Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Of late there's been some consternation at the direction Iraq has taken its newfound democracy. Indeed, even some of the Medium Lobster's own colleagues have taken to fretting now and again, nattering on about the rise of theocracy and the breakdown of civil order and the dismantling of women's rights. (How often does the Medium Lobster hear the lament, "Oh, Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, I expected better of you!")

How soon we forget! America made its own share of stumbles on the long road to freedom. Yes, Iraqi women will suffer as nonentities under a stifling Sharia regime, but weren't American women denied the right to vote at the nation's founding? True, Iraq's constitution has passed its deadline long overdue, but weren't America's own Articles of Confederation rejected as a failure? And yes, that constitution establishes a theocratic state in which muslim clerics can strike down secular legislation that contravenes the tenets of Islam, but who can forget America's own experiment with state religion in the dark days when Pope Jefferson's inquisitors burned Alexander Hamilton at the stake for an excess of federalism? And yes, bloodthirsty sectarian militias rule the streets of Basra, Kurdistan, Sadr City and much of Iraq, but remember that the rule of law had broken down in the days of the founders as well, when Benjamin Franklin's Army of the Postmaster raped and killed any who broke with the extremist doctrines of Poor Richard's Almanac. And while it may be the case that thousands of Iraqis have died and continue to die daily in bloody, sectarian violence, how different is this from the early days of America's own republic, when James Madison killed countless innocents in his guerilla bombing campaigns against Chief Justice John Marshall?

It's all too easy to forget one's own tumultuous past when criticizing another, but we must put Iraq's small troubles of today in perspective. Compared to the attempted secession of New Englandistan, John Jay's kamikaze raid on the Continental Congress, and Supreme Emperor Adams's fitful six-day coup during the Annapolis Convention, Iraq is doing splendidly. All present should be content to sit back and watch what the president has so aptly described as "an amazing event."


posted by the Medium Lobster at 8:23 AM



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