Iraq Constitution- Guess Who The Big Losers Are Right Now?

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has a translation of the draft version of the new Iraqi Constitution. The translation is done by Nathan Brown, who offers the following caution when viewing the current version:

The draft is obviously a work in progress. While the authors occasionally wax poetic- referring at one point to the “talons of ignorance, fear, and want”- other clauses are incomplete or referred to only in provisional wording (For instance the language in Article 20 about women’s representation in parliament seems to reflect the committee’s decision but not the precise language it ultimately forwarded.) Some clauses seem repetitive and few are clear.

In the translation provided below, I have attempted to be as literal as possible. The combination of rough phrasing and literal translation makes for a fairly stilted document. I am making it available, however, because I believe it accurately reflects the committee’s inclination in some important constitutional provisions. I should add a word of modesty about my translation abilities: my Arabic (though I am generally comfortable with legal and especially constitutional language).

A quick review turns up some things that I will only describe as less than perfect. Let’s see if you can’t pick them out for yourself:

Article 1

1. Anyone who has Iraqi nationality is considered an Iraqi citizen, with all rights and duties according to law.

2. An Iraqi may not be deprived of his nationality nor exiled or deported unless it is proven in a trial that he provided false essential information that resulted in his being granted nationality.

3. Any individual with another nationality (except for Israel) may obtain Iraqi nationality after a period of residency inside the borders of Iraq of not less than ten years for an Arab or twenty years for any other nationality, as long as he has good character and behavior, has no criminal judgment against him from the Iraqi authorities during the time of his residency on the territory of the Iraqi republic.

4. An Iraqi may have more than one nationality as long as the nationality is not Israeli.

The constitution doesn’t even exist and Israelis are already an enemy of the state. Fabulous. I guess the ‘talons of fear and ignorance’ proved to be irresistable, after all.

The document is also completely loaded with social welfare assurances, including a right to health care, a right to work and the state’s obligation to provide jobs, the statement that all natural resources are owned by the state, etc. The document needs some work, to put it mildly. This also stands out as unrealistic:

Article 20

3. Citizens may not own, bear, buy, or sell weapons, except by a permit issued in accordance with law.

Good luck with that one, guys. My gun carrying days are over since I left the military, but if there was ANYWHERE in the world I would refuse to live without a gun, it is Iraq for the foreseeable future.

More here.






111 replies
  1. 1

    I look forward to the day that the flag of Kurdistan is raised among the many other flags flying at United Nations Headquarters.

  2. 2
    Jimmy Jazz says:

    And this is surprising because?

    Shi’ite superstate, baby.

  3. 3
    John S. says:

    Ah, the seeds of Democracy that we have planted in the Middle East surely are flourishing…

    Unfortunately, the Bush administration thought they had planted geraniums, and they turned out to be venus fly traps.

  4. 4
    gratefulcub says:

    Of course Israel is an enemy of the state, did anyone expect anything less. I realize that the original dream was to install Chalabi as president, and have Iraq normalize a peaceful relationship with Israel, but that dream is dead and was never possible. Israel will be an enemy of the people of the ME for at least a generation after the Palestinian people have their own sovereign state. And, you can’t be a Muslim citizen of Israel, so I don’t see the difference. I am not saying that either Israel or the new Iraqi Constitution are ethically defensible, but this shouldn’t be a surprise, it was predictable.

    And, all the oil should be owned by the state. The oil revenue would allow the state to put social welfare systems in place. Why should American and European oil companies reap the benefits of Iraqi oil, instead of the Iraqi people. Why would we expect the Iraqis to embrace free market philosophies that allow foreign entities to buy, control and profit from their one resource. That would only happen if we wrote the thing for them.

    Obviously, some of the social programs you mentioned are a bit overboard and unobtainable.

    There are many problems with the current constitution, but those aren’t the big ones to me. What about civil law being decided by Sharia law? Women’s civil liberties will be rolled back to something worse than living under SH, and that is an extremely low bar to squeeze under.

  5. 5
    Nikki says:

    And is it surprising that 3 Sunnis who were helping to draft it have been assassinated and now the other 13 are considering dropping out?

  6. 6
    Jeff says:

    jeez, that stuff about Israel is sick. Who’d have thunk that Cynthia McKinney was helping write the Iraqi constitution.

  7. 7
    John S. says:

    And, you can’t be a Muslim citizen of Israel, so I don’t see the difference.

    Actually, I do see a difference. According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website, there is no law that prevents Muslims from obtaining citizenship. Jews, of course, are given preferential treatment under the Law of Return, but there is nothing that bars Muslims.

    I’m not really sure where you came up with this.

  8. 8
    space says:

    Yeah, well, those who live in glass houses and all that.

    It would appear that the Iraqi constitution is more favorable to every person on the planet (other than Israelis) than the U.S. Constitution is to Mexicans.

  9. 9
    BinkyBoy says:

    This is satire, right?

  10. 10
    gratefulcub says:

    I shouldn’t have said, Muslims CAN’T be citizens, I don’t actually know the Israeli law.

    BUT, there are millions of Palestinians, born in Palestine, that is occupied by Israel, that are not citizens of Israel. They can’t vote. If they could easily become citizens and vote, the government would be ~45% Arab Muslim, and would become a majority within a generation. Instead it is something around 0%. It is a state that very much resembles the former South Africa.

    Regardless of what the law on the books is, I stand behind the spirit of my point. Neither should discriminate based on ethnicity or country of origin, but both will or do. And, it shouldn’t be surprising.

  11. 11
    Rick says:

    Sigh. About what one must expect from the culture of Araby.

    And, increasingly, France.

    Cordially…

  12. 12
    goy says:

    Looking back to June 21, I’m reminded that this is one of the parts of the process in Iraq for which Annan has taken credit, in his attempts to draw fire away from his incompetence with respect to O-F-F.

    It certainly shows.

  13. 13
    John Newquist says:

    “there are millions of Palestinians, born in Palestine, that is occupied by Israel, that are not citizens of Israel. They can’t vote. If they could easily become citizens and vote, the government would be ~45% Arab Muslim, and would become a majority within a generation. Instead it is something around 0%. It is a state that very much resembles the former South Africa.”

    Assuming they want to be citizens of Israel, and want to vote, and are willing to take the risk of being killed by those palestinians who want to see the state of Israel destroyed, you’re quite correct.

    You just have to make a lot of unstated assumptions to get there.

    John

  14. 14
    Rick says:

    According to this, there are nine Arab members of the Knesset.

    Gee…freely and openly elected Arab representatives in a legislative assembly. Now Iraq will make–what?–two ME nations with such freedoms?

    Cordially…

  15. 15
    gratefulcub says:

    Assuming they want to be citizens of Israel, and want to vote, and are willing to take the risk of being killed by those palestinians who want to see the state of Israel destroyed, you’re quite correct.

    If they had the choice, this would matter, but they don’t. You are correct, they don’t want to be citizens of Israel. But, if they were natural born citizens as the israelis are, they would soon be a majority in that nation. They could control the government, and Israel would cease to exist. That is why Israel has to give up the west bank and allow Palestinians to have their own state. They will soon be a minority within their own country.

    Of course Palestinians want to see Israel destroyed. Most Arabs and Muslims want to see Israel destroyed. But, most of them feel that way because there are millions of Arabs living under occupation in Israel. When that occupation ends, a generation removed, then only the fringe and extremist will be wanting and fighting for the destruction of Israel.

    Just a quick poll….does anyone support the occupation of Palestine?

  16. 16
    Jay C says:

    Gee, how nice to know this… that the US has, to date, spent several hundred billion dollars of its treasure, and the blood of 1700+ American soldiers (and counting), so that that a “democratic” government of Iraq can enshrine cheapjack antisemitism and anti-Israel propaganda into its proposed new Constitution! What a splendid breakthrough in Dear Leader’s Great War on Terror! Huzzah!

    At least now, one hopes, the war critics won’t have the “Likudnik-neocons-doing-it-all-for Israel line to flog?

  17. 17
    Tim F says:

    You don’t just have to be Israeli! Women lose too.

  18. 18
    p.lukasiak says:

    just consider this the snarky Schadenfreude-ist comment everyone expects from me, but I’m too lazy at the moment to compose

  19. 19

    It’s only the Bill of Rights, not the entire Constitution.

  20. 20
    Mike S says:

    I linked to this LA Times story in an earlier thread today. It says that every section of the new Iraqi constitution is being re-written to include Islamic law.

    …Women’s rights would also be affected by language stating that women would have the same rights as men as long as there is no conflict with Islamic law.

