Preliminary thoughts on the emerging Iraqi constitution

There will be much hand-wringing about whether the draft Iraqi constitution creates a theocracy, sells out womens’ rights, and so forth. A good deal of the hand-wringing will come from those who wanted to leave Iraq in the hands of a murderous dictator (a dictator some are starting to praise for his attention to womens’ rights), and those who would have had us pull out of Iraq without paying any attention to what kind of governmental arrangement we left behind. Nonetheless, the underlying issues are certainly fair game for those who address them in good faith.
It’s premature to assess with any confidence the strengths and weaknesses of the draft constitution. As I understand the situation, the draft is still being revised and there is still no authoritative translation. However, as Rich Lowry at NRO’s Corner points out, the draft constitution appears to follow the Afghanistan constitution on issues of religion and personal rights. Like that document, the draft provides that no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam, but also contains strong human rights protections. (In Afghanistan these protections are facilitating the emergence of a peaceful and vibrant democracy; whether the same words would yield the same result in Iraq remains to be seen, but not because the words are defective). The Iraqi draft states that “no law shall be enacted that contradicts [Islam

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