Thursday, July 28, 2005

What the ?????

The Iraqi Constitution--Are you freaking kidding me?

Another key tenet of national socialism – government control of the media – is institutionalized in Article 6. Buried amid a plethora of "democratic"-sounding buzz-words – "freedom of culture," "freedom of opinion," and "freedom of publishing" – is the money quote:

"There is no censorship on newspapers, printing, publishing, advertising, or media except by law."

Translation: They're already putting the nameplates on the doors to the Office of the Chief Censor.

To read this document is to wander through a mental landscape of such utter strangeness, a sensibility so alien that the Western mind can hardly conceive its meaning, let alone imagine life under its strictures. This is a "constitution" straight out of Bizarro World, where every familiar principle of individual rights and legal protections is stood on its head.

The right to travel, both within and out of the country, supposedly granted in Article 9, is circumscribed by the same sort of exculpatory phrase that paves the way for censorship: it is "guaranteed … except in cases defined by law." All citizens are entitled to "the right of protection against intellectual, political, sectarian, religious, and national coercion," according to Article 10, but only "so long as [this protection] is by law." In other words: only up until we feel like cracking down, whereupon we shall do so ruthlessly. Article 11 guarantees "the right of political asylum … to all oppressed." We are sternly informed that "it is forbidden to surrender a political refugee" – unless, of course, it is "someone accused of international crimes." You needn't be guilty – an accusation is sufficient. Off to Guantanamo with you!

Not even slavery is out of bounds. Article 12 states:

"Compulsory service (the corvee), slavery, the slave trade, forced labor, or any work that is imposed on the Iraq citizen not in accordance with the provisions of the constitution or the law are forbidden."

(Found on Claire Wolfe's blog.)

I had a feeling that the Iraqi constitution wasn't going to have much in common with ours, but this is insanity. They're building a country exactly like the one they had before.