Friday, October 03, 2003

Rights and Reason: How not to rebuild Afghanistan

A team of 35 Afghans--including seven women--have been working for the past 11 months to draw up a new constitution for Afghanistan. The process has included consulting 150,000 members of the public, but apparently not the US Constitution. The AP reports what appear to me to be many deficiencies:

The draft document says the government must provide women with education and health care equal to men. It also will mandate additional care for pregnant women and extra education for widows whose husbands were killed during the last two decades of war.

President Hamid Karzai is expected to make public the draft constitution in the next week. A 10-day meeting of a 500-member loya jirga, or grand council, is to convene in December to debate and ratify the document.

Implementing a constitution is crucial for Afghanistan as it lays the foundations for its first democratic elections in decades, scheduled for June 2004.

The draft constitution also declares Afghanistan a Muslim state but stops short of imposing Islamic Shariah law. Under Shariah, the Taliban ordered men to grow their beards long and pray five times a day, and carried out public executions and amputations for a range of crimes.
The Afghan constitution is scheduled to be revealed to the public next week, and I'm sure I'll have more to say then. But this I'll say now: the prosecution of this war makes me sick. If the Union fought the Confederacy the same way the US is fighting the Islamic militants, after Appomattox, the Union would have allowed the South to retain slavery as a means of showing the South that the Union would not trample on its sacred institutions.

Bush isn’t a warmonger—he’s a moral coward attempting to fight a compassionate war against an enemy who deserves only destruction.

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