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Steve 'StatMan'
08-24-2005, 05:34 PM
Some posters may know this better than myself.

Roughly how long did it take, regarding months and/or years, for the brand new United States of America to create and ratify our First Constitution? I'm thinking it took many months if not at least a year or two. I'm trying to put this into perspective with creation of Iraq's New Constitution. I know it wasn't easy for Our Founding Fathers, and perhaps they had some advantages in their situation over Iraq's, in that, although they were binding 13 Colony/States together, these individual governments and populations were not made up of dominant ethnic/religious groups that had been waring with each other and trying to kill each other off during their time on the North American Continent. Their ancestors certainly may have waged was in Europe, countrywise and religiously, but they had left those home countries to come to America to create build a new and better lives.

Plus in the U.S. case, I believe either only the representatives, or a limited number of 'men with property' were even allowed to vote on this, or anything, back then. Less chances of disagreements at that time (although certainly lots of people groups left out) than having large populations vote.

I'm hoping that even if this first attempt doesn't succeed, hopefully all three groups in Iraq (Sunnis, Shias and Kurdish) will learn that they will need to build a government based on their common interests and common good of all, rather than putting special show-stoppers into their government and laws. Build the laws to respect their core-values, but the religious parts of their 'needs' need to stay at the religion level, if they are going to be able to work and live together as one, as well as non-Muslims as well.

Dave Schwartz
08-24-2005, 05:51 PM
Steve,

In addition, consider that there are many models of working constitutions for the Iraqis to develop from. Although ours certainly had roots, they were not as well-defined.

As one pundit recently wrote, "Why don't we just give them our constitution. After all, it's not like we are using it."

<G>


Dave Schwartz

lsbets
08-24-2005, 06:18 PM
Steve,

Early US history is incredibly interesting, for one reason because the country was such a mess, and there were a lot of personality conflicts that created some pretty good drama. Nothing like what was done here had ever been done before, and you had several different groups all competing to get their way.

1776 - Declaration of Independance
1781 - Articles of Confederation - gave virtually no power to the federal government. The federal government had no money and no means of raising money. There were several armed insurections against the government, most notably Shays Rebellion in Massachusettes.
1786 - A conference was called to discuss the Articles of Confederation in Sept. Only 5 states showed up.
May 1787 - the Constitutional Convention convenes in Philidelphia with representatives from every state except Rhode Island. George Washington is selected as President of the Convention. One of the key issues is the division of power between large states and small states. The compromise resulted in our bicameral legislatiure with the House having seats apportioned by population and each state getting two seats in the Senate. Until this compromise was reached, it appeared likely that the small states would walk out and leave the convention. The Consitituion was finalized in Sep 1787, and Delaware was the first state to ratify the constitution in Dec, 1787. NC and Rhode Island never ratified the document.
1789 - the government as laid out in the Constitution goes into effect.

So, we had 5 years after the Declaration before we had any kind of real document, and that one sucked. Then we had armed insurection, and political squabbling between the large and small states. We had one state refuse to take part in the Constitutional Convention. Two states never approved the Constitution. Finally, 13 years after independance, we had the Constitution that we stil have today.

Could you imagine if we had cable news and internet boards back then? Or if we had political polling? We never would have gotten anything done.

Dave was right though - there are a lot of constitutions out there for Iraq to model their's on. It won't take them 13 years.

Bobby
08-24-2005, 06:29 PM
Constitution = KORAN or Islamic law

lsbets
08-24-2005, 06:40 PM
Here are some excerpts from the draft being worked in Iraq:

Article (2): First, Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation:

a) No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.

b) No law can be passed that contradicts the principles of democracy.

c) No law can be passed that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms outlined in this constitution.

Article 151
No less than 25% of Council of Deputies seats go to women.

Article (3): Iraq is a multiethnic, multi-religious and multi-sect country. It is part of the Islamic world and its Arab people are part of the Arab nation.
Article (4):

1st -- Arabic and Kurdish are the two official languages for Iraq. Iraqis are guaranteed the right to educate their children in their mother tongues, such as Turkoman or Assyrian, in government educational institutions, or any other language in private educational institutions, according to educational regulations.

[...] Article (14): Iraqis are equal before the law without discrimination because of gender, ethnicity, nationality, origin, color, religion, sect, belief, opinion or social or economic status.

[...] 1st -- The followers of every religion and sect are free in:
(a) the practice of their religious rites, including the (Shiite) Husseiniya Rites.

