Well, I was going to gripe about how Sammy has suddenly stopped sleeping through the night reliably (teething? growth spurt? milestone achievement? I dunno), but that’s kinda been there done that by now. Really, there are other things important in this world (and to me) than JUST my baby. Really. I used to believe that.
Take, for example, the quagmire in Iraq. First off, I didn’t agree with the war, but believe that now we’re there we should stay until we’ve finished the job. But that’s not really what I want to talk about.
The Iraqi legislature missed its deadline yesterday of coming up with a new, permanent constitution. They’re giving themselves one more week to get all the kinks worked out. However, this is in violation of their existing interim constitution which stated that if a new constitution was not completed by August 15, parliament was to be dissolved and new elections held. What bothers me is if they’re willing to ignore this provision in the constitution, what faith can anyone have that any provisions in a permanent constitution will be honored? I mean, if you can pick and choose which provisions are important and which can be fudged, well, where do you draw the line? This view might sound a little harsh, but forgive me if I hold a constitution a bit more sacred than just words on paper. A constitution is established to define the boundaries and responsibilities of government, and a government cannot nor should not violate its mandates. Period. To do so sets a very dangerous precedent, a slippery slope where only the “convenient” provisions are followed and those that are more onerous, well, we didn’t really mean that when we wrote it.
This brings me to point 2 of the situation in Iraq. Mr. Bush (sigh) is expecting, in a period of two or three short years, to establish in Iraq a democracy the likes of which took the United States (and Great Britain, for that matter) over 500 years to establish. There is no Arab equivalent of the Magna Carta, nor any tradition in the Middle East of constitutional authority. What started in England in 1215 started a long, arduous process of defining individual rights and governmental boundaries, culminating in the Age of Enlightenment during which our nation was born. Iraq has never had any such concept among its citizens. They, like most Arab nations, has gone from one authoritarian government to another until the fall of Saddam Hussein, after which they had no government of their own at all.
And now we’re expecting to snap our fingers and turn Iraq into a mini-U.S., where Kurds and Sunnis and Shiites live happily ever after in a system of democratic majorities, protected minorities, checks and balances? Puh-leaze.