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Old 08-17-2005, 11:27 AM   #1
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Constitution Watch: The birth of "democracy" in Iraq

As everybody knows, the folks in Iraq who are trying to hammer out a Constitution are having some.....,er, problems. Seems like little things such as the Kurds, women's "rights" and the issue of whether to have a semi-autonomous Shiite territory in the South (which could one day secede?) keep popping up. Not to mention that great-unwritten about issue: just what their relationship to their permanent military occupier, the United States, is. They've requested and gotten a week's delay in the deadline. This is a very important moment for both Iraq and the US, for many reasons.

I am very keen to see just how an American-style democracy can be successfully implimented under the barrel of a gun, and under a strict, swift timetable. (It always amazes me that both the soldiers standing guard in the Red Zone in Baghdad, and our so-called "leaders" in Washington, do not remember the basic fact that our own Revolution was NOT carried out in this manner.) And, of course, the knowledge that you never truly have the real power...you can't vote that big miltary base on the Euphrates to be dismantled and ALL US troops go home, for example. You can be sure that the day this benighted document hits the air, if there's a text of it online, you can darn well bet I'm going to download and copy the sucker. And there'd better be a text online! (anybody who can post a link to it as soon as it's up, could you please do so.) This is a thread where you can share your thoughts on this august document, its implications for the various groups in Iraq, difficulties or lack of them in implimenting its laws, US "sincerity", and thoughts on whether there can ever be "democracy" in the Middle East in general. Not to mention what I think our intentions in the region truly are (and IMO, they are NOT "democratic.")


The American Revolution was not about 1776, when we declared independence from Britain. No, we should be celebrating 1783, when the Founding Fathers first presented the feuding, warring factions of the 13 Colonies, (briefly united during only because the Brits were such utter bastards) with 2 documents that attempted to forge them into a nation. It was an intensely long, difficult and complex process, and some of the issues went unresolved, and were the seeds for our own Civil War some 80 yrs later. How many of you know that after the Revolution, most of the country didn't want to be a single country at all, but just wanted to go back to being like they were before? They just wanted to be free from England, having a single Federal Government was the last thing on thier minds. How on God's earth did the Fathers ever convince them to unite???Some of the issues that came up in 1783 we STILL fight about..how much pwer the Federal GOvt shoukd have and how much the States, for example. ) Nobody was really happy, in those first yrs. At times, it got extremely messy, and most of the Fathers by the late 1790's were bitter and doubted the whole thing would work. But it did. Why? I'm reading a lot about the Revolution right now and learning so much. And for those of you who believe that George W Bush really DOES want Iraq to be independent and free, with total control over her own destiny, even by these standards, Iraq is in trouble.

So this discussion can go various ways. We can debate whether the Iraqi Constition can work. Or what Bush's real designs are, by the dubious process by which they are being pressured to produce a document by a deadline of mere weeks (unlike the American Revolution, in which the Fathers not only of course worked with no deadline, but took the opposite tack: letting the people respond to the Consitution and hash it all out, and responing by making alterations where they felt they were needed to address people's concerns, and coming up with the Bill Of Rights for people concerned about the ruling class having too much power. IMO, the BOR is even more imprtant than the Constitution..freedom of religion, assembly, speech, free press, etc. But we also have to remember that the Fathers didn't dreamit up in the first place, it came after public comment. Remember, kiddies: the Constitution came first, and the Bill of Roghts second, and only after long months of public debate. That is very interesting. ) We can discuss whether this is even a "democratic" enterprise or a dubious excercise in colonialism, disguised as "democracy." We can discuss the history of the various groups. Or what country this is supposed to look like. Or how her enighbors are watching all this go down, and our allies too. And the nature of gov't.

And of course, this is the place to monitor the media's reaction, American and international, about this. .

Enough of my long-winded rant....let the fun and games begin....
(strikes up "Fanfare For The Common Man").

For starters: On the subject of democratic revolutions. Anybody got recommendations on reading material? For America: Let me begin with David McCullough's new book, "1776", the Peabody-winning PBS Documentary "Liberty!" and another one I'm readng right now..forgot the title....it has a yellow cover....it's about factions in the Colonies... the back with this in a minute.