(b) the administration of religious endowments and their affairs and their religious institutions, and this will be organized by law.

2nd -- The state guarantees freedom of worship and the protection of its places.

All in all, it is incredibly similar to the Afghan constitution that everyone was praising when it was passed. Here is what the Afghan constitution says about Islam:

The religion of the state...is the sacred religion of Islam.

Followers of other religions are free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of law.

Article Three Ch. 1, Art. 3

...no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.

46zilzal
08-24-2005, 06:42 PM
It is hard to believe that a soceity that is so different and based upon tirbialism and religion is going to be anything orhter than another Islamic Republic.

Bobby
08-24-2005, 06:47 PM
Ls all that stuff in your post sounds warm & fuzzy, but, in practice, how much discrimination is really going to occur. We know that women are treated like shit. They gotta walk behind the males if I remember correctly with that viel crap on.
We also know that the tribes fight against each other. That the sunnis and shites each think one is going to "heaven" and the other is going to hell.

So if you guys REALLY think that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are over there as Abdullah and Muhammad then I just think you are dead wrong.

Bobby
08-24-2005, 06:57 PM
The difference between the US And IRAQ is this.

When we wrote the constitution it was b/c we wanted to get the British out. We defeated them and got them out.
IRAQ is writing their constitution with OUR assistance. I think if I wuz Iraqi then I'd want the us out too.

Anyway,

When we wrote our consitution, everyone wuz in agreement that we needed one that wuz fair and so forth. The white people dominated. The blacks or Natives had no say. correct?

In Iraq you got 3 groups that hate each other & THEY HAVE TO COME UP WITH AN AGREEMENT. Not everyone leaves chipper.

JustRalph
08-24-2005, 06:58 PM
Ls all that stuff in your post sounds warm & fuzzy, but, in practice, how much discrimination is really going to occur. We know that women are treated like shit. They gotta walk behind the males if I remember correctly with that viel crap on.
We also know that the tribes fight against each other. That the sunnis and shites each think one is going to "heaven" and the other is going to hell.

So if you guys REALLY think that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are over there as Abdullah and Muhammad then I just think you are dead wrong.

Nope.........they will never have men with the foresight and principles of those two great men. They broke the mold when our forefathers left the planet. But I am glad to see you are so optimistic

lsbets
08-24-2005, 07:07 PM
Bobby - all I did was post what it says, I drew no conclusions.

Some things to point out to you though:

Shiite and Sunni are not tribes, they are sects of a religion, kind of like Protestant and Catholic. The tribalism is a whole different ballgame and grows out of much smaller areas than the "Shiite South" or the "Sunni Triangle." A tribe is basically a very extended family. Some of the worst violence under Hussein was directed towards the Kurds, who are not Shiite, but like Hussein are Sunni. The radical Sunnis (Wahhabis) feel that the Shiites are an abominatin to the religion of Islam and want to kill all of them. There aren't very meny Wahhabis who come from Iraq. Most Wahhabis come from Saudi Arabia, and they are the guys who have been coming over the border to join the insurgency. Iraq's Sunnis tend to be much more moderate than their Saudi counterparts.

In many parts of Iraq women do not wear veils. In the Shiite south almost all do. In Baghdad, you really only see the veils on Shiite women, especially in the poorer neighborhoods. There is some female singer whose picture is plastered on half the buses in the country - no veil, and she's pretty hot (at least she was after being there for a while, I don't know if I'd think she was hot now). A lot of Iraqis are pretty western. Most of the westernized ones live in the cities. The rural areas tend to be more traditional in their approach to Islam.

lsbets
08-24-2005, 07:14 PM
When we wrote the constitution it was b/c we wanted to get the British out.

Bobby - we wrote the constitution long after the British were gone. We wrote the Declaration of Independance because we wanted the British out.

"When we wrote our consitution, everyone wuz in agreement that we needed one that wuz fair and so forth."

Rhode Island boycotted the convention, and Rhode Island and North Carolina never ratified it. The convention almost fell apart because of the differences over how to apportion power between the large and small states. Also, the ocnvention was only supposed to be to amend the Articles of COnfederation. The delegates overstepped their bounds (thankfully) by trashing the Articles and writing the Constitution.

"In Iraq you got 3 groups that hate each other & THEY HAVE TO COME UP WITH AN AGREEMENT. Not everyone leaves chipper."

