Iraqi Constitution in Progress

This morning on The Big Think, I found a link to the partial text of the new Iraqi Constitution. From the preable:

We the people of Iraq, newly arisen from our disasters and looking with confidence to the future through a democratic, federal, republican system, are determined — men and women, old and young — to respect the rule of law, reject the policy of aggression, pay attention to women and their rights, the elderly and their cares, the children and their affairs, spread the culture of diversity and defuse terrorism.

We are the people of Iraq, who in all our forms and groupings undertake to establish our union freely and by choice, to learn yesterday’s lessons for tomorrow, and to write down this permanent constitution from the high values and ideals of the heavenly messages and the developments of science and human civilization, and to adhere to this constitution, which shall preserve for Iraq its free union of people, land and sovereignty.

Wow. Strong, beautiful stuff. A few more thoughts while reading the document over:

  • Islam is recognized as the state religion, though the more fanatical sects (especially the Saddamist Baath party) are specifically opposed. The multifaith nature of their society is, however, acknowledged and supported.
  • Women’s right to participate in public life (including running for office) are upheld.
  • Interesting that several rights are limited not only by the rights of others and public order, as in the American system, but also by “the general morality.” The right to privacy and the right to free speech are those that are curtailed in this way.
  • The rule of law (Lex Rex) is emphasized strongly — something one would expect to see in the wake of despotic dictators.
  • The structure of the federal government looks similar to the American model — an executive, judicial, and legislative branch, the latter with two houses.

This is fascinating reading. I personally find it quite heartening, principally because of the differences from the American model. It would appear from this document that Iraq is indeed beginning to chart its own course — not becoming a little America, but its own entity. Though there’s still a terrifically long way to go, if the promise of this fledgling constitution is realized, then there may well be hope for Iraq to stand on its own feet and that our people might come home.