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The Iraq Constitution: And They Call This Victory

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RedEarth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 10:59 AM
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The Iraq Constitution: And They Call This Victory
The Iraq Constitution: And They Call This Victory
by Ivan Eland

The incompetence of the U.S. governments policy in Iraq was demonstrated by this weekends referendum on the Iraqi Constitution. The Constitution, written by the Shia and Kurds, has passed, over the objections of many Sunnis. Yet it symbolizes one of the U.S. governments biggest errors in Iraq: confusing democracy with liberty.

Curiously, the United States has forgotten the wisdom of its own founders, who were more concerned with liberty than democracy. In fact, many of them regarded democracy as mob rule. They realized that a majority, through an election, could gain control of government power and impose tyranny on a minority. They wisely limited the jurisdiction of government, created competing branches to diffuse governmental power, and created a bill of rights so that government could not usurp the liberties of the minority. Unfortunately, over the course of U.S. history, the American public, media, and politicians have become enamored with democracy at the expense of liberty.

Regrettably, it may take a policy failure in Iraq to refresh the American memory about the wisdom of the founders. The U.S. government has instituted, by force, democratic processes in Iraq. However, this effort does not solve the main problem: convincing a disaffected, well-armed minority to quit fighting against the Iraqi government and the U.S. occupation that props it up. In fact, the democratic processin this case, the constitutional referendumhas conclusively demonstrated to the Sunnis that even if they vote, they are at the mercy of the alliance of Kurds and Shia. Thus, the referendum will likely fuel the rebellion, not weaken it.

The situation in Iraq has so deteriorated that a civil war is now the most likely outcome. Ironically, a rejection of the constitution might possibly have diminished the chances of such an all-out internecine bloodbath. In sharp contrast to the presidents happy talk to victory strategy, a constitutional defeat could have compelled a start for genuine Iraqi self-determination. A conclave of representatives from all of Iraqs diverse tribes and ethnic and religious groups meeting on their own timetable would have allowed true consensus-building. In such a grand council, the Iraqis would have had a variety of possible governing structures to choose from, not just an imposed U.S.-style federation. More than likely, they would have eventually chosen some type of looser confederation or even a partition.

Although the Sunnis now oppose such decentralized structures, their opposition centers more on the potential loss of oil revenues to the Kurds and Shia and less on regaining control of the entire country. This problem might have been solved by a negotiated arrangement to share oil revenues among the decentralized regions or by redrawing the map to give the Sunnis some of the oil fields. A myth exists that to ensure stability, decentralized regional governments would have needed to administer contiguous parcels of land. Finally, the knowledge that U.S. forces, which protect Shiite and Kurdish interests, would have been withdrawing quickly would have given those groups an incentive to quickly reach an agreement on sharing oil fields or revenues with the Sunnis.

http://www.commondreams.org/cgi-bin/print.cgi?file=/vie...
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Dhalgren Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-05 11:44 AM
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1. Sadly, it is far too late to try and bring logic, reason, and
intelligence into this horrible crime against humanity. We have to withdraw from Iraq, pay reparations and give whatever support is needed and wanted, and clean our own house. We can never rest until all of the neocon criminals - whoever they are and wherever they are - are brought to trial and thrown in prison. The standing of the United States in the world community requires that we clean - our - own - house and deal with our own criminals...
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