True. Here we had the large and small states and the industrial north vs. the agricultural south. That mess didn't sort itself out until the Civil War. Not to mention the unbelievable personality conflicts among some of our founding fathers. These guys were allies for a cause, but some of them were also bitter rivals and backstabbed each other to try and get their way. Everything was not all hunky dorey at the start for us.

I am not comparing us and Iraq. As nations and peoples, we are not similar at all. I am only pointing out some glaring misperceptions about our own founding and the guys who did it.

Tom
08-24-2005, 08:49 PM
"So if you guys REALLY think that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are over there as Abdullah and Muhammad then I just think you are dead wrong."

God! I hope not! Theses guys did not let black people or women vote, and they counted blacks as 3/5's of a white man for apportionment purposes. Ours was not a complete document by far - many ammendments were needed over time.
Why do you think these people do not want to be free and govern themselves?
Would you rather we released SH and let him restore order?

kenwoodallpromos
08-24-2005, 11:04 PM
"These guys did not let black people or women vote" And the only federal taxes were tariffs! Now everybody has to vote because they all pay taxes.
If everyone everywhere agreed on everything there would be no need foe Democracy or Republican form of Govt.
Definition of Democracy- A subsitute for rebellion nad civil war.
This country (both parties) give in as littloe as necessary to prevent insurrection.

lsbets
08-24-2005, 11:25 PM
"So if you guys REALLY think that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are over there as Abdullah and Muhammad then I just think you are dead wrong."

God! I hope not! Theses guys did not let black people or women vote, and they counted blacks as 3/5's of a white man for apportionment purposes. Ours was not a complete document by far - many ammendments were needed over time.
Why do you think these people do not want to be free and govern themselves?
Would you rather we released SH and let him restore order?

Tom, I get what you are saying and I don't want you to take this as me lumping you in with that group of folks who think our founding fathers were scum.

Your points are all good ones, but do not forget what the world was like at the time. The world was ruled by monarchies and people's rights were whatever the king granted them. The ideas of the American Revolution, specifically that man's (that means people to the PC crowd) rights were not granted by any king or queen, but that those rights were granted by God (that's what the creator means to those who think God has not played an integral role in the creation and history of this nation). The men who signed the declaration and led the revolt against the British were also those who had the most to lose. Washington, through marriage, had huge amounts of land. Hancock was probably the richest man in North America. They would have lost everything if we did not win. They had very little to gain by declaring independance, but they believed in an ideal. The ideal that people should govern themselves and be free from tyranny. The rights that women and minorities enjoy today (rightly so) would not have been possible were it not for these very real and courageous, yet flawed human beings who stood up for a belief that ultimatly reshaped much of the world. That is what makes the American Revolution such a remarkable event in world history. The characters are incredible. If Mel Gibson ever makes another movie in English, he could do one on the time period from 1770-1776 and it would be more than a gripping drama. Oftentimes it is true that history is more interesting than fiction, and that is certainly true of the creation of this nation.

46zilzal
08-24-2005, 11:46 PM
. The characters are incredible. If Mel Gibson ever makes another movie in English, he could do one on the time period from 1770-1776 and it would be more than a gripping drama.

You never saw this one???

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0187393/

lsbets
08-24-2005, 11:51 PM
I did, but I'm talking about the Adams', Hancock, Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, etc .....

Secretariat
08-25-2005, 12:19 PM
Interesting post from the BBC on current Iraqi situation.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4177266.stm

'''a sample of article below....

An Islamic Republic of Iraq?
By Roger Hardy
BBC Middle East analyst

Is Iraq moving, inch by inch, towards becoming an Islamic republic? it is a prospect that is as unsettling for many Iraqis as it is for George Bush in the White House.

Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq was a centralised and largely secular state.

Now, if the Shia religious parties get their way, it will be a decentralised state with a pronounced Islamic identity.

The draft of the new constitution describes Islam as "a main source" of legislation and stipulates that no law may contradict Islamic principles.

It also says a group of provinces is entitled to form a "region", which can then expect a specified share of the national budget.

Bobby
08-25-2005, 12:28 PM
If Iraq turns into an ISLAMIC state, then this whole war will have backfired on BUSH and Rummy. Huge failure. Worse than Saddam. Can you say IRAN all over again?

Steve 'StatMan'
08-25-2005, 03:46 PM
I'm thinking our relationship will be more like Kuwait. Maybe the UAE as well.

