The Iraqis did actually sign the transition Constitution yesterday after presumably a good bit of arm-twisting and united by the knowledge that whatever the Americans want, it's better than Saddam. The Kurds demanded a veto and got it; I imagine the most sensible thing in the long run would be to create a tripartite Shiite Arab-Sunni Arab-Sunni Kurd federal state, with Baghdad perhaps as a federal capital district since it's in Sunni Arab territory but a lot of Kurds and especailly Shiites live there. You'd have to give a veto to each of the three communities, making it impossible for the government to do anything that one of the groups strongly opposed. The Shiites will agree to a federal state, says La Vanguardia. A formula for weak government, agreed, but some weakness may be what the Iraqis need right about now. They've had far too many years of the iron hand and it's time to let a hundred flowers bloom.
The constitution includes a minimum of 25% women in the elective assembly, a bill of rights including freedom of expression and religion, Islam as only one of various sources of law, civil control of the military, elections before January 2005, and the recovery of Iraqi sovereignty on June 30. So how could anybody in his right mind not be jumping up and down and celebrating the freedom of 23 million people? These people are going to get a democratic government with the rule of law! I thought all of us were pro-democracy.
Beirut Bob Fisk says the new constitution "is full of questions with no answers", though. Bob has spoken. I therefore conclude that this document will turn out to be a huge success.
Vanguardia headline: "US and France need to send more troops to Haiti to restore order." That's on page 6 in the news section. Notice how big they are on us invading some country when France is in favor of it? Because we sure the hell have invaded Haiti with a lot less reason on our side than when we went into Saddam's Iraq. We provide the muscle, two-thirds of the troops and the logistics, and we give them the credit. Good. America doesn't need any ego-strokes of glory. We're not going to win anyone over; the buzzards are already circling. Seems that the Vangua is already implying that Ricardo Ortega, the dead Spanish journalist, was only allegedly killed by bullets fired by pro-Aristide gunmen. There were Americans firing too, and one of the Aristide gunmen was killed. So doubt is already being cast on the official story on how Ortega met his death.
I've changed my position on gay marriage. The epidemic has spread to New Jersey, Seattle, and Portland. This is one of these issues in which there's a minority--and gays are maybe five percent of men and two percent of women, maximum, according to a reliable sex survey done in the '90s; the old Kinsey 10% figure is way high and the Kinsey study is now considered bogus anyway because the people surveyed weren't a cross-section of the population--that is very insistent on an issue, and the rest of the population really doesn't care that much. There's no fight to the anti-gay marriage movement like there is with the anti-abortion movement, and like there wasn't much fight to the pro-gays in the military movement, which is why it didn't happen during the Clinton administration.
Well, when civil disobedience becomes this widespread, maybe it's time we sat down and tried to see it from the disobeyers' point of view. They really feel that they're not considered equal to heterosexuals because they can't get married. Well, once they figure out that that cute butt is gonna turn to lard within six months after he/she/it gets the gold ring, that there'll be no slipping out to the bareback bars when hubby starts getting in your space, and that she's going to take you for the Manhattan studio and Fire Island beach house when the inevitable divorce comes, not to mention the endless bitching and lawsuits over who gets the couple's beagle, maybe they'll change their minds back. I don't know. But they're taking this damn seriously and I can't see any important reason to object to it if they think this is such a big deal regarding their dignity and the respect they deserve.