Thursday, July 28, 2005

First The Wings, Then The Legs

Iraqi women get the treatment. Again.

It wasn't bad enough they were raped, beaten, tortured and killed, or watched their loved ones be, under Hussein. It wasn't bad enough that they were bombed, shot at, blown up, jailed, or watched their loved ones be, under the Occupation. It wasn't bad enough they had to suffer through the Baghdad heat without air, electricity, or clean water.

No, we went in there to shove "freedom" down their throats, and by God, as Juan Cole shows, this is the freedom they're getting:

"The Iraqi newspaper al-Sabah has published a draft of the Iraqi constitution, the language of which is very closely modelled on the Transitional Administrative Law, but which departs from it in key respects...

The second paragraph says: "Islam is the official religion of state, and is the fundamental source of legislation. It is impermissible to pass legislation that contradicts its essential verities or its laws (its essential verities about which there is consensus)...

This language, making it unconstitutional to legislate in contravention of the "laws" of Islam, is much stronger and closer to fundamentalism than the original language of the TAL.I remember debating with Faisal Istrabadi on the Lehrer Newshour in spring of 2004 about whether the TAL itself could be put to theocratic purposes, since it said that you could not legislate in contravention of Islam's essential verities. Faisal was proud of what was presumably his (and Larry Diamond's) language, contrasting essential verities with concrete laws. I pointed out that you could have judges who took those essential verities to include the laws as medieval jurists understood them. But in this draft you would not need a fundamentalist judge for that purpose-- the text of the constitution specifies that parliamentary legislation cannot contradict the shariah or Islamic canon law. This language really does make it an Islamic republic, if it is retained.

Section II, 6/M says, "The state guarantees basic rights for women and their equality with men in all fields, in accordance with the ordinances of Islamic canon law. The state will aid them to harmonize her duties to family with her work in society."
Yes, the Islamic state will help her, much as it has helped her in Saudi Arabia, and Iran, and Afghanistan (oh, they're rolling in freedom over there).

It's not so much that Washington is looking for any substantive change as it is to simply mark some territory; that is, having pissed on a country, we can then move on knowing we've left an impression. And Georgie will go on his merry way as soon as some shiny new bauble catches his eye and the current toy has broken sufficiently to cease providing him the requisite entertainment--just like any prepubescent sociopath with ADD and a predilection for sadism.

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