Monday, August 01, 2005


Irate Codger here again with some after-thoughts. The lead editorial in the NY Times this morning is "Constitutional Countdown in Iraq." I'll say. The first thing they can't agree on is what to call the country. I read in the Independent last week that the religious party of which the present prime minister is a member favors the Islamic Republic of Iraq, much to the exasperation of Donald Rumsfeld. Leading Sunni politicians like the sound of the Arab Republic of Iraq. For some reason the Kurds are holding out for the Federal Republic of Iraq.
One thing that seems almost certain if Tom Friedman's candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize has his way is that for half the population in the non-Kurdish areas of the country it's back to purdah. In the latest, amended, version of the constitution, according to the Times, "family law would still be subjected to clerical authority, with each family permitted to choose which religious sect's teachings governed their female members' lives." "The right solution," the Times sternly admonishes, "is to maintain all women's access to the civil law in these matters, as has been the practice in Iraq since 1959."
Since 1959. That is, ahem, since the Ba'athists seized power. Did you know that under the evil Saddam Hussein there was actually a thriving state-funded program of women's athletics? In the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, there was an Iraqi entrant in the women's 110 m. high hurdles. No such flagrant immodesty under the Ayatollah al-Sistani, you may be sure. You can't run the high hurdles in a chador!