The look on Dick Durbin's face said it all. Involuntary muscles drew down the sides of his mouth as he attempted a forced smile but succeeded in producing only a grimace. The occasion was the appearance of the Democratic Senator on Fox News Sunday to discuss the Iraq constitutional referendum. As always, the latest good news from Iraq sits like a large lump in the throats of the president's enemies.
After pooh-poohing the historic voter turnout across Iraq, Durbin -- who has compared U.S. treatment of Gitmo prisoners with that of the Nazis, the Soviet Gulag, and Pol Pot -- was asked by Chris Wallace what the Democrats' plan for Iraq might be. His answer?
"I can tell you what the plan is as far as I'm concerned. The plan is to move Iraqis toward political stability and toward their own safety and security, taken up on their own. Our position on the Democratic side is to make sure that we hold this administration accountable in ways it's not been held before. We can do better in Iraq. America can do better. And we need to have metrics of accountability so we know exactly how many Iraqi soldiers are prepared to defend their country."
Accountability, not action. Remonstration without results. This is the brand of political posturing that has resulted in the Democrats' continuing loss of power. It also smacks of the worst kind of hypocrisy: the Vietnam-era tactic of using our military as a political tool.
Durbin, who opposed President Bush on the Iraq War, said at the time, "There are people in Washington who see war as a foreign policy option. I think war should always be the last option." But he apparently disagreed with that notion four years earlier when he addressed President Clinton's aim to attack a weaker Iraq: "I call on those who question the motives of the president and his national security advisors to join with the rest of America in presenting a united front to our enemies abroad."
Durbin and his friends in the leftwing media have done great harm to that united front with their continuous rehashing of the Abu Ghraib brouhaha, persistent undermining of the president and Defense Department, over-coverage of the tiny "peace" movement and under-reporting of any good news of the war.
And when they do report on positive events in Iraq, the worst possible scenario is a must. Space does not permit even a partial list of negatively biased media stories from the area, particularly those covering the new constitution. What should be celebrated around the free world as almost a miracle wrought through the blood and determination of the Coalition forces and the brave Iraqi people, is instead disdained by those in the media.
The most prevalent claim is that the new constitution will be "divisive" and someday lead to civil war. If so, so be it. Our own constitution eventually led to a civil war and we were ultimately the better for it. Of course, should the constitution divide the terrorists from the minority of Iraqis that still support them, that will no doubt go unreported.
The other beef is that the country will become an Islamic dictatorship along the lines of Iran. Critics cite the following from Article 2:
1st: Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation.
(a) No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.
This is absurd unless one ignores the next three sections and nearly the entire document:
(b) No law can be passed that contradicts the principles of democracy.
(c) No law can be passed that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms outlined in this constitution.
2nd: This constitution guarantees the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people and the full religious rights for all individuals and the freedom of creed and religious practices.
In a document of over 10,000 words, the word "Islam" is mentioned five times, while the dreaded "Sharia" appears once (Article 90), in reference to experts in same that will sit on the Supreme Court along with judges and other legal authorities. Indeed, if the country were truly run under the strict rule of Sharia, the document itself would be impossible since Sharia forbids man-made law.
One of the things that is so misunderstood by the left, is that our own country was established on the religious beliefs of its founders, but also allowed for the free practice of others who chose to live under that establishment. And up until the last thirty years or so, one might imagine that most Americans would have agreed that no law be passed that contradicts the Ten Commandments.
Is the new Iraqi Constitution perfect? No, and neither was ours apparently. That is why is has been amended twenty-seven times, not counting those amendments imposed by our own Supreme Court; a practice which may soon end, much to the dismay of the grumbling left.
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