Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Just a Constitution

I think Michael Totten is probably on the right track with his views of the Iraqi constitution. As many have pointed out, creating an Arab Germany in just a few years was never a serious possibility in Iraq, and there are going to be a lot of serious issues to work out in the coming years and decades. What we can hope for, however, is that we create a situation in which leaders rise and fall in a peaceful manner which bears some resemblance to the popular will, and which ideally doesn't follow the pattern of the harsh liberal/conservative splits that tore apart 19th-century Mexico. While its true that the people putting concepts like "Islam" and "democracy" in the Constitution mean particular things by them right now, possible contradictions are not a reason for total panic. At the risk of offending genuine originalist Dave Milovich, any Constitution will be something of a living document, and Iraqis can contest the meaning of these terms in future political debates. Even shari'a, it must be remembered, is not a law code handed down on stone tablets but rather a field of study which is often troublingly conservative at present but which can develop in any number of possible directions. The important thing for now is to decide who will rule and how they will come to power, and if possible to get all Iraqis agreeing on the same format.


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