Freedom or Islam: Pick One
Jeff Goldstein argues that how the debate over the role of Islam in Iraqi governance comes out will decide whether the war is a success or a failure:
Over the weekend, Big Pharoah, Austin Bay, and others raised concerns that the State Department, in an effort to get a deal done, had given ground to Islamists insisting increased Sharia influence to be codified—a development that, if true, would seriously undermine support for the war from those of us on the right who are more interested in getting it right than in getting it done quickly in order to quiet war critics.
I guess we’ll know soon enough if American blood was indeed spilled spreading freedom; because nothing short of a document that provides protection for minorities and basic human rights for all—which would necessarily preclude Sharia law from being institutionalized by the State—is acceptable, both to those who’ve supported the war, and, more importantly, to the majority of Iraqis actually fighting that war.
That sounds about right.
A nod to Islam as the overarching foundation of Iraq’s law would bother me no more than having “In God we trust” on American coins. If, on the other hand, the mullahs have veto power over legislation, the result would be disastrous.
I’m less sure on how to take a middle ground. If, as seems likely, people have the option of using civil or clerical courts for private dispute resolution, I’m queasy can probably live with it. I still lean towards “it’s their country, after all.”