    Similar language on Islamic law is being added to every provision in the constitution after a push by Muslim clerics to emphasize Iraq’s identity as an Islamic state.

    That probably would mean a return to the practice, common in Persian Gulf nations, of having matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance adjudicated by religious courts.

    Under that system Sunnis, Shiites and Christians would have separate courts to deal with such matters.

    Under Islamic law, daughters inherit a lesser share of their fathers’ wealth than sons do, and divorce is easy for men, who can simply say three times that they divorce a woman to accomplish it. Women, on the other hand, must go through an elaborate and often embarrassing presentation of domestic circumstances with a cleric.

    In practice, women’s comfort with religious courts depends on their religious background and the views of the individual clerics approached by their families. For instance, a woman in a deeply tribal or religious family may find it difficult, if not impossible, to go to a secular court because of the family reproach it would bring.

    The change would substantially alter the current law, which provides a level playing field.

    “This sends a very bad signal — it sends a signal that women’s rights are not right,” said Rajaa Khuzai, a female doctor who is also a member of the Constitutional Committee responsible for the draft constitution and has spoken up on behalf of women’s rights in the closed-door sessions. “Why go backward?”

  21. 21
    Mike S says:

    and divorce is easy for men, who can simply say three times that they divorce a woman to accomplish it.

    AKA the Wizard Of Oz law. “There’s no place like home. There’s…”

  22. 22
    DecidedFenceSitter says:

    Regarding obtaining nationality in Israel:

    These methods of obtaining Palestine citizenship differ in no essential way from the methods by which any person, Jewish or non-Jewish, can obtain citizenship under Israel’s 1952 Nationality Law (sections 3-5). Thus: (1) “Any person who, immediately before the establishment of the State, was a Palestine citizen, shall become an Israel national”; (2) “A person born whilst his father or mother is an Israel national shall be an Israel national from birth”; (3) “A person born after the establishment of the State in a place that was Israel territory on the day of his birth and who never possessed any nationality during the period between his 18th and 21st birthdays and has been an inhabitant of Israel for five consecutive years immediately preceding the day of the filing of his application”; (4) “A person of full age … may obtain Israel nationality by naturalization if … he has been in Israel for three years out of five years preceding the day of the submission of his application.”[5]

  23. 23
    KC says:

    Well, it’s supposed to be their constitution, if they want a right to healthcare, etc., they should have one, right?

  24. 24
    SomeCallMeTim says:

    Best of all are Iraq’s growing ties with Iran. If Republicans were serious about gutting useless government programs, they’d cut everyone associated with our ME policy and just outsource it to Iran; the effect appears to be the same.

    But Freedom is on the March(TM).

  25. 25
    shark says:

    Just a quick poll….does anyone support the occupation of Palestine

    I reject the terms of your question entirely…

  26. 26
    washerdreyer says:

    I am currently working for someone who attended and spoke at the Iraqi Constitutional Convention held in Detroit this weekend. There were a lot of complaints at the convention about Article 1 Section 4, and they were most certainly not exclusively from Iraqi Jews. My employer seemed optimistic about possible changes, but I don’t know if she’s right about this.

  27. 27
    ppGaz says:

    Don’t worry, be happy. All problems over there are in their last throes.

  28. 28
    John S. says:

    Are there even any Iraqi Jews left? I know I’ve encountered many here in the United States, but I recall hearing a program on NPR months back that said there were only a few dozen left in the country itself.

    Apparently, in the 1950s, Baghdad had a large and thriving Jewish population (accounts say nearly 45% of the city was Jewish). But then, in the latter half of the decade, there was an incident involving the public execution of a dozen Jews, and 95% of the poulation left the country shortly thereafter.

    I guess they are just preserving their heritage of anti-semitism.

  29. 29
    aleks says:

    gratefulcub,
    Why do you say Muslims can’t be Israeli citizens? A big chunk of the Knesset and the Israeli soccer team would be surprised, along with quite a few friends of mine.

  30. 30
    Steve says:

    Re: Article 1.3

    What exactly is an Arab. Is there a DNA test. Are Kurds –Arabs? Are Chaldeans — Arabs? Are Assyrians — Arabs? Are Turkmen — Arabs? Are Iraqi Christians — Arabs? Forget about the 91 Iraqi Jews left in Baghdad after the mass expulsions and property expropriations of the last 40 years — they are enemies in the midst. Why don’t these bigots say what they really mean we prefer Moslem Arabs to be the Iraqis of the future.

    As US taxpayers we should demand that the new constitution include a total separation of mosque and state. Equality of religion institutions, religious instruction and general protections of minorities, especially atheists. We should make sure that bigotry of any kind is prohibited. For example laws related to apostasy are incompatible with a modern, pluralist & secular state. Anything less will result in a failure of our long-term mission of democracy in the Middle East. This project is a revolution we need to drag these people kicking andf screaming into the 19th century.

  31. 31
    Shelby says:

    Clearly the Jewish Conspiracy driving US foreign policy is succeeding in its goal of reshaping the Middle East as Israel’s playground. ;-)

  32. 32
    James says:

    “Palestine” was what Israel was renamed by the Roman Empire after exiling the Jews. It was done to destroy the Jewish connection, etc. There has never been a country called Palestine, and given the dysfunctional nature of Arabs generally, and Palestinians specifically, there never will be, unless it’s called Jordan.

  33. 33
    John S. says:

    As US taxpayers we should demand that the new constitution include a total separation of mosque and state. We should make sure that bigotry of any kind is prohibited.

    I’m sorry, but how is this any of the United State’s business? I mean, I don’t recall our founders asking England what they thought about our Constitution when we wrote it. And how does a US taxpayer gain the authority to determine Iraq’s laws of self-governance?

    Perhaps you have forgotten that Iraq is a sovereign nation, and that since we have bestowed freedom and democracy on them that they should be able to make their own decisions without any external influences.

    Unless you are proposing that we take on a role to Iraq that Syria played to Lebanon for the last few decades, but somehow I thought the Bush administration was opposed to such political puppetry…

  34. 34
    matt says:

    actually, there several Arab and Muslim members of the Israeli parliament

  35. 35
    Don says:

    This is exactly the kind of thing I was worried about when the warcry was ‘democracy, democracy, democracy.’ Great, we have a government of the people and for the people… and they are backwards mysogynist racist fuckbags. At least with Hussein you only had to appease one jerkoff.

    Why are we stumping so hard for pure democracy rather than for certain, dare I say, basic inalienable human rights? I hesitate to imagine what America would be now if we hadn’t codified so many into our government, and even with what we did write down we had to fight ourselves to get over that whole owning-people thing.

    Of course expressing concerns like this isn’t acceptable while we’re insisting over and over again that this backwards irrelevant religion isn’t controlled by hateful jerkoffs. Religion of love and tolerance my ass.

  36. 36
    John S. says:

    “Palestine” was what Israel was renamed by the Roman Empire after exiling the Jews. It was done to destroy the Jewish connection

    Also, if you recall from that little book some people put so much stock in (the Bible), Palestine is merely a Romanized translation of the term Philistine. And the Philistines were the sworn enemy of the Hebrews (remember Samson?).

    Funny that they should rename the region after the most hated enemy of the Jewish people (think rubbing salt into an open wound)…and incidentally, the Philistines died out as a race several millennia ago.

  37. 37
    Eddie Graziano says:

    Just a quick poll … does anyone support the occupation of Palestine? – Shark

    My vote … Yes. Reason, no other option. Without occupation of the West Bank Israel is 9 miles wide in her mid-section. Without occupation of the West Bank they are extremely vulnerable. Remember, 3 wars to eliminate Israel were launched prior to 1967. Until Israels neighbors recognize her right to exist, or even better, stop promising her elimination, the Israelis have no choice. If they did they would be out already. The occupation of the West Bank has been nothing but grief for them.

  38. 38
    Steve says:

    Yes, Iraq is now sovereign, although not yet prepared to defend that sovereignty. Remember the old Klausewitz adage “a country always has an army — it’s own or someone elses”.

    The reason I specifically mention taxpayers is because of the nature of this war. If the war’s long-term’s goals are to create a peaceful global political system (very ambitious I know) thru a democratization of the Middle East, half measures are not acceptable. This enterprise is being done thru violent means (thousands of people dead on all sides) and the taxpayers so far have forked over $200B+ to make this project successful. Of course we have a stake in the outcome otherwise the other countries in the region will not be “encoraged” to make the appropriate modernization and democratization measures on their own, and the West will be invading a new country in the region every few years.

