Mr. Bush, Time for a Reality Check
August 13, 2005
By Ken Sanders
to reporters in Crawford, Texas on August 11, President Bush once
again insisted that the Iraqis finish cobbling together their constitution
by August 15. Notably, however, Bush ignored a reporter's question
of what would happen if the Iraqis missed their deadline. For Bush
and his fellow war-mongers, the notion that the Iraqis might not
be able to overcome their differences before the Fifteenth is simply
beyond the realm of possibility.
Can it be that Bush & Co. still haven't learned from their egregious
mistakes in planning (or not planning, as the case may be) their
invasion of Iraq? Going in, the Bush administration naively envisioned
something akin to what might have greeted U.S. forces in a John
Wayne movie after driving the hated Nazis out of Paris. They saw
ticker-tape parades down Iraq's streets and flowers flying at our
troops from every direction. They imagined still shots of nubile
Iraqi women, their backs provocatively arched, kissing American
So intoxicated were they by their romanticized visions of war
that Bush and his pals never considered the possibility of an insurgency
and thus failed to adequately prepare for one. They were so drunk
with arrogant glory that they didn't think it necessary to secure
known weapons depots in order to keep them out of the hands of insurgents
and terrorists, thereby ensuring the deaths of innumerable U.S.
troops and Iraqi civilians.
Nonetheless, our failure-is-not-an-option President and his cronies
seem incapable of acknowledging that Iraq's constitution might not
be drafted on time. They seem to think that they can simply will
the Iraqis to meet the deadline and avert catastrophe. While one
should never discount the power of positive thinking, it would appear
that Bush is deluded. If Bush can't even acknowledge the possibility
that the constitution won't be finished on time, he certainly can't
plan so as to mitigate the resulting damages.
In truth, anyone with the ability to read can see that things
in Iraq are pretty grim, including the prospects of a timely drafted
constitution. As of August 12, a mere three days before the deadline,
Iraq's political leaders agree on only three of eighteen constitutional
issues. In other words, with just 3 days to go, the Iraqis have
overcome only one sixth of the obstacles to drafting a constitution.
What have they agreed upon thus far? Well, Iraq's new official moniker
will be the "Federal Republic of Iraq." The peshmerga (the Kurds'
militia) will be the official security forces of the Kurdish autonomous
zone in northern Iraq. Lastly, the "normalization" of Kirkuk (i.e.,
the return of Kurds who were expelled from the city by Saddam) is
to be completed by December 15.
Three out of eighteen ain't bad. It's a start anyway.
In the meantime, however, the head of the Supreme Council for
the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) has called for Shiite autonomous
zones in central and southern Iraq. Like Kirkuk, Iraq's central
and southern regions are oil-rich and highly coveted. Not surprisingly,
Iraq's Sunni leadership is none too keen on the idea of being left
out of Iraq's oil wealth and has balked at the notion of Shiite
Also left to be decided in the next three days is the role Islam
will play in Iraq's new constitution. This is no small matter. Iraq's
Shiite and Sunni leadership both want Islam to feature heavily in
the constitution, but see each other as apostates. Adding to the
difficulty is the fact that Iraq's Kurds are largely secular and
disapprove of, among other things, Islamic law's subjugation of
Just imagine if the U.S. constitution were being written today.
The religious right would demand that tenets of their vision of
Christianity be enshrined in the law. Intelligent design taught
in every school (right after morning prayers). Abortion and stem-cell
research criminalized and punishable by death. Homosexuals exiled
to something resembling a leper colony. The Ten Commandments codified
into law and prominently displayed in every government building.
Now, in addition, imagine that the U.S. was under foreign military
occupation and that insurgents and terrorists were killing just
about anything that moved. Men. Women. Children. Whatever.
It would never get written.
Well, whether Bush wants to admit it or not, that's the reality
in Iraq. One can only hope that Bush has planned accordingly. Unfortunately,
when it comes to the Bush administration, hope no longer springs
Ken Sanders is an attorney and writer in Tucson whose work has been
published by Z Magazine, Common Dreams, Democratic Underground,
Dissident Voice, and Political Affairs Magazine, among others.