P.S... Dangit, I can't find it. I'll have the title tomorrow, when I'm back here. Oh, and one other thing: we in the US (as usual) don't care about foriegn reaction to out affairs, or foreign involevement in our wars. If it wasn't for the French, there wouldn't be an America....I'd love to have the non-U.S. posters share foreign reaction too.
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Old 08-17-2005, 12:57 PM   #2
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You mean they are having problems...didn't see this coming.
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Old 08-17-2005, 01:09 PM   #3
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Re: Constitution Watch: The birth of "democracy" in Iraq

Quote:
Originally posted by Teta040

The American Revolution was not about 1776, when we declared independence from Britain. No, we should be celebrating 1783, when the Founding Fathers first presented the feuding, warring factions of the 13 Colonies, (briefly united during only because the Brits were such utter bastards) with 2 documents that attempted to forge them into a nation. It was an intensely long, difficult and complex process, and some of the issues went unresolved, and were the seeds for our own Civil War some 80 yrs later. How many of you know that after the Revolution, most of the country didn't want to be a single country at all, but just wanted to go back to being like they were before? They just wanted to be free from England, having a single Federal Government was the last thing on thier minds. How on God's earth did the Fathers ever convince them to unite???Some of the issues that came up in 1783 we STILL fight about..how much pwer the Federal GOvt shoukd have and how much the States, for example. ) Nobody was really happy, in those first yrs. At times, it got extremely messy, and most of the Fathers by the late 1790's were bitter and doubted the whole thing would work. But it did. Why? I'm reading a lot about the Revolution right now and learning so much. And for those of you who believe that George W Bush really DOES want Iraq to be independent and free, with total control over her own destiny, even by these standards, Iraq is in trouble.

So this discussion can go various ways. We can debate whether the Iraqi Constition can work. Or what Bush's real designs are, by the dubious process by which they are being pressured to produce a document by a deadline of mere weeks (unlike the American Revolution, in which the Fathers not only of course worked with no deadline, but took the opposite tack: letting the people respond to the Consitution and hash it all out, and responing by making alterations where they felt they were needed to address people's concerns, and coming up with the Bill Of Rights for people concerned about the ruling class having too much power. IMO, the BOR is even more imprtant than the Constitution..freedom of religion, assembly, speech, free press, etc. But we also have to remember that the Fathers didn't dreamit up in the first place, it came after public comment. Remember, kiddies: the Constitution came first, and the Bill of Roghts second, and only after long months of public debate. That is very interesting. ) We can discuss whether this is even a "democratic" enterprise or a dubious excercise in colonialism, disguised as "democracy." We can discuss the history of the various groups. Or what country this is supposed to look like. Or how her enighbors are watching all this go down, and our allies too. And the nature of gov't.

And of course, this is the place to monitor the media's reaction, American and international, about this. .

Enough of my long-winded rant....let the fun and games begin....
(strikes up "Fanfare For The Common Man").

For starters: On the subject of democratic revolutions. Anybody got recommendations on reading material? For America: Let me begin with David McCullough's new book, "1776", the Peabody-winning PBS Documentary "Liberty!" and another one I'm readng right now..forgot the title....it has a yellow cover....it's about factions in the Colonies... the back with this in a minute.

P.S... Dangit, I can't find it. I'll have the title tomorrow, when I'm back here. Oh, and one other thing: we in the US (as usual) don't care about foriegn reaction to out affairs, or foreign involevement in our wars. If it wasn't for the French, there wouldn't be an America....I'd love to have the non-U.S. posters share foreign reaction too.
Excellent thought provoking questions....

I would say we also need to remember that there was the Confederation of states before the Constitution. That failed because the governement had so little power. I would look up resources on Shay's Rebellion which has a little bit to do with the move towards a constitution.

The Federalist papers.....may be of interest as well.

1776 is an excellent book.
Adams is an excellent book.
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Old 08-17-2005, 01:35 PM   #4
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Do you mean that book on Adams that was written last yr, that won the Pulitzer...maybe I'm wrong, was that on Adams?

