Sunday :: Aug 21, 2005

Bush Administration Throws Women Overboard In Iraq


by Steve

Have our troops in Iraq died for the sake of making women second-class citizens in an Islamic republic one step away from civil war?

With a deadline over the Iraqi constitution looming, the Sunnis are now appealing not only to the US, but also to the UN to stop the Shiites and Kurds from excluding them from the constitutional process. In fact, the Sunnis claim that it is the US who is not living up to its commitments to include the Sunnis in the process, a critical issue since a part of the insurgency derives from Sunni exclusion and fear that they will be the targets of a new Shiite-Kurdish majority in Iraq.

As for the constitution itself, guess who is responsible for negotiating key elements in the current draft that would deprive women of the rights they currently have, and even had under Saddam? If you said the Islamic clerics, guess again.

Under a deal brokered Friday by the American ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, Islam was to be named "a primary source of legislation" in the new Iraqi constitution, with the proviso that no legislation be permitted that conflicted with the "universal principles" of the religion. The latter phrase raised concerns that Iraqi judges would have wide latitude to strike down laws now on the books, as well as future legislation.
At the same time, according to a Kurdish leader involved in the talks, Mr. Khalilzad had backed language that would have given clerics sole authority in settling marriage and family disputes. That gave rise to concerns that women's rights, as they are enunciated in Iraq's existing laws, could be curtailed.
Finally, according to the person close to the negotiations, Mr. Khalilzad had been backing an arrangement that could have allowed clerics to have a hand in interpreting the constitution. That arrangement, coupled with the expansive language for Islam, prompted accusations from the Kurd that the Americans were helping in the formation of an Islamic state.
The American Embassy has declined to comment on the negotiations.
In Washington, a senior State Department official acknowledged that Iraqi leaders were considering a concession to Shiite leaders on religious authority over personal law, but he cautioned that "nothing is done until everything is done," and that the final charter needed to be judged by all its pieces, not just one.
"This piece might be there," the official said, referring to language that would give authority over family and other matters to religious leaders.

That’s right. Our own ambassador is actively working to turn women into second-class citizens under the new and “liberated” Iraq, an Iraq that would be an Islamic state for which nearly 2000 Americans have died so that women can be treated worse than they are now. As tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph of London notes, the Americans have abandoned their hopes of turning Iraq into a secular beacon of democracy in the Islamic world, and because it is more important to the Bush Administration to meet an arbitrary deadline for the constitution than it is to ensure that our soldiers died for the values of our own society, we have decided to give in to the Islamists and weaken the rights of women.

If the Democrats are looking for a wedge issue to use against the GOP on Iraq, the Bush Administration just handed them one. There is no justification, even in red state America, for why our troops have died to deliver an Islamic republic in the middle of the Middle East that will make women worse off than they are now.

Steve :: 7:43 PM :: Comments (28) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!