Sunday, August 14, 2005


Iraq? Yes, we're going off topic for just a moment -- just to show that I'm a well-rounded person not trapped in single issue politics.

Isn't it "funny" that we invaded Iraq to fight terrorism and the threat of Saddam's chemical weapons. Except that there weren't any terrorists or chemical weapons in Iraq when we invaded. But there are now.

And weren't our goals in Iraq (once we realized there were no WMDs) to establish a model new democracy, funded by a self-supporting oil industry, and based on a society where people have personal security and a functioning economy?


The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."


Luckily, things are quieting down over there:

Killings of members of the Iraqi security force have tripled since January. Iraq's ministry of health estimates that bombings and other attacks have killed 4,000 civilians in Baghdad since Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari's interim government took office April 28.

Last week was the fourth-worst week of the whole war for U.S. military deaths in combat, and August already is the worst month for deaths of members of the National Guard and Reserve.

Attacks on U.S. convoys by insurgents using roadside bombs have doubled over the past year, Army Brig. Gen. Yves Fontaine said Friday. Convoys ferrying food, fuel, water, arms and equipment from Kuwait, Jordan and Turkey are attacked about 30 times a week, Fontaine said.

Well, at least people are living better now than before we invaded, right?
The most thoroughly dashed expectation was the ability to build a robust self-sustaining economy. We're nowhere near that. State industries, electricity are all below what they were before we got there," said Wayne White, former head of the State Department's Iraq intelligence team who is now at the Middle East Institute. "The administration says Saddam ran down the country. But most damage was from looting [after the invasion], which took down state industries, large private manufacturing, the national electric" system.
And finally, there's the fate of women in the newly forming modern democracy Islamic Republic of Iraq. After all, didn't President Bush just say the other day:
The way to defeat "a hateful ideology" in Iraq and elsewhere, the president said, is to promote "a hopeful ideology" that says to young girls, for example, "you can succeed in your society and you should have a chance to do so . . . that says to moms and dads, you can raise your child in a peaceful world without intimidation . . . that says to people from all walks of life, you have a right to express yourself in the public square."
So things going according to plan there too?
The current draft of Iraq's constitution, which is expected to be finalized by Monday, is a threat to women's human rights worldwide.

In the most dangerous provision in the draft, Article 14, Iraq's 1959 personal status laws would be replaced with Shariah, or Islamic law. Such a move would roll back five decades of struggle by the Iraqi women's movement as well as dash hopes for democratic secularism in the country.

If passed, Article 14 could give self-appointed religious clerics the authority to sanction Iraqi women, including denying them the rights to freedom of movement and travel, inheritance and child custody.

Clerics - and others - could interpret religious law to legalize forced marriages, nonconsensual polygamy, compulsory religious dress, domestic abuse, execution by stoning as punishment for female adultery and public flogging of women for disobeying religious rules.

The 1959 laws are among the most progressive in the Middle East and an important victory won by the Iraqi women's movement. They apply to all Iraqis. The new constitution would allow different laws to be applied to different people, depending on gender and religious affiliation.
So why are we there? We're there because we're there. We bought it, we own it. Stay the course.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program