    Your analogy of England is not appropriate since the American Revolution was against English rule. A more appropriate example is the Japanese constitution which was imposed by Gen. McArthur which transformed this fascist state into the 2nd largest economy in the world. It did so by destroying old vestiges of divine imperial rule (and other Shinto mythology) as well as imposing by occupation liberal democratic institutions in a society which was (is) highly racist and misogynistic.

  39. 39
    GA says:

    GratefulCub

    As a former Israeli soldier, I can attest that Muslim Arabs and Christian Arabs are not only productive citizens of Israel, they serve in the IDF.

    And they are bad mamba jambas!

    And I consider them my brothers.

    You have some nerve spreading your BS Jew hating propaganda around without the simplest knowledge on the subject.

    All people like you do is spread misinformation in hopes that people will see it your way.

    Well you are wrong.

    Dead, mother-fucking wrong.

    And not only that, your type of people are ALWAYS wrong.

    ALWAYS.

  40. 40

    As US taxpayers we should demand that the new constitution include a total separation of mosque and state.

    Those changes have to come legally and from within the Iraqi political system itself. If we start forcing them to adopt our own policies, the critics who predicted that Iraq will become another puppet state, would be vindicated. These provisions that are clearly against western ideals should serve to the world, and in particular other Muslim nations, that Iraq is in fact independent from the USA.

    We’ve given them democracy and women have the right to vote. As the country progresses as it inevitably will, women can and will take action to change these laws and the people will start realising that equality good for the prosperity of their society. And sooner or later they will also realise the value in diluting the influence of the mosque.

    History has proven time and again that people, who have the opportunity to better their lives and are given a democratic platform, on balance, choose moderate ideologies.

    Baby steps mate.

  41. 41
    John S. says:

    That’s all fine and good, but you seem to be implying that because of the exorbitant cost of the war, somehow Americans own the right to dictate how Iraq draws up its Constitution. I don’t recall buying a “War Bond” that granted me the unalienable right to tell a “not yet prepared to defend their sovereignty” Iraq what they can or cannot do. I also find the parallel you draw of creating “a peaceful global political system” through “violent means” to be incredibly ironic. Was this intentionally done?

    And please, don’t get too hung up on my analogy of America seeking England’s advice on the drafting of our Constitution (although arguably we certainly used them as a model). I could have substituted any country’s name into the slot, since my only point is that when has America ever looked to another country to determine how we draft our laws? I recall some of the Supreme Court becoming very irate over tyhe mere metnion of such a thing.

  42. 42
    SoCalJustice says:

    Israel

    Population: 6.7 million (November 2003 estimate).
    Annual population growth rate: 1.39% (2003 estimate).
    Ethnic groups: Jews, 80.1% (slightly less than 5 million), non-Jews (mostly Arab), 19.9% (approximately 1.3 million) (estimates).
    Religions: Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Druze.
    Languages: Hebrew (official), Arabic (official), English, Russian.

    Not only are roughly 20% of Israeli citizens Arab, Arabic is one of two official languages of Israel.

    A sizeable percentage of those Arabs are Muslim. Many are Christian too. Many also consider themselves Palestinians – but there are over 1,000,000 Arab citizens of Israel.

  43. 43
    Steve says:

    I agree with you that it’s quite ironic and by no means guaranteed to succeed. If analyzed objectively without the preconceived notions of intra-US political considerations the foreign policy that the Bush administration has launched in the Middle East is the most radical, liberal, and interventionist foreign policy since Woodrow Wilson’s 19 points. Review his 2004 inauguration speech and you’ll see it is more ambitious than any possible humanitarian interventions done under the Clinton period (i.e., Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, Serbia, etc.)

    The issue of countries being defensive about other countries internal interference that you raise can be viewed better in the following context. Yes it’s true any country, especially its leadership and probably its people will resent dictates from foreigners. But one has to bring in a little realpolitik into the examination of this particular situation 1) the US is a hyperpower at the moment; 2) the US has ~130,000 troops preventing the government formulating this new constitution from tumbling or more likely disintegrating; 3) over the last 100 years the US has head a track-record of “non-imperialist” intervention/occupation like in Germany, Austria, Japan, Dominican Republic, Panama, etc.; 4) as the world has rapidly globalized and become interrelated what happens in the Middle-East cannot be ignored by the hyperpower (i.e., the world’s de-facto guarrantor of stability in the global system, be that called the world’s policeman or not); 5) the US has too much at stake in the long-term stability of this particular region at this particular time (spread of Islamofascism, uninterrupted world oil supply, security of partners (yes Israel) but also Turkey, the Central Asian states, Sotheastern Europe, Russia’s southern republics, etc).

    We have already way too many people hating the US for a variety of real or imagined reasons imposing the most liberal and democratizing constitution thru covert and overt US pressure on the Constitutional Assembly will not perceptably increase or decrease this animosity short-term. However, in the long-term it gives “peace a chance” to quote John Lennon. Yes I’m being ironic again.

  44. 44
    KnowBeforeYouPost says:

    gratefulcub Um… it’s not occupied Palestinian land.

    A quick glance at an historical almanac will show you that you’re repeating a well-placed piece of propoganda.

    The land that Israel gained (in a defensive war after being attacked – look it up) was Jordanian territory. Land where the Palestinians had lived for decades without being granted citizenship BY THE JORDANIANS.

    Please don’t mistake my recitation of facts for lack of compassion or love for the methods of the Israelies and others with regard to handling the refugee population.Their plight was/is miserable and they’ve not helped themselves much with their tactics…but it’s not the Israelis who first kept them from statehood – the “combined arab states” chose to do NOTHING long before the war with Israel.

    If the land was to be “given back” properly, it would be given back to Jordan.

    (But remind me again of another country who gained land in a war and ‘gave it back’ to the agressors who attacked first? I’m anxious to know the standard here.)

    King Abdullah lost some land but also got out from under a thorny political and social problem when he attacked Israel and lost his land – the land that housed HOMELESS, STATELESS PALESTINIANS -unloved and unwanted by Jordan – living on it.

    Their lives are miserable. But the land they’re getting back is Jordanian land.

    And the Israelis didn’t steal or occupy it. They beat the guys who jumped them. Maybe it’s because they’re Jews that many folks can’t see through to that fact.

  45. 45
    Michelle says:

    Gratefulcub has it exactly backwards. The whole reason the West Bank is occupied in the first place is that it was conquered during a war in which the Arab states were trying to destroy the state of Israel. The occupation is a result of their unwillingness to co-exist with Israel, not a cause.

  46. 46
    John Wesley Mooch says:

    It was long in the cards that the Iraqi government would be vehemently anti-Israel, as it was supposed to be a democracy, and so reflect the opinions of its citizens,the government would easily be tarred as being of foreign origin, and a cheap way of helping establish their bonda fides would be to be as anti-Israel as possible,Iraq will have bad problems for a long time, so why wouldn’t the government use Israel as an excuse like all the others.

  47. 47
    CaseyL says:

    First, the war was about WMDs, 9/11, and a grave/gathering/urgent threat to the US.

    Until it became clear Saddam had no WMDs, no involvement in 9/11, and wasn’t any kind of threat to the US.

    Then the war was about fighting terrorism.

    Until it became clear that the war made terrorism worse.

    Then the war was about spreading “Western-style liberty and democracy; and establishing a pro-West, pro-Israel government in Iraq.”

    Until it became clear that Iraq would democratically vote for mystery slates which listed Party names only: no candidates, and no campaigning – because it was too dangerous to list actual peoples’ names or have them campaign in public, on account of how terrorism was worse than it ever had been. The “pro-West, pro-Israel” part didn’t seem to be working out too well, either.

    Then the war was about spreading “freedom and democracy.” Of some sort.

    Until it became clear that the Iraq definition of “freedom and democracy” applies to everyone except half the population – the half of the population that happens to be female. A minor bagatelle, no doubt.

    It’s always interesting to see the pro-war contingent retroactively redefine why we went to war in Iraq.

    I look forward to the next batch of retcon justifications for the loss of 1700+ US soldiers, the loss of tens of thousands of civilians, hundreds of thousands of people orphaned and widow(er)ed and maimed, $300+ billion down the hole, the ruin of Iraq’s infrastructure, and the looting/desecration of its historical artifacts.

    I especially look forward to hearing the next batch of retcon justifications from the pro-war contingent sitting safe and happy (and, in Stormy’s case, gleefully counting her tax cut bounty) far, far away from the bloody desolation they’re so proud of.

