Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What Are We Fighting For?

Cardinal vile hypocrite said something today which really underscores the absurdity of the current situation in Iraq. (Btw, for anyone thinking that's just needlessly offensive name calling, there is a specific reason why he get's called that.) Now the Cardinal has his own reaosns for speaking up, and some of them might even be valid but what he calls for exposes a complete mess. He's worried about Article 2 (it's actually 2(a) for pedants) of the constitution.
No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.
His request:
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, has urged the Foreign Secretary to intervene in the drafting of the Iraqi constitution.
I find myself partly in agreement with the hypocrite. As regular reader may know, I'm not exactly a supporter of organised religion. I believe all societies would benefit from the full seperation of church and state. I do also have some specific problems with what I'll call "traditional" Islamic law. The possibility of a threat to equal rights for women is a particular problem. So, I'm not exactly happy to see Article 2 of the proposed constitution come into effect.

And I think it's fair to say that almost everyone who supported the war would agree that Article 2 is undesirable, although possibly for a number of different reasons. I certainly can't imagine that Bush supporters from the Christian Right are happy with it, and in the UK, "decent left" blogs, Harry's Place for example, seem strangely silent on the subject (although I admit I haven't done a comprehensive survey, I just tried some key word searches). I'm confident enough to make the prediction that they won't be writing a "Hurray for Article 2" post anytime soon. No, I think most people in the US and UK who supported the war are unhappy about Article 2.

And yet, the UK and the US governments have found themselves in a position where they have no choice but to fully support the proposed constitution, Article 2 included. The Cardinal says that Jack Straw should intervene to remove Article 2 but that's clearly an indefensible position. Remember that the current reason we invaded was in order to bring democracy to Iraq. What right do we then have to interfere and exert undue influence on that democratic process? Well, we've no right to do such a thing. It's democracy (so we're told), the Iraqi people should clearly decide for themselves. Not that that's stopped the US and UK governments giving it a go. I'm of the opinion that they've already tried and been told to shove it.

In spite of this, we can be sure that the coalition will help to fund a massive, mass media "Vote Yes" campaign. They need this constitution desperately and will be going to enormous lengths to ensure it's accepted in the referendum. That sort of thing is illegal in the US, political campaigns can only be funded by domestic donors, but that's just a small fish in a sea of hypocrisy.

The situation is a farce. The brave warriors fighting for democracy on one hand, the introduction of Islamic law on the other (and calls for our government to interfere with the democratic process of another country in a third). Great. I'd like to offer some practical solutions but I'm really at loss. As I've said before, stage 1 must surely be the resignation of those who got us into this mess in the first place.* They are clearly not qualified to get us out of it.

As a side note, it is worth pointing out that negotiations are still ongoing as to what the constitution is actually going to say.
Mr. Talabani also said the two major Kurdish political parties had agreed to support Sunni demands for language in the constitution declaring Iraq an Arab nation. Although the charter was presented to the legislature last week, there have been recent talks aimed at making final revisions that might win Sunni support.
If the document is not modified, some leading Sunni Arabs have said, they will organize a campaign to defeat it in a national referendum, planned for Oct. 15.
NYT, 6th September
Can anyone explain to me how it's possible to have a free and fair democratic referendum campaign in such circumstances? Vote yes! Support something (we're just not sure what it is yet).

*I want to make it clear that I've got no party axe to grind here, no secret motives in my cupboards. I am not a member of any political party. I vote Lib Dem, but that's mostly because I'm not happy with the current party political system. Up until Iraq, I though Blair was an acceptable PM. Least worst option if you like. But his decision to support the invasion of Iraq was an enormous mistake. The problems we are facing were predictable. You might choose not to believe me as I've no proof, but I predicted them fairly accurately. 30 months after the invasion, there's still no sign of the situation improving and no realistic exit strategy. Blair should have been out on his arse long ago. Are there not enough decent people in the Labour party with the guts to get rid of this guy? He lied to you to persuade you to support an invasion of another country. It has been a disaster from start to finish and it shows no sign of being finished. Is power really so much important to you than your principles?

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