Friday, August 26, 2005

We the People of Iraq...

In August of 1945 America and the Allied forces began their occupation of Japan. It was quite unlike the occupation of Iraq. America basically became the ruler of Japan. In fact, General MacArthur was the first Supreme Commander of the nation. American occupation lasted until April of 1952. During that time we systematically deconstructed the Japanese war machine, rebuilt the Japanese economy, censored their media and did a number of other things to establish order during the post-war chaos.

I bring this up because something more important happened at that time. By 1947 the Allied forces (actually just America since Russia was beginning to not get along with us) had fully written and installed a special document for the country. It was a constitution.

The Japanese constitution was written by and put in place by us, the American government. It was considered to be a very fair document and it also created the democratic government that Japan has today.

So, how is this relevant? Obviously there is a similar situation going on in Iraq. The main mission in Iraq as stated by the Bush white house was to free the Iraqi people and create a “beacon of Democracy”. I’m not going to get into the WMD debate or the non-existent 9/11 connections, or the alleged oil corruption, I’m simply stating that the goal here was to create a Democratic state in the middle east. Two of the many reasons this was sold to us as a good idea were : more human rights for the people (notably for females) and a non-reliance on religion (so Iraq didn’t turn into Iran with the clerics and Islam ruling everything there).

Well, for whatever reason the Bush white house decided that the best plan would be for the Iraqi people to create their own constitution while we occupied the nation. Last week, a draft of that constitution was completed. From what I can gather, it is far from what is needed to provide the beacon of democracy that we had intended. Essentially Islam will trump all civil laws and instead of one unified Iraq the new government will be a very shaky collective government of 3 separate groups, the Sunni, the Shiite and the Kurds.

Usually this is where I say something like “I don’t have to say this but duh…” but I’m not. This is where I have to say this to you all. If this constitution is ratified, every American life that was lost in that country, every taxpayer dollar that was spent on this war was completely and utterly wasted.

Take a moment and ask yourself why we are there in Iraq. Decide on a goal that would indicate to you that we are finished there and we have succeeded. Once you have that goal, ask yourself if we are going to achieve it.

I have been mostly against the war for quite some time now. The only good thing that I could see coming out of it, the only possible thing that I could be positive about was that Iraq may be convinced to become more democratic, that human rights would be expanded and that the people would have a stable semi-democratic governmental system. The establishment of that government was the goal that I came up with for this war. I didn’t want us meddling into another nations affairs from the start but since the damage was done I wanted to see some good come of our effort.

If this constitution is ratified and becomes the legal bible of the nation of Iraq, my goal will not have been achieved.

Maybe in the future, after we pull out and the nation falls into 10 or so years of civil unrest and lawlessness and maybe after that the people form their own government that somehow is not dominated by religion, maybe then they will achieve what I’m looking for, but I’m quite convinced that it’s not going to be the result of any of our meddling.

If we look at how we formed our nation and how we created our own constitution we would see that we were essentially an occupied nation and we wanted to become our own country. The English people were growing weary of the occupation, and the distance was a huge barrier so the ensuing war against the British was winnable. Once we won that war and the English left our shores we created our own constitution on our own terms. Look how far that document has gotten us.

I’ve touched a lot of points and I’m sorry this isn’t as cohesive as it should be, but I will sum up this way:

  1. we should not have meddled in Iraq at all

  2. since we did, the only good thing that could have come out of it would be a democratic type government with more human rights for the people and less reliance on religion

  3. we should have wrote the document ourselves and forced it on them while we were, and still are, occupying them like we did in Japan

  4. since we didn’t do that the Iraqi people have created their own document and it is nothing at all close to fulfilling my (and presumably Americas) goals for their new government

  5. because of the above we should be really upset with how badly this has all gone

  6. maybe we should just pull out entirely and stop trying to assert ourselves and impose our will upon other nations. Maybe we should simply try and live our lives the way we want to and let our freedom speak to the other nations. If they don’t want to play like us, bummer for them.


Josh said...

Interesting ideas here. Remarkably I don't think I've heard anyone else say that perhaps we should've written this constitution for them. Of course, knowing this White House, there would have been at least a few articles guaranteeing no-bid contracts for Halliburton.

trace said...

Ha.. actually that's pretty funny and maybe not that far from the truth :)