  48. 48
    givemeabreak says:

    gratefulcub…

    If you are representative of the anti-Israeli intelligentsia, then you have made me and my fellow voices of reason very happy indeed.

    I don’t need to point out every untruth you have published – it was quickly done by all those before me. I just wanted to let you know what a service you provided all of us. I have never seen a logical argument based on facts against the existence of Isreal, and I suspect I never will. Thanks for solidifying that.

  49. 49
    John S. says:

    Casey-

    Excellent post.

    It really gives new meaning to the expression “the ends justify the means”. Then again, if the ends keep changing, how can they continue the justify the same means? Wouldn’t the means have to change as often as the ends do? Or perhaps in this case, the means are being used to justify an end…

    I have to go. I think something in my skull just ruptured.

  50. 50
    Taylor says:

    Casey’s post is actually not terribly excellent.

    Humanitarian and pro-democracy arguments for overthrowing Saddam were made repeatedly BEFORE the invasion. They were even made by Bush and Blair themselves.

    Just because arguments are cumulative does not make them contradictory. And only people who weren’t paying attention at the time pretend now that the rationales have changed.

  51. 51
    SomeCallMeTim says:

    But remind me again of another country who gained land in a war and ‘gave it back’ to the agressors who attacked first? I’m anxious to know the standard here.

    Not to get into the I/P debate here, but Germany comes to mind, as does Italy. Settlements are negotiated, and most of the land usually reverts, doesn’t it?

  52. 52
    CaseyL says:

    Taylor, if you were going to invade a country to free it, what would your planning priorities be?

    If you were planning to depose the current government and fire all 400,000 of its current armed forces, what provisions would you make for them and their replacements? And when would you make these provisions?

    What kind of alliances would you be interested in building? What kind of personnel, and how many, and with what skills sets, would be required?

    Who would you turn to for help with the planning? What would be their areas of expertise?

    How long would you take to make sure the planning was complete and all the personnel you would need were committed to the project?

    What would be your operational and deployment priorities in achieving the “liberation/stabilization/rebuilding” objectives?

    Do you consider “liberation/rebuilding” objectives to be compatible with “terrorist flypaper” objectives? Why or why not?

  53. 53
    Ted says:

    “SomeCallMeTim Says:

    “But remind me again if another country who gained land
    in a war and ‘gave it back’ to the agressors who attacked
    first? I’m anxious to know the standard here.”

    “Not to get into the I/P debate here, but Germany comes
    to mind, as does Italy.”

    Huh? Are you saying that Poland and France attacked
    Germnay FIRST? And I don’t recall that Germany
    ‘gave it back’. I seem to recall just a tad bit of
    fighting during the years – say 1939-1945. A few
    people lost their lives FORCING the Germans to
    ‘give back’ that land too.

    Well, maybe I’ll do a google and see if they have
    anything on it. :-}

    Or maybe you should read a history book. Or better yet
    read a history book with your eyes open and your mind
    engaged.

  54. 54
    Ain says:

    A logical argument based on facts against the existence of Isreal.
    I have to agree its sad that most people have not been introduced to the actual, and solid, and fact-checked history as to why the state of Isreal is unjust. As I have a history degree that has specialized in middle eastern history, let me provide one for you.

    To start, the injustices against the Arab people was not originated by the Israeli’s, but starts earlier with the British Betrayal of King Hussein in the Husayn-McMahon Correspondence. To make a long story short, Husayn was promised Greater Syria by the British. After WW1 ended, the British reneged on their promise of Greater Syria because they had given modern day syria and Lebanon to France due to the Psyches-Picot Agreement. Hence, what should today be the Muslim state of Greater Syria, which indludes modern day Isreal, Lebanon, Syria, and parts of Iraq and Egypt became a forgotten dream becase the Brits are cagey dingbats that have always stabbed the Middle East in the Back (Hyperbole perhaps, but not by much).

    Second, the next major step of injustice as to the formation of the State of Israel occurred immediately after WW2 with the Majority Plan, agreed within the United NAtions that separated Palestine into 2 separate states, 51% to the Israeli’s and 49% to the Arabs, with a small international zone of Jerusalem. Now, by 1946, the population of Palestine by Ethnic group was 1.3 million (67%) Arab and 599,922 (31%) Jewish. Now, if 31% of Palestine are ISraeli, why do they receive over 50% of Palestine? Numbers are from William Cleveland, A history of the modern middle East, p 249. Hence, the Second group that dealt great injustice to the PAlestinian arabs was the United States and the United Nations, who pursued an inherently unequal distribution of Palestine, which would ultimately be rejected by the palestinians. Now, to further demonstrate the injustice, the Majority plan of a two statesolution, that was implemented by the UN was approved over the minority plan, which advised a single statesolution. Arab states, understandably, were much more favorable for the minority plan, because they believed that with the singificant populaiton edge of Arabs, the formation of the Palestinian state would represent more a arab then Jewish character. The MAJOR reason why the Majority plan was implemented was due to intense lobbying by the United States, headed by the pro-zionist Truman. (Donald Neff, Fallen Pillars, 41).

    Furthermore, in the actual war for palestine, which was instigated because the UN plan was so unfair, the Arab forces were uncoordinated, outmanned, outgunned, and poorly equipped.

    Also, during the 1948 War, the Haganah implemented PLAN D, where Hagahan officers removed palestinian residents from land accorded to ISreal by the aborted UN Plan. This created the vast refugee problem we are still confronting today, which begs the question, is it morally correct to give Jewish refugees (from Russia, holocaust, etc)land that has been literally stolen from the indegenous population?
    And truthfully, the only land that Israeli rightfully occupiedwas land purchased from Arab absentee landowners starting in the late 1800s. Any land ‘given’ to the Isrealis by the majority UN Plan (which was not agreed to by the indegenous population) or occupied through several wars, by any moral standard cannot be defended because they inherently belong to Palestinians.

    I could go into more detail, but you get the picture. Bottom line is that the Arab-Isreali Conflict as we know it today is the consequence of the failures of previous generations to provide Jewish peoples a home (as per the balfour declaration) without trammelling upon the rights of the indengenous Palestinian population. Frankly, I see the only possible long-term solution is a single state such as the UN minority plan, comprising all of PAlestine in a bi-ethnic state. While a definiate long-term solution, real justice will only occur when two peoples learn to share a land.

    So, I admit this is long, and please criticise and respond.

    Ain

  55. 55
    Bleepless says:

    Returning to the original topic, the Iraqi government says that the supposed constitution is actually just a draft and the final one will guarantee equal rights.

  56. 56
    Sojourner says:

    Humanitarian and pro-democracy arguments for overthrowing Saddam were made repeatedly BEFORE the invasion. They were even made by Bush and Blair themselves.

    There is no way the American public would have accepted this as a reason to pull troops out of Afghanistan, and away from the search for Bin Laden, in order to invade a country that posed no near-term threat to America. Whether the Bushies included it in their list or not is irrelevant. The reality is they emphasized mushroom clouds and the possibility of another 9/11. They scared the American public into accepting the need for this war.

    And it was a lie.

  57. 57
    Mario says:

    Of course, the Left will see this Constitutional draft with blatent mysogony and anti-Jewish sentiment as the end of the democratic experiment in Iraq and proof that Bush only succeeded in spreading more authoritarianism and bigotry. However, compared to Saddam’s regime, this is as democratic and classically liberal as the Middle East can get. Ironic that the Left wasn’t concerned about Iraq’s human rights violations while Saddam was in power.

  58. 58
    Sojourner says:

    Ironic that the Left wasn’t concerned about Iraq’s human rights violations while Saddam was in power.

    Well this is certainly a strange statement. After all, Hussein did the bulk of his extermination work while having friend of US status with Republican presidents. But let’s ignore the facts and blame the libs.

  59. 59
    SomeCallMeTim says:

    Ted:

    I didn’t match up the response to the exact question, but I mean that Germany and Italy were the aggressors, lost land to the Allies, and were given it back. I’d have thought that the implied parallel was obvious; I was wrong.

  60. 60
    John S. says:

    Humanitarian and pro-democracy arguments for overthrowing Saddam were made repeatedly BEFORE the invasion.

    This is a complete farce. Perhaps the humanitarian angle was mentioned in the runup to war, but the bill of goods sold to the American public was WMD, 9/11 and imminent threat. To suggest otherwise is quite an incredible feat of revisionist history.

    Just because arguments are cumulative does not make them contradictory.