Thanks, Dreadsox. When I saw your name I thought you'd flame me like no tomorrow, esp after my "dubious intentions" part of that post.... We seem to support breastfeeding in public but are political opposites on everything else!

Of course, everyone should start by going to their local Barnes and Noble and reading the origional things themselves. Declaration, BOR, Federalist Papers, etc.

But the guy I'm most fascinated with, truth be told, is Thomas Paine. The "philosopher" behind the whole thing. (You know, "Common Sense" ..these are the times that try mens' souls..." "The harder the confict, the more glorious the triumph." etc). This guy was just a loose cannon and wreaked political havoc wherever he went, post-1780. He didn't know what to do with himself. I'm just fascinated that after all he did to inspire the Patriots (that first paragraph of "Common Sense" just makes me weep--yeah, get in line, I know. Revolutions today are so boring. No great stirring speeches or philosopshical writings. No stirring songs or marches written on the spot for the troops to sing. Hell, politicians don't even study oratory anymore..they don't even know how to F*#$G speak in public anymore!) he eventually turned against them for betraying the Revolutionary ideal (as he saw it) and had the guts to openly attack Washington. And after invoking God so eloquently, he eventually became an athiest!!

I really do have to go now....I'll be back tomorrow evening. In the meantime, here is ANOTHER major headache for the "common man" in Iraq...

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...093747,00.html


And you guys should know I have an Irish last name. That explains my long-windedness, I think: I'll try to clean up my writing too. When I'm very tired I tend to use a lot of ().
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Old 08-17-2005, 01:52 PM   #5
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PS Bonovox Superstar, were you being serious or tongue-in-cheek?

Yeah, they're having problems. That has to be the understatement of the year. God, imagine if you were one of them...aside from the political difficulties, imagine that your life might not be worth 2 cents.after next Monday......whatever their currency is.

Here's a minor sign of trouble: "according to a poll, 69% or Iraqis believe in women's rights..but 'within the stuctures of Islam' ."

This is the reasoning the currently ruling al-Saud branch of the Royal Family (as opposed to the more liberal al-Faisal branch, which was ousted form power when King Fasal was assassinated in 1975) uses to support its support of Sharia, and the prowling Saudi religious police, which keeps women as virtual slaves.

Leaving Bush and his intentions aside, I'm really interested to see how this works out, and it don't look good, folks....

*goes to put "Lawrence of Arabia" into the DVD player..specifically, the last third of the film, the Damascus part....* Did you know Alec Guiness's character, Faisal, was the first King of Iraq? That was what he meant when at the end of the film when he said, "I must be a king."

OK, I really DO have to go!! Adios until tomorrow....
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Old 08-17-2005, 02:00 PM   #6
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Paine was quite an interesting fellow.

Many of the founding fathers, did not seem to agree with him much later on, yet he inspired them early on.

Adams in particular called him something nasty...

Paine later published his Age of Reason, which infuriated many of the Founding Fathers. John Adams wrote, “The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity, let the Blackguard [scoundrel, rogue] Paine say what he will.” 2 Samuel Adams wrote Paine a stiff rebuke, telling him, “[W]hen I heard you had turned your mind to a defence of infidelity, I felt myself much astonished and more grieved that you had attempted a measure so injurious to the feelings and so repugnant to the true interest of so great a part of the citizens of the United States.” 3

Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration, wrote to his friend and signer of the Constitution John Dickinson that Paine's Age of Reason was “absurd and impious”; 4 Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration, described Paine's work as “blasphemous writings against the Christian religion”; 5 John Witherspoon said that Paine was “ignorant of human nature as well as an enemy to the Christian faith”; 6 John Quincy Adams declared that “Mr. Paine has departed altogether from the principles of the Revolution"”; 7 and Elias Boudinot, President of Congress, even published the Age of Revelation—a full-length rebuttal to Paine's work. 8 Patrick Henry, too, wrote a refutation of Paine's work which he described as “the puny efforts of Paine.” 9

