved every bit of it. The essay is as self-serving as they come. So why did John and I say it was “thoughtful”? Three reasons: 1. We wanted to get past most of it to focus on the photos and how they illustrated his bad advice about being emotionally muted. Obviously, that didn’t happen, and for reasons–i.e., emotions–we have to respect. 2. If you read the essay as having nothing to do about Iraq but rather as an essay on the mentality best suited for politics, it’s pretty good of kind. John and I have an interest in that literature on prudence, so it was easy for us to bracket his motives. Too easy, it seems; we got suckered on that one. 3. We haven’t been interested in talking about any of the many mea culpas now being written becasue they all have been pathetic, don’t show real remorse, etc. Because so many of us were right about the war from the beginning, why listen to the other side’s still bizarrely convoluted acounts of the world? The lesson I’ve learned this week at the BAG and elsewhere is that people like Ignatieff do need to be thumped when they don’t come clean. The record does need to be set straight, and not being honest and not recognizing good judgment still are major causes of this war. And that’s why it remains important to think about what we see and how we feel. One problem with the reaction against Ignatieff–Katha Pollitt’s otherwise fine essay at The Nation is a good example–is that we only end up going from worse back to bad. We shouldn’t have a foreign policy conducted by overzealous ideologues, sure, but do we really want a foreign policy conducted by “realists” who also have a bad track record? If we reject Rumsfeld only to resurrect Kissinger, we haven’t learned a damn thing.

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Double Duty During the Dog Days

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