While several folks in the media and the blogosphere seem to continue to pile up one negative complaint about the situation in Iraq being imperfect because the Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds are fussing about one aspect or the other in the constitution or some small incidences in which various members within the Sunni population are fighting with each other, they fail to notice that the people of Iraq are participating in their own decisions for the first time over the future of their nation. Its easy to condemn the efforts of our government trying to make it possible for the Iraqis to create a model of democracy in the region in an effort to make the Arab Muslim Middle East an area that will cast aside the ideas of strongmen/dictators that have been the model of the region for all these years. If this means giving the Iraqi people the opportunity to use the G-d given rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness to create a government that will be an oasis in the region then the battle is well worth it. This formation of an oasis of democracy in such a dangerous part of the world, it will make this one less nation that is hostile to our nation and provides us one more shining example of how this war is against radical Islam and not the general Arab Islamic peoples in the Middle East. I'd have to say that's Gerard Baker probably put this argument in a more clear and concise manner in his most recent column in The Times. Take a look:
The reason is that the apparent stability that Saddam provided for us was a false stability. You can't treat a people as he did for 30 years and not create the conditions for explosive violence with long-term implications for your own people and way beyond your own borders. Indeed what we are seeing now is not what would have happened in the absence of Saddam, but the consequences of what Saddam did to his own people for all that time. You cannot build an international order by embracing tyranny for half the world — we tried that in Iran and Saudi Arabia and Indonesia for decades. We didn't get stability; we got violence, much of it directed at us.It'd be nice if the folks who keep going around noting the sky is falling and everything is going to hell would just sit back and take a drink and looked at the situation in Iraq from a more objective and wider angle then they'd realize that there is a silver lining to all grey clouds. There might be bumps and setbacks on their road to a democracy but they're getting their one day at a time. You've got to say that Churchill's dictum: "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried," seems to ring true especially to the Iraqi people.
In any case, the criticism of the Iraq constitution-in-progress is overdone. It is not a perfect model of democracy; it was never going to be. But neither does it enshrine an Iranian-style Islamic law. Not the least important evidence for that is that Iraq's Shia leadership, having watched with disdain and alarm events to their east, have no desire to model their country on the powder-keg theocracy next door.
The most important thing about the document is that it is, above all else, Iraqi. It was constructed by Iraqis and if it is approved by referendum, it will represent the will of the people. Self-determination remains, as it has done for a century now, the only real basis for lasting international peace.
The sweet neocons have got many things wrong. They may have been naive about how easily and quickly a free Iraq would emerge from Saddam's ruins. They may underestimate differing levels of ethnic, religious and political resistance to democracy. But the path of chaotic freedom down which they want to nudge the world remains a better route than the alternative, supposedly realist approach to international affairs that we have tried in the past. That, I'm afraid, winds up being nothing less than sympathy for the devil.
Also, check out the Draft Iraqi Constitution for yourself and see what the Iraqi people will get to vote on. Now it's a heck of a lot longer than ours (I like my Constitutions short and sweet but this one is about the same length as Spain's constitution that emerged some years after the death of Franco) but it'll do for a nation emerging from a dictatorship like the one created by Saddam.