Sunday, August 28, 2005

About Face

If you watched the president’s 2004 State of the Union Address, you probably remember the woman in the picture. She held out an ink-stained finger. She hugged the mother of a dead soldier. She was a symbol of sacrifice and progress in Iraq.

But now it appears Ms Souhail, an anti-Saddam activist who became Iraq's ambassador to Egypt, may be having second thoughts about the "success" she celebrated with a two-fingered victory sign.

Having seen the negotiations for the country's constitution fall into disarray and the prospect of a secular constitution severely undermined, she expressed her concerns last week.

"When we came back from exile, we thought we were going to improve rights and the position of women. But look what has happened: we have lost all the gains we made over the past 30 years. It's a big disappointment. Human rights should not be linked to Islamic sharia law at all. They should be listed separately in the constitution."
Whether or not they foresaw it as a possible consequence of removing Saddam from power, the Bush Administration now refuses to acknowledge the fact that fundamentalist Muslims are shaping the new Iraq in their image. Considering that one of the justifications for the war, at least in terms of the rhetoric we heard, was "liberating the Iraqi people," Bush’s ambivalence to the rise of fundamentalist Islam looks pretty hypocritical. Trading a violent dictator for a theocracy is not a means to securing liberty.

Bush remains inarticulate as ever on the subject:

"There is not, as I understand it, the way the constitution is written, is that women have got rights, inherent rights recognized in the constitution, and that the constitution talks about, you know, not 'the religion' but 'a religion'," he said.
His inane babble insults me. I can’t even begin to imagine how Iraqis feel when they hear this bullshit.

--Matthew McCoy