Aug 23, 2005 2:02 pm
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Will Iraqi Constitution be Irrelevant?
Ivan Eland suggests that the Constitution in Iraq will have little bearing on what happens there.
The media’s focus on whether the Bush administration’s forced timetable is met, rather than on the quality and likely impact of the resulting constitution, serves the administration’s purpose of creating the illusion of progress. . . . And an illusion it is. Earlier this summer, Brig. Gen. Donald Alston, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, made the astounding admission that the war in Iraq was lost militarily when he said: “[T]his insurgency is not going to be settled, the terrorists and the terrorism in Iraq is not going to be settled, through military options or military operations.” He then pointed his finger to the political process for a solution.
Yet, artificially forcing the Iraqis to reach a definitive agreement on fundamental issues—such as autonomy for Kurdish and Shi’ite areas (federalism), the role of Islam and women in Iraqi society, and the fate of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk—will likely make any Iraqi Constitution as irrelevant as those of neighboring Arab states. On paper, many Arab states have liberal constitutions, but they do not have the political culture or institutions to sustain an open political system. If Iraq doesn’t descend into civil war quickly, perhaps the administration can pull off this façade and exit Iraq with some dignity.
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