Iraq: Bush’s Heckuva Job

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President Bush made a brief, unannounced visit to Baghdad on June 13th to praise U.S. puppet Nuri al-Maliki for the "heckuva job" he’s been doing as Prime Minister.

“I was inspired to be able to visit the capital of a free and democratic Iraq," Bush recapped his five-hour photo-op in a manner reminiscent of the way he praised former FEMA director Brownie for his handling of Hurricane Katrina.

Just as he ignored the suffering of New Orleans’ poor and elderly, what is mind-boggling about this case is how the President could possibly call Iraq a democracy when females over there are utterly oppressed under the new government, an Islamic theocracy similar in nature to the Taliban. Although feminists fought to have equality under the law incorporated into the country’s constitution, Bush effectively threw half of the population under the bus by allowing the Shiite-dominated framers to adopt a draft which reflects an erosion of rights previously enjoyed by Iraqi women.

There is a tragic irony in these developments since Saddam Hussein had, in the Seventies, mandated that females be granted the vote, maternity leave, equal pay, education, promotion and a host of other benefits. As a result, for years, Iraq had been the most progressive, secular society in the region when it came to the treatment of women.

Not any more. The newly-enacted constitution officially establishes Islam as the law of the land in Article 2, Paragraph A, where it stipulates that the Iraqi Parliament may not pass any statutes which contradict the Koran. In other words, control has been handed over to the mullahs and clerics. This has woeful implications for the prospects of women who stand to be denied inheritance, employment, voting and a host of other rights they had come to take for granted, while men stand to benefit from a corresponding windfall of counter advantages.

So, before you decide whether the $300 billion investment and the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers and innocent civilians were worth bringing the Iraqi people freedom and democracy, also factor in the present plight of the millions of females suddenly marginalized by a regime with repressive notions right out of the Middle Ages.

What’s next on the Bush agenda, a return to burning witches at the stake? Hide your broom, Hillary.

Black Star columnist Williams is an attorney and a member of the bar in NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars.

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