Below this posting is Kline's newsletter referring to the draft Iraq constitution...
Pretending all is well in Iraq doesn't make it so...just like saying 'all Iraqis will be deemed equal', doesn't make it so. Unlike other established democracies the Iraq draft constitution doesn't act as the supreme law of the land. The second article of the draft constitution says it all: even if it is passed, the rule of Islam will still rank higher. Islamic law trumps all other laws, controlling everyone...especially women. Females are forbidden to have a passport or travel without a family male escort, forbidden to divorce without permission from a husband (rarely granted), and are still beaten for wearing bare arms in 90 degree plus heat! Because of this the constitution lacks the necessary elements to establish equal rights.
I guess Mr. Kline needs to define what he means by 'freedom of'. If the constitution was 'democratic' then it would be a secular not religious government. Only then, will women be equal and will Iraq become a functioning democracy (if ever). I would add that without electricity, clean water, jobs, roads and health care, a constitution will change little (if anything). This is just another neo-con 'spin' to legitimize a failed pre-emptive war and the continued occupation and planned expansion. Saying freedom six times in five paragraphs doesn't make it so. Iraqi freedom can't be forced at the end of an American gun.
I have followed an Iraqi blog (http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/) since it's inception in 2003 (2 months after 'the end' of the Iraqi war). An Iraqi women, calling herself Riverbend who offers searing eyewitness accounts of the everyday matters with her analysis on the politics behind events. She recounts stories of life in an occupied city of neighbors whose home are raided by U.S. troops, whose relatives disappear into prisons, and whose children are kidnapped by money-hungry militias. She also describes a once-secular city where women are now afraid to leave their homes without head covering and a male escort. She focuses especially on the fate of women, whose rights and freedoms have fallen victim to rising fundamentalism's in the chaotic post-war society. I would encourage all of you to read through her postings and see her analyst of the new constitution and what it means for women who make up 60% of Iraq,
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Kline's Corner: An E-mail Newsletter
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2005 11:32:34 -0400
On Saturday, October 15, the Iraqi people will take an important step toward achieving complete sovereignty as they participate in a democratic vote on their draft Constitution. This document, drafted by representatives elected by the Iraqi people in January of this year, protects human equality and rights; establishes checks, balances, and the separation of powers; and sets parameters to ensure Iraq remains a free and independent nation.
Under the draft Constitution, all Iraqis will be deemed equal before the law, without discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, origin, color, religion, belief, or economic and social status. In addition, the full range of political, civil, economic, social, and cultural rights are protected, including freedom of speech and expression, freedom of the press, freedom of thought, and freedom of religious beliefs and practice. In fact, the Iraqi Constitution’s protection of religious freedom will be one of the most progressive in the Muslim world – defining Islam as one, not the fundamental source of religion. The provision and protection of these rights, which are too often taken for granted in the United States, represent a major victory for the men and women of Iraq
To ensure the new government remains a participatory democracy, the Iraqi Constitution establishes checks, balances, and the separation of powers. A President and Prime Minister will share power over the executive functions of government. An elected Council of Representatives with primary authority over legislative functions will share power with the executive branch. The full right of judicial review and power to enforce the Constitution will rest with a fully independent Iraqi judiciary.
Finally, a strong federal government will ensure Iraq remains unified and democratic. Political power will be exercised solely through Iraq’s elected representatives, chosen every four years on the basis of free, fair, direct, and universal elections. These federal representatives will retain control over key sovereign functions – national defense, foreign policy, fiscal policy – and the oil and gas resources belonging to all Iraqis. New regions will be allowed to form, but only under procedures established by the next National Assembly and in a deliberate manner consistent with the federal Constitution.
I am optimistic about the outcome of this weekend’s Constitutional referendum and the promise of freedom it holds for the people of Iraq and global community