Secretariat
08-25-2005, 05:15 PM
Actually, I think this idea of a deadline for a Constitution is a bit hurried. Really, does anyone think our country could come up with a constitution today with the deep divisions with our country today in this short amount of time?

Elements of the evangelical south would want a Christian nation (ala Rev. James Kennedy), Texas would want its own nation as well as probably Calfornia and New England. Drafting a constitution such as our current one would probably be an impossiblity today. It was brutal with 13 colonies.

Perhaps, if we were going to impose democracy on Iraq, we should have done it honestly, and said - you must use ours initially, and in 10 years or so if you want to change it then use the Amendment process. Divide Iraq into various states, not religious bsed ones. Let Tom Delay do the gerrymandering, that way we could run a line from north of Kuwait in the Shia area on a 100 yard strip all the way up though to the Kurdish area.

Consensus on this thing over there seems almost an insurmountable hurdle. The Shia listen to their clerics and sice they're the majority they'll probably force it with unrest thereafter, and Islam as the fundamental doctrine over any constituion.

Bobby
08-25-2005, 05:48 PM
Perhaps, if we were going to impose democracy on Iraq, we should have done it honestly, and said - you must use ours initially, and in 10 years or so if you want to change it then use the Amendment process.



I think your right SEC. We should have imposed our own democracy on them and then given the IRAQs a time frame to change it - like 10 or so years.

With the way its going now, its really just a crap shoot. It could be like Aatollayah or whatever his name is OR it could be like Jordan (without the monarchy), a 1/2way decent ally.

PaceAdvantage
08-26-2005, 02:37 AM
Actually, I think this idea of a deadline for a Constitution is a bit hurried. Really, does anyone think our country could come up with a constitution today with the deep divisions with our country today in this short amount of time?

Elements of the evangelical south would want a Christian nation (ala Rev. James Kennedy), Texas would want its own nation as well as probably Calfornia and New England. Drafting a constitution such as our current one would probably be an impossiblity today. It was brutal with 13 colonies.


Such little faith in the American spirit....tsk tsk....

chickenhead
08-26-2005, 11:30 AM
I read the draft of the Iraqi constitution...there is some really good stuff, and some stuff that should be removed. If I were an Iraqi, I would remove the references to never building WMDs, and the long bit about trying to curb terrorism..and not supporting terrorism...and hating terrorism.

A constitution should be a timeless document...not something written to specifically address only the issues of right now.

Also the bit about the Islamic principles..I would like to know what those principles are..where they are written down. It seems giving some unspecified group of principles ultimate authority is a pretty big loophole.

lsbets
08-26-2005, 11:33 AM
Chickenhead I've only seen excerpts of the documnet, do you have a link to the whole thing?

chickenhead
08-26-2005, 11:38 AM
The NY Times had the whole draft up yesterday...I can't find it today, but I'm sure it's still there somewhere.

Secretariat
08-26-2005, 02:03 PM
I always thought there was Shia, Kurd, and Sunni divisions on the Constitution, but apparently there are strong divisions even among the Shia. Not sure I understand all the ramifications of this, but it keeps looking worse daily.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/osadrback

btw..here's a link on the draft constitution, some q&A and another article on the Shia divisions...

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/24/international/middleeast/24wire-itex.html

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050825/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_q_a

http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/osadrback

JustRalph
08-26-2005, 02:16 PM
If I were an Iraqi, I would remove the references to never building WMDs, and the long bit about trying to curb terrorism..and not supporting terrorism...and hating terrorism.

What? In what world would you think that they would ever want to reverse the part about curbing terrorism, not supporting terrorism and "hating terrorism"?
You seem to suggest that someday the Iraqi's as a nation may want to decide that they are a terrorist nation. Better than that, and they want it as an option that is not contradicted by something as simple as a "constitution"????? I bet Iran and Syria don't have it written anywhere that they can resort to "terrorism" if they want to...........which is tantamount to what you suggest in your post.

I would think that not supporting terror, curbing terrorism and hating terrorism might just fall under timeless examples of what you would want in your constitution.

chickenhead
08-26-2005, 02:36 PM
I'll have to read our constitution again, but I'm pretty sure there is no reference to terrorism in it.

My note has nothing to do necessarily with thinking they will someday be reversing their opinion of it, only that as a presumably civilized country (i.e. one that actually cares about a constitution), there is no need for that language.

