"...And the Iraqis are doing far better than anyone really had the right to hope."
Reuel Marc Gerecht writes today in Opinion Journal,
... All of Washington wants the Iraqis to be more expeditious than our own Founding Fathers, who took years of trial and error to hammer out the mother of all modern constitutions.(Hat tip.)
Yet the Iraqis are where we want them to be: divided on critical matters of politics and faith, but still determined to resolve their differences through a binding written compromise. Their discussions are hot and sometimes intractable because all the parties know these debates matter. Federalism and the political role of Islam--perhaps the two most troublesome subjects--are critical issues throughout the Middle East. No one in Washington should want these debates toned down or curtailed.
Many in America may not like the outcome--liberals are already overwhelmingly defining Iraqi democracy's success by whether women's social rights are protected and advanced--but the deliberations foretell what is likely to happen elsewhere in the region as it democratizes. Contrary to so much commentary in the U.S., it is the compromises--the liberal "imperfections"--in Iraq's experiment that may have the most positive repercussions in the Middle East.
...We should not want to curtail or stage-manage these great debates. Only by having them will the Iraqis muster the support to pass a constitution by the required referendum.... The intersection of God, man, and the common weal are not easy things to figure out, and the Iraqis are doing far better than anyone really had the right to hope.