When William Paterson, signer of the Constitution and a Justice on the U. S. Supreme Court, learned that some Americans seemed to agree with Paine's work, he thundered, “Infatuated Americans, why renounce your country, your religion, and your God?” 10 Zephaniah Swift, author of America's first law book, noted, “He has the impudence and effrontery [shameless boldness] to address to the citizens of the United States of America a paltry performance which is intended to shake their faith in the religion of their fathers.” 11 John Jay, an author of the Federalist Papers and the original Chief-Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, was comforted by the fact that Christianity would prevail despite Paine's attack,“I have long been of the opinion that the evidence of the truth of Christianity requires only to be carefully examined to produce conviction in candid minds.” 12 In fact, Paine's views caused such vehement public opposition that he spent his last years in New York as “an outcast” in “social ostracism” and was buried in a farm field because no American cemetery would accept his remains. 13

http://www.wallbuilders.com/resource...?ResourceID=93
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Old 08-17-2005, 02:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Teta040
Thanks, Deadsox. When I saw your name I thought you'd flame me like no tomorrow, esp after my "dubious intentions" part of that post.... We seem to support breastfeeding in public but are political opposites on everything else!
I am more conservative on national security issues....more liberal on social,...

and I LOVE HISTORY~!

I get the joy of looking at Plymouth Harbor every day, driving yup the street that ran through the center of Plymouth Plantation, looking at Burial Hill where Pilgrims, Redcoats, and Patriots are burried. I drive by Massasoits camp.....

I think about history daily.

I went to college next to John Adams house, and drove by the Adams Mansion, Hancock's house, and the burial place of the two Presidents....

LOL....surrounded by it.

I live up the street from Deborah Samson's house.... Hehe.... Woman who disguised herself as a man, and joined the army to fight the revolution.

I dine monthly in a restaraunt that used to make cannon balls, and the iron for old ironsides was made there...it was a high priority target for the British that never got hit.


hmmmmm.....

I live one town over from wgere the royal governor came for his summer vacations before the war.....
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Old 08-17-2005, 02:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Teta040
PS Bonovox Superstar, were you being serious or tongue-in-cheek?
I think all of those that thought they'd make the deadline or that thought this was just going to work so smoothly, as so many expressed including some in here were either brainwashed, naive, or kidding themselves. Anyone could have seen this coming from a 1000 miles away.
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Old 08-17-2005, 02:07 PM   #9
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it did not work the 1st time for the US......

I would argue, that with the Ammendments Added, that we still had not got it right...
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
it did not work the 1st time for the US......

I would argue, that with the Ammendments Added, that we still had not got it right...
I completely agree. But circumstances were different. They have a democracy that's occupying them and freeing them as we speak, we didn't have a "mentor" looking over our shoulder holding our hand. Many thought it would be so easy because we were holding their hand.

I think many thought we were taking a factory approved used car off the lot, it would take a little getting use to, a little breaking in but a smooth reliable ride. Reality is we were sold a complete lemon and we may never getting running right.
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:39 PM   #11
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They are indeed having difficulties. Additionally, the Turks are nervous about autonomy because they don't want an autonomous Kurdistan on their borders. This could do crazy things with our relationship with Turkey. There are all sorts of little messes being created. The whole thing is pretty messy.
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Old 08-17-2005, 05:55 PM   #12
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
we didn't have a "mentor" looking over our shoulder holding our hand. Many thought it would be so easy because we were holding their hand.
Exactly. That's the thing that's bothered me for a while with this whole Iraq thing. If they want a democracy, great! All for that. But I'd want to be sure it's what they want, and not what we want them to have. I mean, the way things have been sounding, it seems like we just assumed they wanted a democracy and are "mentoring" them through the process-and we didn't even get their input on what government they wanted. And I think they and they alone should fully work on building up their government-if they ask for our help, we can help them, but until then, let's not hold their hands. They're intelligent people, I would imagine they can figure this out on their own.

Angela
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Old 08-17-2005, 06:29 PM   #13
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I'd have to say I agree more with Moonlit Angel..for this and many other reasons, count me in with the soldly anti-Bush, anti-war camp. But any discussion of the home front (anything to do with politics at home, protest, US casualties etc) are for other established threads. This, I'm hoping, will stick more with what is happening in Iraq proper.