Any country/government that would resort to sponsoring terrorism, would certainly not be bound by a constitution in the first place, so why even bother writing one if the assumption is that it, the constitution, will be the only thing keeping people from acting like savages. The writers need to assume some degree of legitamacy and civilized behavior, else their endeavor is over before it starts.

I would expect my leaders to start with a higher opinion of me/us. A timeless constitution cannot start with the assumption that the people writing it, and the people to be living under it, are savages.

As for the WMD's, yes they may want to reverse that at some time in the future....like I said, if I were an Iraqi, I would not want that in my constitution.

Steve 'StatMan'
08-26-2005, 02:42 PM
I'm thinking this way they can immediately procecute those that are currently carrying out the terrorism in Iraq as having clearly violated the constitiuion and the Iraqi's citizens constitutional rights.

Secretariat
08-26-2005, 11:07 PM
Will the constitution be the catalyst for civil war? Sunnis seem to think so.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050827/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq

Tom
08-27-2005, 12:04 AM
[QUOTE=lsbets]Tom, I get what you are saying and I don't want you to take this as me lumping you in with that group of folks who think our founding fathers were scum.

QUOTE]

Oh no - I didn't mean it that way at all. What I was trying to say was look how we started out, and look where we are now. Iraq has a tough task to tackle, and just becasue they come out of the box with a perfect constitution doesn't mean that they cannot get it right over time. I think out founding father's did a great job charting new waters. The compromises that were needed were not easy, and Iraq faces similar problems.
My point about the 3/5's ratio and slavery was that you have to put things in persepctive of the times and go from there. Just look at US.

Tom
08-27-2005, 12:09 AM
Originally Posted by Secretariat
Perhaps, if we were going to impose democracy on Iraq, we should have done it honestly, and said - you must use ours initially, and in 10 years or so if you want to change it then use the Amendment process.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++
What a line of bull! Impose? You mean give them a chance at democracy.

When you save someone from drowning, do you impose air on them?

Do ER doctors impose blood into car crash victims?



Can’t you ever post anything without an underlying negative tone to it?

Tom
08-27-2005, 12:14 AM
http://www.cpa-iraq.org/government/TAL.html

Here's a draft.....personally, I think Article 7 (a) will be thier undoing. But good luck to them if they can overcome it.

toetoe
08-27-2005, 12:19 AM
Were the kamikazes on Sept. 11, 2001 Wahabis? I know 75% were Saudi Arabian.

Secretariat
08-27-2005, 01:20 AM
Originally Posted by Secretariat
Perhaps, if we were going to impose democracy on Iraq, we should have done it honestly, and said - you must use ours initially, and in 10 years or so if you want to change it then use the Amendment process.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++
What a line of bull! Impose? You mean give them a chance at democracy.

When you save someone from drowning, do you impose air on them?

Do ER doctors impose blood into car crash victims?



Can’t you ever post anything without an underlying negative tone to it?



Tom, do you have something against the American Constitution? It's the greatest document ever written. Why is it not good enough for Iraq? What kind of American are you to doubt that its fundamental precepts are good enough for Americans, but are not good enough for Iraqis? Next thing you'll be joining the American Civil Liberties.

The biggest problem with the Iraqi Constitution is this line:

Article (2), Section (a) - "No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam"

Well, right there creates an "unequal" society, and a society with harsh and brutal punishments which includes lashings, stonings, mutilation. Adultery under Islam is punishable by death, and is defiend as a married woman being in the presence of a male who is not a family member. Even marrying children of 9 years old is permissible.

Despite the Islam mandate which throws everthing into a mess because it then details that Clerics can determine when Islam is being violated according to Constitutional Law, and hence Clerics can overrule any passed law; there are some positves in the Constitution for the Iraqi people:

1. Article 30 (1st) – The state guarnatees social and health insurance….

Article 31 (1st) – Every Iraqi has the right to health service , and the state is in charge of public health….

2. Article 28 (2nd) – Low income people should be exempted from taxes in a way that gurantees maintaining the minimum level necessary for living.

3. Article 33 - Every indivudual has the right to live in a correct environmental atmosphere….

4. Article 35© - All forms of torture, mental or physical, and inhuman treatment are forbidden. There is no recognition of any confession extracted by force or threats or torture , and the injured party may seek compensation for any physical or mental injury that is inflicted.

A couple more forward ideas as well, but that first statement of Islam can overrule ANY law.