October 17, 2005

Chemical Ali might do well as a prof

This article in Asia Times, by a Professor Mark Levine on the new Iraq constitution is a good example of why, whenever you hear the words "Professor of Middle Eastern Studies," you should reach for your revolver...
* Update: John Byrnes has more on this guy here

...But viewed from the perspective of the Middle East's recent history, particularly the failed negotiating strategies behind the collapse of the Oslo peace process...
The only relevance of Oslo here is that appeasing terrorists is suicidal stupidity...and if that's not exactly what he wants, I'll eat my hat.
...Saturday's referendum will likely neither end the insurgency nor bring the country closer to significant democratic development.
It IS significant democratic development, which is why this guy doesn't like it. And no one has ever claimed that it will magically end the Ba'athist terror attacks...But I'm guessing this is the "beginning of the end" for his Sunni fantasies.

The original draft of the constitution did set important benchmarks for democracy and personal freedom for Iraqis. It even concludes with a statement on environmental protection that Americans should envy...
Don't EVER let lefties write a constitution. A constitution is the framework of government, within which legislators can make laws. It is the job of legislatures to write environmental laws. To put such things in a constitution is an attempt to avoid democracy, EU style. Bad move by Iraq, but probably something they can work around.
But these advances are overshadowed by what the constitution left out. Specifically, there are no references to three issues that are of primary concern to most Arab, and especially Sunni Iraqis: a prohibition on the long-term presence of foreign - read American - troops in the country; ...
Probably should read "of primary concern to most Professors of Middle Eastern Studies." But really, why should this item be in a constitution? If the government of Iraq tells foreign forces to leave, they will leave. (And if they won't leave, a line in the constitution won't make them go.) But maybe Iraq will decide it wants a few Americans to stick around. It didn't hurt Germany.
...a firm statement emphasizing Iraqi control of production and distribution of the country's oil resources;
Why? Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. Wicked oil companies, versus virtuous government-controlled oil. Totally stupid. Actually, control of oil by government is probably the biggest danger to Iraqi democracy. Any government with oil resources doesn't need to pay attention to those tiresome tax-payers and voters. It's no accident that oil states are so often corrupt and dictatorial. (And one hears that some of that corruption includes baksheesh to certain "professors.")
...and a commitment to rebuilding the social infrastructure that was devastated by the invasion and subsequent wholesale privatization of the country's economy under US auspices.
Iraq's infrastructure was destroyed by neglect under Saddam, as anybody paying attention knows. But to lefty profs, Saddam's Iraq was a socialist paradise where the trains ran on time. All the problems are the fault of America. Plus even more dreadful, of "privatization." (Of which there has actually been little.) But again, what does this have to do with a constitution? If Iraq flourishes, infrastructure will be rebuilt. If not, then not. Nobody will say, "Sorry, can't fill potholes--it's not in the Constitution."
However, I wonder if his reference to "social infrastructure" means something I'm not aware of? Could it be some leftsh
code-word? Like "social justice," which seems to mean something very different from justice?
For most every Arab Iraqi the withdrawal of all American and other foreign troops is the sine qua non for ending the insurgency.
Bullshit. The "insurgency" is an attempt to restore Ba'athist/Sunni tyranny. Withdrawal of foreign troops would be the signal for the terrorists to go for the kill.
That the constitutional negotiators couldn't include any prohibition of foreign troops, or deal straightforwardly with the other two core issues, demonstrates the continuing and largely deleterious power of the US in the country's internal affairs.
Nah, it means they know how to write a constitution...And that "internal affairs" bit--I'd be willing to bet money he thought Saddam's internal affairs should not be infected with the "deleterious power of the US" either. Posted by John Weidner at October 17, 2005 6:59 PM
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