Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Maybe I was wrong to complain about the lack of constitutional coverage, if this is how they're going to cover it.

Iraq Constitution May Erode Women's Rights

Udai Hussein raped women at a whim, and this constitution "may erode women's rights?"

Where's any mention of all the freedoms this historic document specifically codifies, like free press, free speech, or free elections, which comprise the main body of the document and represent a revolutionary change in Iraqi liberties? Totally ignoring that this constititution marks a watershed moment in Mideast democracy, they dredge up a vague reference to Islamic law in Article 19 and editorialize about the possibility it's going to make women chattel.

And what horrors does the offending Article contain that have the chattering class so worked up?
"the followers of any religion or sect are free to choose their civil status according to their religious or sectarian beliefs."
This is even worse than no coverage.

UPDATE: Omar at ITM issues a laundry list of things he doesn't like about the constitution (notably absent is the one above). I agree with pretty much all of his points and I hope they are addressed as he suggests, either before the referendum or in the amending periods specificed in the document. Omar's criticisms would tend to undermine my point, except that 1) Omar has been very enthusiastic about the constitution and the freedoms it codifies is; 2) Omar is supposed to editorialize; he's not a news service; 3) As an Iraqi, Omar is part of the Iraqi political process and that means pushing his point of view, which is admirably libertarian in nature. Debate is what drives democracy, and I welcome all of it. But news services should be giving the bigger context, too, not treating this as a step backwards from the Saddam era of mass graves and rape rooms.

UPDATE: Welcome QandO readers! I've been a big fan of Neolibertarian.net since it started, and I think their neolibertarian philosophy as described probably comes closest to encapsulating my own views of any school of thought out there. If you're not subscribing to their New Libertarian magazine, you might consider giving it a shot; it's free, and one of the best opinion mags out there in any form.


Blogger Paul said...


One of the things that made it easier to support the toppling of the Hussein regime was the fact, and I MEAN FACT, that it would be near impossible to leave Iraq in a worse condition than the Hussein status quo. It is really scandalous that the media treats everything short of perfection as a regression, it highlights a shameful lack of perspective.

Would it be so difficult for NYT, AP, et al to provide some context equal to that of say something like strategy page:

The Iraqi government now believes that at least 12,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed during the last 18 months. In the last ten months, about 800 Iraqi civilians and police have been killed each month. Adding a bit more to account for unreported deaths (especially in Sunni Arab areas where chaos, not the government, runs things) the death rate is running at the rate of about 45 dead per 100,000 population per year.

...During Saddam’s long reign, the Iraqi death rate from democide (the government killing its own people) averaged over 100 per 100,000 a year. This does not include the several hundred thousand killed during the war with Iran in the 1980s.

...South Africa has a sufficiently effective government to actually keep track of the death rate, mostly from crime, but it’s over 50 per 100,000. It’s worse in places like Congo and Sudan, but the numbers there are only estimates by peacekeepers and relief workers. In southern Thailand, a terror campaign by Islamic radicals has caused a death rate of over 80 per 100,000.

While the murder that is going on in Iraq today is incredibly tragic, it is important to understand that, sad as it is, it is an improvement.

7:12 AM  
Blogger TallDave said...

Yes, the media likes to claim anything short of perfection is failure.

9:39 AM  

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