Iraq: Constitution & Religion:

Iraq approved its interim constitution today. The LittleGreenFootballs blog is not at all happy about it; Charles himself is 'not encouraged,' and the commenters are downright growlish.

All this is highly unfair to the Iraqis, who seem to be taking these issues seriously:

The Iraqi Governing Council repealed decree 137 today (the controversial decree bringing in Sharia law passed in December. A group of women came in to lobby against decree 137. They presented their case to the Governing Council as to why Sharia discriminates against women.

The council vote to repeal decree 137 was passed by 15 in favor and 10 against (the full council of 25 was there). The women who had lobbied against decree 137 ululated and shouted for joy at the end of the vote.

Eight members of the council walked out in protest, but today an aide to the most powerful cleric in Iraq, al-Sistani, issued this statement:
And, an aide to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani said on Sunday that even in an Islamic state, people should be free to decide if they drink alcohol or if women should wear veils. "We don't want to put pressure on the people. Everyone was born free," Seyed Ali Abdul-Karim al-Safi al-Musawi, al-Sistani's representative in Basra, told The Associated Press.
Note that link is to a Pakistani newspaper. The whole idea of the Iraq war was that bringing democracy and freedom to Iraq could send shockwaves of reformation through the Middle East. What's the Richter scale on that statement from the spokesman of Iraq's Grand Ayatollah?

We fought in Iraq to make men free. It's their country now, and they can do what they like with it. They deserve credit for the hard choices and difficult considerations they are employing. If it's not what you want--or what I want--well, Iraq isn't ours. That was never the point. De Oppresso Liber is just a rephrase of that line from the Battle Hymn of the Republic:

As He died to make men holy
Let us die to make men free.
I don't wish to pick on LGF, which is an excellent weblog. Nevertheless, the people of Iraq's freedom was bought at a price in blood. To honor the dead, we ought to preserve and respect their exercise of that freedom. It's their country now, free, at last.

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