    An interesting theory, this “cumulative” argument. The very notion of such a thing may not imply a contradiction, but it certainly does point to an argument where the basis of the argument metamorphizes over time, and such was the case.

    The American public had this spectre of doom beat into them over and over again. That is how we were convinced this war was a good thing. But as each rationale began to unravel, a new reason was given to us to justify the war. This is not so much a case of a cumulative argument as it is a case of changing the argument (or moving the goalposts).

    It is something the Bush administration does well, and often. Only someone who truly isn’t paying attention can have this fact escape them.

  61. 61
    trueofvoice says:

    There are one million Muslim Arab citizens of Israel, out of a population of 6.5 million. That’s about one million more Arabs possessing Israeli citizenship than Jews possessing citizenship in Arab countries.

  62. 62
    John S. says:

    Ironic that the Left wasn’t concerned about Iraq’s human rights violations while Saddam was in power.

    What is really ironic is that Reagan was in power during the time in which the majority of humans rights violations occurred in Iraq. Nobody on the right seemed to care at all, hell, we were doing a brisk arms trade with them the entire time.

    Nobody on the right seemed to care about the humans rights violations that occurred when Bush Sr. was in office, either. Not even after the first Iraq War did the conservatives in power seem to think Saddam was important enough to topple (only rescuing the oil fields people of Kuwait was important).

    But magically, over a decade later, the conservatives were absolutely outraged over abuses that they could should have done something about 10 – 20 years ago, but didn’t.

    There is the real irony.

  63. 63
    givemeabreak says:

    Ain,

    A much better, less inflammatory case. I still don’t buy it, though, and it won’t move anyone.

    I suspect some of your facts are right, although I would hardly call Truman “pro-Zionist”. Recall that the USSR was just as quick as the US to recognize Israel. It was more worry about a sphere of influence, rather than his “Zionism”, that led him to quick recognition. That and being worn down by (understandably) desperate Jewish leaders who had felt unsafe everywhere else in the world.

    Recall also that many Arab residents were in then Palestine because of opportunities that Jewish capital provided. Some were deported, and that was wrong. 900,000 Jews were deported from Arab countries in the 1940’s and 1950’s, but I bet you didn’t know that. Why? Because they are not refugees. Perhaps Israel could have gained from their refugee status by making well-meaning Westerners feel bad for them, but I think there was pride involved.

    BTW, who is “indigenous” to Palestine? When I think of indiginous, I think of Australian Aborigines (40,000 years). Well, we don’t need to go back too far…say, 2000 years, and there were loads of Jews there. Jews were booted by Romans, Romans booted by Greeks, Greeks by ?, …, … booted by Muslims. Also, Jews did some booting in their time to occupy Judea and Samaria (Canaanites, etc. – where are they?). So, as PJ O’Rourke says, what happens when someone gets thrown out of their house, stays away for a very long time, and suddenly shows up one day and wants it back?

    A single, bi-national state is unacceptable and defeats the purpose of Israel. After the Pogroms and the Shoah, Jewish people who choose to live in Israel do so because they have no faith in non-Jewish government to protect them when the chips are down. The solution to this conflict lies in 2 states, separated by high walls. Once the hot blood cools off, in a generation or so, then the walls can come down and perhaps all involved can get on with their lives and be the economic engine that they have the potential to be.

    These 2 people, who are more similar to each other than they care to acknowledge, will learn to line in peace amongst each other. They’ve done it before, they’ll do it again. But so long as Israelis and Jews are automatically demonized as they were in this Constitution, then there will be problems.

    Sorry, long as well…

  64. 64
    Jimmy Jazz says:

    Ironic that the Left wasn’t concerned about Iraq’s human rights violations while Saddam was in power.

    More ironic? Ambassador “Nun Killer” Negroponte teaching those Iraqis how we used to do it in El Salvador.

    More? Gitmo loving Conservatives who have run out of bullshit excuses for their disastrous war trying to beat liberals over the head with “humanitarian justifications”

  65. 65
    Ari says:

    This is most likely due to the fact that peoples of Muslim countries cannot become Israeli citizens. This includes non-Arab countries such as Malaysia and Pakistan.

    Seems like a tit-for-tat measure. Though I don’t know why anyone would want to leave Israel and live in Iraq.

  66. 66
    John S. says:

    This is most likely due to the fact that peoples of Muslim countries cannot become Israeli citizens. This includes non-Arab countries such as Malaysia and Pakistan.

    Where does this absolute nonsense come from? There have already been several citations of Israeli law on this thread – as well as links – that clearly show that ANYONE can become an Israeli citizen. Muslims, Malaysians, Pakistanis – there are no exclusions on the basis of ethnicity or religion.

    And yet some people keep stating otherwise. It boggles the mind.

  67. 67
    Arizonan says:

    [quote]It would appear that the Iraqi constitution is more favorable to every person on the planet (other than Israelis) than the U.S. Constitution is to Mexicans. [/quote]

    The US Constitution nowhere discriminates against Mexicans. The US welcomes legal Mexican immigration and the attainment of citizenship by legal Mexican immigrants. Your “blame-America-first-ism” is showing, space.

  68. 68
    Roland Buck says:

    One of the most absurd delusions of the neoconserative ideologues was that if we invaded Iraq, a government would emerge that would normalize relations with Israel. Anyone with any real understanding of middle eastern politics knew that this was an absurd belief. If the Iraqi government we are currently propping up survives it will be hostile to Israel. In addition, it will be a close ally of Iran. The real victor of the Bush policy with respect to the middle east is Iran. We got rid of their enemy, the Taliban, for them in Afghanistan and we got rid of Saddam Hussein for them in Iraq. One could almost suspect that the Neocons are actually Iranian agents. However, total cluelessness and incompence provides a better explanation.

  69. 69
    Hyperion says:

    [quote]Now, by 1946, the population of Palestine by Ethnic group was 1.3 million (67%) Arab and 599,922 (31%) Jewish. Now, if 31% of Palestine are ISraeli, why do they receive over 50% of Palestine?[/quote]

    Ok, because you claim to have a degree in history, I’m not going to chalk this up to ignorance, but accuse you of being purposefully disingenuous.

    As you must well know, the area referenced as “Palestine” in that survey was the “Palestinian Mandate,” an area administered by Britain that comprised what is now Israel and Jordan.

    And the actual plan separated the Palestinian Mandate along roughly 66%-33% Arab-Israeli, as any glance at Israel and Jordan on a map will no doubt confirm for you. So your real rhetorical question should be: If Jews represented 31% of the population, why did they get ~33% of the land?

    But then again, the entire point was rather disingenuous, since population layout is far more important than actual population. The areas under Israeli control are mostly Jewish, the areas under Jordanian control are mostly Arab. The Palestinian territories are pretty much a demilitarized zone, and if you want to pin the blame for that on someone, blame the Syrians for using the area to shell Jerusalem and then as an invasion route in 1967. And I find it amusing that people blame the anti-Israeli sentiments on the occupation of Palestine. Israel did not occupy that land until 1967, at which point they had already been invaded twice by multi-national Arab armies.

    But back to the previous point: Would they apply these citizenship requirements to Israeli Arabs? Granted, most Arabs would look upon Israeli Arabs with scorn, but suppose that an Israeli Arab applied for Iraqi citizenship, would he be bound by these restrictions? And if he would not be bound by these restrictions, then how is this different than just hanging a big sign at the Iraqi border saying “No Jews allowed?”

  70. 70
    ascott says:

    A brief note on the UN Partition of Palestine in 1947:

    When the Western part of the Palestine Mandate (Transjordan, the eastern part, having been severed in 1922), the UN gave slightly over 50% to the Jews, and slightly under 50% to the Arabs, while Jerusalem was declared an international zone.

    Hyperion is correct to note that the argument that the Jews, who comprised a minority of the population, got a slight majority of the land, is disingenuous, if not entirely facetious. First of all, the majority of the land the Jews got was in Negev desert, while most of the populated land (the Western Galilee and the West Bank), went to the Arabs. Secondly, it is simply bizarre to say that land is divvied up pro-rata based on the number of inhabitants. Where does this come from? Russia has 130 million people, yet comprises 1/6 of the land on earth, while Japan has 150 million, and occupies land the size of, well, Japan. Political geography is decided based on where people live, not persons per square meter.

    Anyway, it should be noted that the UN plan was a nullity, anyway, as the Arab states rejected it (as did the Mufti of Jerusalem, the closest thing the Palestinians had to a government). Modern Israel is based on the land the Jews held/captured in 1948-49, which roughly corresponded to what the UN partition plan looked like, insofar as it had originally conformed to the demographics of the area. The Palestinans were supposed to have created a state as well, but because the West Bank was occupied (and annexed) by Jordan, and Gaza occupied (but not annexed) by Egypt, that never happened.

