Iraqi Constitutional "Birthing Pains"
The Iraqi's are working hard right now to draft a constitution and have set themselves a time limit. No doubt, they feel that they owe themselves and their allies a swift set up to take back their country. This is admirable, and shows initiative, and just how far they've come.
In today's featured article from the Opinion Journal of the Wall Street Journal, REUEL MARC GERECHT writes:
All of Washington wants the Iraqis to be more expeditious than our own Founding Fathers, who took years of trial and error to hammer out the mother of all modern constitutions.
Yet the Iraqis are where we want them to be: divided on critical matters of politics and faith, but still determined to resolve their differences through a binding written compromise. Their discussions are hot and sometimes intractable because all the parties know these debates matter. Federalism and the political role of Islam--perhaps the two most troublesome subjects--are critical issues throughout the Middle East. No one in Washington should want these debates toned down or curtailed.
It's a great article and underscores the need for our support and patience as Americans. What comes of the struggles for a workable constitution in Iraq will set the stage for the world our children and our children's children inherit - just as those struggles in our own country 250 years ago led us to where we are now. And we have strayed far in the last 100 years or so! Our nation was designed as a constitutional republic - not the democracy as so loudly touted these days. In 1787, after the delegates in Philadelphia signed our new United States Constitution, a woman approached Benjamin Franklin. "Well, Doctor," she asked, "what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it." We're playing fast and loose now with our own constitution, but that's for another posting.
At any rate, head on over to God, Man and the Common Weal at Opinion Journal to read the rest of the article. Geracht closes with these words:
We should not want to curtail or stage-manage these great debates. Only by having them will the Iraqis muster the support to pass a constitution by the required referendum. If Mr. Rumsfeld thinks the current constitutional debates are too protracted and unhelpful, he should wait for the Sunni, Shiite, or Kurdish communities to veto a draft constitution. The success or failure of the Iraqi democratic experiment will be evident in the coming months. The intersection of God, man, and the common weal are not easy things to figure out, and the Iraqis are doing far better than anyone really had the right to hope.