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View Diary: Katrina, Politics and Iraq (173 comments)

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  •  I don't agree with your assessment (4.00)
    There are those who argue the US intention on drafting an Iraqi Constitution in its own economic self-interest will backfire.

    There are coalitions being formed and ideas spreading which have nothing in common with our viewpoints or way of life.  Bush has given the word "democracy" a bad image.  

    Like shrub, many here are thinking through a vision of a few years, maybe even 10 or 12. They think that is a long term strategy. It will fail.

    ...the Iraqis wanted a country different from that for which the Americans had come to Iraq. They, or at least those who were involved in drafting the constitution, wanted nothing of the kind of economic and political system that Bremer and other US officials had been attempting to create in Iraq ever since the occupation began. What the occupation authorities wanted was to fulfill "the wish-list of international investors", as The Economist magazine described the economic policies they began imposing in the country in 2003.[2]

    As direct occupiers, the US enacted laws that give foreign investors equal rights with Iraqis in the domestic market; permit the full repatriation of profits; institute the flat tax system; abolish tariffs; enforce a strict intellectual property rights regime; sell off a whole-range of state-owned companies; reduce food and fuel subsidies; and privatize all kinds of social services such as health, education and water delivery.

    [snip]

    Writing Iraq's permanent constitution is the latest step in the political transition process agreed upon by the US administration and the Iraqi political parties that have chosen to cooperate with it since the beginning of the occupation. At every step of that process, the US has attempted to lock in policies that would advance and protect its fundamental interests in the country by championing and strengthening the hand of those Iraqis committed to defending them even after formal occupation ends.[3]

    Even before combat began, the US had assembled Iraqi exile groups who would not only support the invasion but would also defend free-market policies and tolerate the presence of coalition troops. In July 2003, the US handpicked the members of what would become Iraq 's first political entity during the transition, the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). American lawyers then worked with the IGC members to draft Iraq 's transitional constitution, ensuring that all the laws enacted under occupation would be carried over by the incoming Iraqi interim government.[4] In June 2004, the US handed "sovereignty" to this interim government, its prime minister and other officials effectively chosen by the US.[5] In the elections for choosing Iraq's transitional parliament last January 2004, the US conducted both overt and covert operations to support former CIA agent Iyad Allawi's party and to reduce the margin of the winning coalition dominated by the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Islamic Da'awa party.[6] While the US did not succeed in installing Allawi, SCIRI and Da'awa officials subsequently championed the US preferred agenda on oil, privatization, and the presence of coalition troops.

    As the Iraqis huddled to hammer out their permanent constitution, US officials were once again with them every step of the way. Outside the Green Zone, the negotiations were protected by 160,000 US and other coalition troops. Playing a central role inside was newly appointed US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, a member of the Project for a New American Century who had called for invading Iraq since 1998. Having served as an intermediary for the US government with the Taliban regime, Khalilzad previously worked for Unocal in Afghanistan . After the invasion in 2001, he was subsequently appointed to be the US's first ambassador to Afghanistan . There, he was accused of serving as the "campaign manager" of pro-US candidate Hamid Karzai in that country's presidential elections.[7]

    Behind closed doors where real debates took place, according to the Washington Post, Khalizad was described by Reuters as being a "ubiquitous presence" and by the Financial Times as playing a "big role in the negotiations".[8] One State Department official called Khalilzad's actions "intensive diplomacy".[9] While media spin on the process portrayed US officials as reluctant, impatient intermediaries uninterested in the contents of the constitution ("just as long as it gets it done on time"), at one point, Khalilzad's team of American diplomats offered their own proposed text of the constitution to the Iraqis.[10] Shuttling back and forth from constant meetings with the Iraqi president, the speaker, and other high-ranking officials, Khalilzad was backed up by US embassy officials who, according to the Washington Post, were working from a Kurdish party headquarters to "to help type up the draft and translate changes from English to Arabic for Iraqi lawmakers".[11]


    Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshall

    by bronte17 on Wed Aug 31, 2005 at 09:39:42 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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