Dreadsox, I didn't know you were a Revolution scholar! So now, we can go to you for answers! I don't have to read anymore. I have a friend who lives in Plymouth, and one day she took me to Plymouth Rock. It didn't impress me, really. Too touristy. The old section of Boston, while also touristy, impressed me more.

I live in Albany, NY, which is just as old as Boston, has just as much of a history, and also has some of the last surviving American pre-19th century architecture around. Albany is small, but the downtown area and the Dutch area north of the city is just as it was in the beginning. I esp got a kick out of seeing Freeman's Farm some yrs back. I was a history minor in college, interested in the Ottoman Empire (due to my family history), the 1600's Quebec French era, and the 30 yrs between 1845-1875. Also, the French Revolution (which I think the Iraqi one is going to end up looking more like in about 5 yrs time.) But my interest in the Revolution--which I did not know at the time that Albany and the areas north of had played apart in-- began 5 yrs ago when I took a daylong cruise up Lake George (or, as I call it by the Iroquios name, "Atianterocte") and passed by the sheer enscarpment on the mountain where Fort Ticonderoga is. Well, after hearing about that battle, and General forgot his name, begins with a B, his march through the forest to the mouth of the Hudson...I was hooked...the guide told us the inaccurate legend about the colonial soldier who supposedly slid down that entire sheer cliff to escape the pursuing Redcoats....all legend of course!

I wasn't going to be on here again, didn't think I'd have a free minute..but have to go. I'll dig around my closet and see what I can come up with as far as the parties are concerned. I love ME politics. This must be the product of a diseased mind, I know

Back tomorrow....
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Old 08-17-2005, 06:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Teta040

Dreadsox, I didn't know you were a Revolution scholar! So now, we can go to you for answers! I don't have to read anymore. I have a friend who lives in Plymouth, and one day she took me to Plymouth Rock. It didn't impress me, really. Too touristy. The old section of Boston, while also touristy, impressed me more.

I live in Albany, NY, which is just as old as Boston, has just as much of a history, and also has some of the last surviving American pre-19th century architecture around. Albany is small, but the downtown area and the Dutch area north of the city is just as it was in the beginning. I esp got a kick out of seeing Freeman's Farm some yrs back. I was a history minor in college, interested in the Ottoman Empire (due to my family history), the 1600's Quebec French era, and the 30 yrs between 1845-1875. Also, the French Revolution (which I think the Iraqi one is going to end up looking more like in about 5 yrs time.) But my interest in the Revolution--which I did not know at the time that Albany and the areas north of had played apart in-- began 5 yrs ago when I took a daylong cruise up Lake George (or, as I call it by the Iroquios name, "Atianterocte") and passed by the sheer enscarpment on the mountain where Fort Ticonderoga is. Well, after hearing about that battle, and General forgot his name, begins with a B, his march through the forest to the mouth of the Hudson...I was hooked...the guide told us the inaccurate legend about the colonial soldier who supposedly slid down that entire sheer cliff to escape the pursuing Redcoats....all legend of course!

I wasn't going to be on here again, didn't think I'd have a free minute..but have to go. I'll dig around my closet and see what I can come up with as far as the parties are concerned. I love ME politics. This must be the product of a diseased mind, I know

Back tomorrow....
General Burgoine maybe?

Plymouth Rock....makes the town a LOT of money!
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Old 08-17-2005, 06:35 PM   #15
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Exactly. That's the thing that's bothered me for a while with this whole Iraq thing. If they want a democracy, great! All for that. But I'd want to be sure it's what they want, and not what we want them to have. I mean, the way things have been sounding, it seems like we just assumed they wanted a democracy and are "mentoring" them through the process-and we didn't even get their input on what government they wanted. And I think they and they alone should fully work on building up their government-if they ask for our help, we can help them, but until then, let's not hold their hands. They're intelligent people, I would imagine they can figure this out on their own.

Angela
I agree about the hand-holding thing I suppose, but I think the sheer number of people who turned out to vote suggests they do *want* a democracy. I think most people in this world would like to live in a democracy. Assuming they would like to be ruled and oppressed like sheep is really a greater insult to their intelligence than "hand-holding."
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