    A few more corrections: in fairness to Jordan, Jordan did allow Palestinians to become citizens (the majority of the Jordanian population today, in fact, is Palestinian), but Egypt didn’t. Israel never expelled the Palestinians (indeed, if they were trying to, they did an awful job, as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians remained and became Israeli citizens after the state was founded). However, much of the Palestinian population fled the Jewish-occupied areas, as people frequently do during wars, and Israel refused to permit those that wanted to return to do so. However, Israel (until last year), had no discriminatory policies against letting Muslims become citizens, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have chosen to become Israeli citizens over the past half-century.

    The rest of the middle east remains “Jew free” today, largely due to a combination of Israel encouraging immigration, and massive discrimination and poverty in Arab states. In Iraq, this amounted basically to “ethnic cleansing” (but not genocide) in the 1950’s, as the entire Jewish population was forced to relocate to Israel.

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with the Iraqi constitution being anti-semitic. They are welcome to do with their country as they please. We went in because of a perception there were WMDs, we were wrong, and we should leave. I suspect the Iraqi government will become a lot more competent and fighting the insurgency when they realize the Americans aren’t going to rescue them.

  71. 71
    maor says:

    “there are millions of Palestinians, born in Palestine, that is occupied by Israel, that are not citizens of Israel. They can’t vote.”

    Not true. They live in the Palestinian Authority and can vote in Palestinian Authority elections.
    Palestinians who live in Israel proper can vote in Israeli elections.
    Perhaps this is unfair, but I don’t see why.

    “If they could easily become citizens and vote, the government would be ~45% Arab Muslim, and would become a majority within a generation. Instead it is something around 0%.”

    Sure, 16% is something around 0%.

    “I shouldn’t have said, Muslims CAN’T be citizens, I don’t actually know the Israeli law.”

    Good point.

    “Regardless of what the law on the books is, I stand behind the spirit of my point.”

    Yeah, Muslims can and are Israeli citizens, provided they, you know, actually live in Israel, and not in the PA, an entity which is currently at war with Israel, in which case they are politely requested to vote in PA elections, but since this is obviously just like South Africa, except that blacks in South Africa couldn’t vote whereas Israeli Arabs can vote, you were right about the SPIRIT of things.

  72. 72
    Don Surber says:

    Does the “debate” over the beginning of the war ever end? It is obsessive and boring. We have not perfected time machines. Is the goal now to sabotage reconstruction (as the Baathist Sunnis prefer — they walked out) or to actually help the Iraqis succeed? I would suggest we do what’s best for Iraqis.
    This Bill of Rights reflects what they want. Our original Bill of Rights not only allowed slavery, but allowed racial discrimination

  73. 73
    scs says:

    Very educational on the creation of Israel by the way. I had just learned recently that a significant population of Jews lived there before it was created last century. Never knew what percent according to land before.

  74. 74
    scs says:

    I have one more thing to add to the usual played out argument.

    (Rightie) I find it funny that Lefties who are supposed to be SO interested in human rights, but they could have cared less about the Iraqi human rights under Saddam.

    (Leftie) Well the worst human rights occurred when the Americans were coddling Saddam and the U.S. and Republican presidents gave him friend of US status. Oh the hypocrisy of it all…

    Next Line…

    (Centrist) Well Leftie, even if that were true and the Republicans coddled Saddam, does that still mean that Lefties couldn’t have protested Saddam anyway? Since when do Lefties feel they can’t complain about US actions? The protests I heard from the Left during Saddams heydey were about as deafening as a whisper. Where was all the concern for human rights? Oh the hypocrisy of it all…

  75. 75
    John S. says:

    Our original Bill of Rights not only allowed slavery, but allowed racial discrimination

    I don’t neccessarily think this is the case. Our Bill of Rights doesn’t explicitly spell out acquiesence for racial discrimination or slavery.

    But neither did it explicitly prohibit racial discrimination or slavery, which is where ammenedments come in handy.

    This is only a minor distinction, and the intent of your point is well taken. It’s a process.

  76. 76
    John S. says:

    The protests I heard from the Left during Saddams heydey were about as deafening as a whisper. Where was all the concern for human rights?

    The protests I heard from the Centrists during Saddam’s heydey were about as deafening as a whisper. Where was all the concern for human rights from anyone, really?

    Oh the hypocrisy of it all…

  77. 77
    scs says:

    Thats true – but centrists never got into the fight. The left is supposed to do the human rights thing- they were the most expected to do or say something about it.

  78. 78
    Tim says:

    KnowBeforeYouPost has it exactly right. The land “occupied” by Israel was actually part of then “Trans-Jordan.” There were no Arab League summits demanding that Jordan grant indepence to “Palestinians.” Not a peep from the Arab world when King Hussein exterminated 20,000 Palestinians in western Jordan in a pro-independence uprising in the early 1970s; more than have ever been killed by Israel I might add. No word from the Arab world when Kuwait expelled 750,000 Palestinians for being “pro-Saddam” during and after the first Gulf War. Palestine was a British Mandate long before the state of Israel was born. The current conflicts arose from borders drawn by the British and faux monarchies installed to protect their trade routes. The Palestinian “plight” is merely a convenient distraction for rogue Arab rulers who oppress their own people. Israel has fought every war in defense of its very existence. The mass exodus of Palestinians upon the birth of the Jewish State was VOLUNTARY. They REFUSED to co-exist with the Jews and now they want “their” land back? History is not kind to those who repeatedly attack their neighbors and lose.

  79. 79

    […] Here’s a translated excerpt (via John Cole): Article 1 […]

  80. 80
    Sojourner says:

    couldn’t have protested Saddam anyway? Since when do Lefties feel they can’t complain about US actions? The protests I heard from the Left during Saddams heydey were about as deafening as a whisper. Where was all the concern for human rights? Oh the hypocrisy of it all…

    I know I can find a way to twist this around and blame the lefties. If I just work hard enough…. I know it’s the lefties’ fault. It’s always the lefties’ fault. Keep focused. I know there’s a way….

  81. 81
    Sojourner says:

    Does the “debate” over the beginning of the war ever end? It is obsessive and boring.

    Representative government requires that its leaders be accountable. So no, it will never end until it’s resolved nor should it.

  82. 82

    People’s ignorance, fear, paranoia and hate never cease to amaze me. There is more genetic diversity in a “family” of 50 chimpanzees than exist within the entire human race. The differences between us are so amazingly slight, it makes all this prejudice, justified by some religious garbage, truly disgusting. We can only hope that somehow humanity will find a way to conquer it.

  83. 83
    Heeblewenzinko D'Foogy says:

    Ain,

    Admittedly I haven’t read your entire post arguing against Israel’s existence. But I got to one point and had to respond before moving on. You argue that the partition was unjust because the Jewish Palestinians were given 51% of the land even though the Arab Palestinians outnumbered them. What you fail to note is that the area designated for the Jews included the Negev desert which is largely unsuitable for large populations. What I’m getting at is that you can’t just look at the relative amounts of land without considering land quality.

  84. 84
    Gor says:

    I generally applaud the corrections that people have been posting in response to “gratfulcub” but let’s try to stay as accurate as possible. At least one Arab Israeli war (the 6 day war) was launched by the Israeli’s. That is the war during which they took the West Bank. So the statement that the West Bank was “land that Israel gained (in a defensive war after being attacked – look it up)” is pushing accuracy to its limit. Some argue that the Israeli’s were justified in making a preemptive strike during that war but it is not a completely unreasonable to argue that it was an offensive rather than a defensive war. At the very least it is ambiguous compared to all the other wars where Israel’s neighbors were clearly the aggressors.

  85. 85
    Josh Martin says:

    This may have been covered already, but the nation-state system has, does, and likely always will recognize that a victorious invading power has a valid claim on the land they “occupy.”

    Any American who believes that Israel does not have a valid claim to all territory occupied during ’67 and is NOT willing to give up what land they own to whatever Native American tribe that occupied it before the Anglo invasion of North America is a hypocrite or intellectually dishonest.

    Josh

  86. 86
    Josh Martin says:

    Gor, I don’t have time to get into events leading up to the ’67 war, but the Arab states (Egypt, in particular) engaged in several acts traditionally considered causus belli, including the blockade of an Israeli port (the name of which escapes me). Oren’s Six Days of War is fairly comprehensive on this point. Israel may have launched the first broad offensive of the war, but it by no means started it.

  87. 87
    Heeblewenzinko D'Foogy says:

    Josh Martin is right about the beginning of the 1967 war. I would, however, like to elaborate (and in so doing, repeat. Forgive me, Josh).

    Egypt (with a bit of a push from the USSR) started the 6-Day war with actions including a naval blockade. Israel urged Jordan to stay out. Jordan, believing the false propoganda aired on Egyptian radio (that Egyptian armies were on the verge of taking Tel Aviv, etc.), attacked Israel and lost what now comprises the majority of the disputed territories.

  88. 88
    Heeblewenzinko D'Foogy says:

    Regarding the beginning of the current round of the Iraq war, John S. wrote “the bill of goods sold to the American public was WMD, 9/11 and imminent threat.” That’s not accurate. In the 2003 (? perhaps it was 2002 — I’m not sure. Regardless, it was befoe the invasion. I believe it was 2003) State of the Union Address, President Bush specifically explaine that we shouldn’t wait until there is an imminent threat.

    Yes, the threat of WMDs, was one of the reasons given for the war. Sojourner refers to this as a lie. I suppose you could call it a “lie” if you use a broad enough definition that you include statements which you believe to be true, and which you have good reason to believe to be true, but which turn out to be false. Some important facts about this: Bush believed that Saddam had WMD. Many other bigwigs, including officials from the Clinton admin. and foreign intelligence officials also believed that Saddam had WMD. Saddam had used WMD in war and against his own civilain population. Saddam was flouting his obligation to cooperate with the UN to demonstrate that he had no WMD.

    Given all that, it was reasonable for Bush to believe that Saddam had WMD. Combine that with the fact that Russian intelligence officials had indicated that Saddam was working on planning terrorist attacks against the US. Finally, throw in the fact that this was a post-9/11 world, and we had seen what happens if we don’t take a threat seriously enough. Obviously, Bush did not have absolute certainty. One rarely does. But as president he had to weigh the likelihoods of the different possibilities, and consider the ramifications if he’s wrong. On that basis, I believe he made the correct choice. We’ll never know for sure if Saddam would have been able to launch a major terrorist attack against us. But consider this: What if Bush, acting on intelligence (that was sketchier than what he had regarding Saddam and WMD), had taken military action against Osama to prevent 9/11. If he had succeeded and there were no 9/11, then many (I’m guessing that includes Sojourner and John S.) would now be condemning him for a needless act of war. Itf he had failed, and 9/11 had occured anyway, he would now be condemned for having provoked it.

    Now, many say that the attack was a mistake in light of the absence of WMD. I disagree — because we had good reason to believe they were there, because Saddam was not in compliance with the terms of the 1991 cease-fire, because, as indicated by the (I forget the name) report that veryone cites as showing there were no WMD, Saddam was hoping to restart his WMD program as soon as the heat was off. In addition, there are the other justifications — Saddam’s links to terrorism, his harboring of Al-Quaida operatives, and of course the objective of removing one of the worst tyrants of recent history, and helping a free society grow. Yes, it leaves something to be desired, but we have seen a huge step in the right direction. And these goals and justifications were articulated before the war. Those who deny that fact are the ones engaging in historical revision.

    Sorry if this was too wordy.

  89. 89
    Sojourner says:

    Regardless, it was befoe the invasion. I believe it was 2003) State of the Union Address, President Bush specifically explaine that we shouldn’t wait until there is an imminent threat.

    The Downing Street memos made it very clear that the Bush administration didn’t care if there was evidence or not. In addition, the outing of Plame indicates the clear intent of the administration to go after anyone who challenged their position.

    Bush wanted to go to war. The best excuse he could come up with was the threat of WMD or another 9/11. His staff consistently conveyed that message and went after anyone who complicated their effort.

    That’s a whole different story than the one you’re trying to write.

    We’ll never know for sure if Saddam would have been able to launch a major terrorist attack against us.

    The weapons inspectors weren’t able to find any evidence. But then they weren’t able to finish the job because Bush made them leave. Nor did American troops make a bee line for the places where Cheney assured us the weapons were stored. Instead, they went for the oil fields. If they really believed the weapons were there, wouldn’t they have headed for those locations first?

    Why was Bush in such a rush to pull the US into a war? Because he wanted it and no amount of evidence against his position was going to change his mind.

  90. 90
    Heeblwenzinko D'Foogy says:

    Actually, the Downing Street memos demonstrate that the admin. really did believe that Saddam had WMD.

  91. 91
    M. Simon says:

    Gor,

    The ’67 war was started by Nasser’s Egypt which closed international waters (the Straights of Tirana) to Israeli traffic. Such closing is an act of war. A blockade is an act of war.

    That the Israelis struck the first overt military blow is not a sign that they started the war.

    ==================

    What is so amusing is the ignorance of recent history (the last 100 years) by folks who are so sure they know what is happening in the world.

    ==================

    The partition of the Palestine Mandate was considered essential because Arabs since 1880 had been doing progroms on the Jews.

    BTW the Mufti of Jerusalem at the time of partition had been a very good friend of Hitlers. He helped Hitler raise two divisions of Moslems. Arafat called that mufti “uncle”.

    In fact a lot of anti-semitism in the Arab world is recycled German ant-semitism. “Mein Kampf” is still a best seller in the Arab world. The roots of fascism run deep in that part of the world. And yet many of our leftist friends support the fascists (or at least believe America should not be involved).

    Well things are pretty strange in the world. The former Jew haters in America (the right – my mother still doesn’t understand how I can vote for a Republican) are now Jew lovers. And the former Jew lovers? Not so much love any more.

  92. 92
    Sojourner says:

    Actually, the Downing Street memos demonstrate that the admin. really did believe that Saddam had WMD.

    But had no interest in proving/disproving that position. It’s not enough to really believe something. If you’re going to put American soldiers at risk and give up the search for those who have already harmed us, you sure as shit better have strong evidence. But the memos are clear that the Bushies didn’t care about evidence. They were going to go to war and that’s that.

  93. 93
    insomni says:

    WMDs, WMDs… what a foolish idea to think Saddam Hussein had WMDs. How many Democrats, including Clinton and Gore, spoke at length about the threat of Hussein’s WMDs? This video captures many of Clinton’s statements on this subject. Note the end, where Gore is also included. Leaders all over the world were convinced that he had them. But when Bush says so… well, that’s different.

    WMDs were never the only reason for going to war, but some believe that if you repeat something long enough, it’s true (e.g., the twisted representation of Bush’s use of the word “imminent,” mentioned above). Shortly after 9/11, Bush included Iraq among states that support/sponsor terrorism (don’t think Iraq did?), and was pretty clear on how the US would deal with such states.

    That said, because large quantities of WMDs have not been found, does that mean they do not or did not exist? If Hussein did indeed send them into Syria, will the Left collectively apologize to Bush for their accusations of a wrongful war and admit they were wrong? Yeah, right.

  94. 94
    Sojourner says:

    How many Democrats, including Clinton and Gore, spoke at length about the threat of Hussein’s WMDs?

    And how many of them started a war?

    Shortly after 9/11, Bush included Iraq among states that support/sponsor terrorism (don’t think Iraq did?), and was pretty clear on how the US would deal with such states.

    Funny how he didn’t take on Saudi Arabia. What terrorism did Hussein sponsor other than Palestinian suicide bombers?

    That said, because large quantities of WMDs have not been found, does that mean they do not or did not exist? If Hussein did indeed send them into Syria, will the Left collectively apologize to Bush for their accusations of a wrongful war and admit they were wrong? Yeah, right.

    Let’s worry about that in the remote event that they do turn up. In spite of the fact that the US can’t find anybody who claims to have been involved with them.

  95. 95
    Josh Martin says:

    Funny how he didn’t take on Saudi Arabia. What terrorism did Hussein sponsor other than Palestinian suicide bombers?

    And who doesn’t mind a few dead Jewish kids?

  96. 96
    Heeblewenzinko D'Foogy says:

    Funny how you (Sojourner) talk about rushing to war with Iraq. A long slow walk is more like it. For over ten years Saddam had been violating the terms of the cease fire (and implying as you did that Bush “started” a war is technically wrong, since the 991 ceasefire was contingent on Saddam meeting a variety of obligations that he wasn’t meeting. But who’s counting?). He went to the UN, where they passed the umpteenth resolution demanding Saddam’s compliance. But he laughed and continued the cat & mouse game. He went again and again. Only when it was clear that the UN wouldn’t take action, and Saddam wouldn’t comply did we attack. To have not done anything would have exposed our objections as impotent rants and given Saddam and every other tyrant license to do whatever they want.

    You imply that the UN inspectors could have completed their job if we had just waited a little longer. THat Bush could have known for sure whether or not there were WMD if he had just waited. But with the games Saddam was playing, he could have gone on indefinitely. Bush had good reason to believe Saddam was planning terrorist attacks on the US. He also had plenty of good reason to believe Saddam had WMD. Yes, he had no absolute proof. The only way to get that was to invade. The stakes being what they were, and his primary responsibility being to the US, he made the decision he had to.

  97. 97
    insomni says:

    And how many of them started a war?

    Clinton sent in missle strikes and threatened war with production of WMDs as justification.

    Funny how he didn’t take on Saudi Arabia.

    The 9/11 hijackers coming from Saudi Arabia does not equate with SA sponsoring terrorism. Should the UK now attack itself because the 7/7 bombers were UK citizens or living there? That’s an empty, talking-point response we’ve all heard a million times.

    What terrorism did Hussein sponsor other than Palestinian suicide bombers?

    You’re saying sponsoring terrorism against an ally isn’t enough? Okay, have you heard of Salman Pak? “Just 15 miles from Baghdad, Salman Pak served as a Baathist training facility for terrorists. According to numerous defectors, foreign Islamic militants at Salman Pak usedan actual jet fuselage to learn how to hijack airliners using knives and forks from their in-flight meals.” That’s from Saddam Hussein’s Philanthropy of Terror (PDF), by Deroy Murdock (columnist with Scripps Howard News Service). That report lists many other connections Saddam had with terrorism, including to the now well-known Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who received medical care in Baghdad once the Taliban fell and then opened a terrorist camp in northern Iraq.

  98. 98
    Pug says:

    “And yet many of our leftist friends support the fascists (or at least believe America should not be involved).”

    Interpretaton: If you disagree with me, you support the terrorists. That sure is getting to be an old, stale argument.

    Given that Mr. Al-Jafaari was in Teheran last week and laid a wreath at the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini while our guys protect his office, the SCIRI militia and Mahdi Army are rapidly enforcing and Islamic state in the south and Sharia law and anti-Semitism are soon to be enshrined in the new Iraqi constitution, it’s beginning to look like the emerging and clear winner of the Iraq war is Iran.

    I am amazed the how little fuss was kicked up by Al-Jafaari’s visit to Iran. I wonder how a front-page picture of him laying a wreath in honor of Khomeini would have played in the States.

  99. 99
    Sojourner says:

    Wow, you pro-Bushies really have to twist and turn to support him, don’t you?

    But you can’t change the basic fact that the claim used to sell the war to the American people was a high risk of a near-term strike against the US. A concerted effort was made to go after those who challenged their position and now the US is stuck in a war with no obvious end in sight while Bin Laden laughs his ass off.

    Keep shooting the shit guys but that bird don’t fly.

  100. 100
    coomaraswamee says:

    I see a lot of parallels to affirmative action. Why all of the troubles with race, because the whole reason for its existence is race.

  101. 101
    insomni says:

    Sojourner: Nice non-response response. You’re right. Zarqawi would have been no threat to the US if we hadn’t invaded Iraq. Terrorist camps in Iraq? What, me worry?

    By the way, I don’t know where you got the idea that we’ve “pulled the troops out of Afghanistan” and stopped searching for Bin Laden, but that’s not the case.

  102. 102
    Bleepless says:

    The Nazi unit of which the Mufti was titular leader was an SS division. After the war, he was the recipient of the largest pension ever given anybody by the Egyptian government. One of his pals was Omar Armin von Leers, formerly Johannes von Leers, an aide of Goebbels. The Arabic translations of “Mein Kampf” were all printed by the official government publishers. I’ll believe there is hope for those regimes when those presses turn out translations of John Locke and “The Federalist.”

  103. 103
    Jeremy says:

    Maybe Iraqs just don’t want their military equipment copied and sold to China? Like Israel did with a lot of the US’s equipment? (The Lavi, most notably, which was based on the F16 and which Israel sold to China. But also recently various drones and assorted other stuff. But hey, it’s not like the US is at odds militarily with China or anything. )

  104. 104
    Heeblewenzinko D'Foogy says:

    Sojourner,

    I’m not twisting at all. You keep talking about “The” reason for the war, as if there was only one. But there were sveral. And, of course, in addressing the issue of WMD, you gloss over or dismiss the fact that Bush had good reason to believe they were there — and no way to be sure they weren’t. Don’t come back with that UN crap. We all know tht with the cat and mosue games, Saddam was never going to let the UN get a reliable fix on the situation. You even brought out the false chatrg of lying on the basis of a statement which now appears to have been mistaken.

    Of course, you also make the mistake of referring to me as a “pro-Bushie.” There are plenty of things I don’t like about President Bush. Hell, I voted for Gore in 2000. Or were you not including me in that label?

  105. 105
    Heeblewenzinko D'Foogy says:

    Also, Sojourner, I have until now, been generally pleased with the tone of this thread. It seems, or seemed to be relatively free of rancor, insults and profanity. Really a willingness to explain our perspectives. Which is good. I was dissapointed to see your use of profanity and the insulting phrase “pro-Bushies.” Are we now going to start calling each other “wingnuts” and “moonbats”?

    If you were simply responding in kind (and I missed the beginning, for whatever reason), then let me know who/when this started in this thread, and in that case I offer my apology. But I hadn’t noticed it until your post above.

  106. 106

    […] John Cole’s sneak peak at the Iraqi Constitution is troubling. (via Protein Wisdom, who also brings us Chucky Schumer’s top 9 alternatives to SCOTUS nominee John Roberts) […]

  107. 107
    Steve says:

    I have a question for Sojourner,
    You said: “Representative government requires that its leaders be accountable. So no, it will never end until it’s resolved nor should it.”

    I agree w/ your first sentence. My question is about the second what exactly is this resolution you’re looking for?
    Assuming you’re right in everything you say ;-) Given where we as a country stand today what is that you will want to happen?

    Do you want everyone in America to say Sojourner you were right all along and we were wrong. What personal psychological need will that serve? How does that help the Iraqi people today? How does it help the hope for international peace and stability in the future? Will it lessen the hate by the America-haters towards Americans?

    Keep the following things in mind:
    President Bush is never going to run for anything again.
    Vice-President Cheney will never run for President.
    There will never be Congressional hearings or impeachment hearings as long as republicans control the Congress (and they will past 2006).

    If your agenda is to somehow to besmirch the legacy of the Bush administration in history. Well history hasn’t happened yet. His legacy will not be determined by bloggers but most likely historians and authours decades from now and will be mostly based on the success or failure of the World War against islamofascism. So is your Bush hatred strong enough to want route for the enemy in order to prove that you were right about the now mute point of the WMD argument?

  108. 108

    […] The other day I looked at a draft of the proposed Iraqi Constitution, and found the following: […]

  109. 109
    maor says:

    jeremy,
    The Lavi project was never completed, thus “the Lavi” does not physically exist. I doubt China would pay money for planes which don’t actually exist.
    Also, the Lavi project was subsidized by the US, so I doubt there was anything wrong with copying the F-16.

  110. 110
    MG says:

    gratefulcub

    You need to get out more… There are Arab (Muslim) Israelis, living in Israel. There are towns that are 100% Muslim within the Israeli territory. The ones that live in Palestine don’t want Israeli citizenship, they want their own state to vote in. If they wanted the Palestinian Territories to be part of Israel, they wouldn’t be fighting for independence. As for your figures, Jews outnumber Muslims 6 to 1 in Israeli and Palestinian Territories. Check up on some of your facts before you start spewing BS. Or better yet, visit the area, you’ll get a much better understanding of what is actually going on over there.

  111. 111
    J Altatrista y Rosario says:

    The suggestion that the US could simplify things greatly by outsourcing its entire Middle East policy planning to Iran is astutely entertaining.

    A nice riddle to pose might be, what difference would it make in US policy if Iran was already running it?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] The other day I looked at a draft of the proposed Iraqi Constitution, and found the following: […]

  2. […] John Cole’s sneak peak at the Iraqi Constitution is troubling. (via Protein Wisdom, who also brings us Chucky Schumer’s top 9 alternatives to SCOTUS nominee John Roberts) […]

  3. […] Here’s a translated excerpt (via John Cole): Article 1 […]

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