Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Road to Self-Rule in Iraq

A nice op-ed on the making of Iraq’s next constitution by David Brooks, Iraq’s Founding Moments
, updates us on the possibilities and pitfalls of designing a constitution for a war-ravaged, despot-haunted region.

Here are the lead paragraphs:

Imagine if James Madison and the other Founding Fathers had tried to write a constitution while carriages were being blown up on the roads from Boston to Philadelphia. Imagine if, instead of holding their debates in complete secrecy, they had been forced to conduct them in the full glare of the global media. Imagine if they had been forced to write that document while America’s neighbors worked to ensure their failure.

If you can imagine those things, you can begin to understand how difficult it is going to be for Iraqis to write their constitution. And yet, so far, things are going pretty well.

Discussions - 1 Comment

"Imagine if James Madison and the other Founding Fathers had tried to write a constitution while carriages were being blown up on the roads from Boston to Philadelphia. Imagine if, instead of holding their debates in complete secrecy, they had been forced to conduct them in the full glare of the global media. Imagine if they had been forced to write that document while America’s neighbors worked to ensure their failure."

Hmmm! As I reacall when they Framers met in Philadelphia, those who traveled from Boston were well advised to do so "properly" armed. In fact, some the jurisdictions between Boston and Philadelphia REQUIRED folks to be adequately armed with "blunderbuss and blade" when they traveled the "Post Road" outside the limits of the cities. There were "brigands and highwaymen" that preyed upon warfarers along the "highways and byways" of late 18th Century America with the command "stand and deliver". Refusal might have them "blackball the daddy oh!" unless the intended victims could see to their own defense. That’s why the Second Amendment had both a practical and a political purpose.

Also, when they met to "form a perfect Union", the wily Shays had just attempted their "rebellion", an event that was a catalyst for "doing something" to fix the Articles of Confederation. While the participants were sworn to secrecy, most States required their delegates to "keep them posted", so much of the debates were public information. Also, even some of the delegates, especially those siding with the anti-Federalists would "leak" tidbits that helped their cause. In fact, before the final document was voted on, a number of these anti-Federalists, voted with their feet and left without voting.

Of course, the 13 States were surrounded by many "neighbors", such as British Canada, Spanish Florida, French Louisiana Territory, and all the Indian Nations had their "axes to grind" with the fledgling United States of America. Of course, nearly 1/3rd of population of the 13 former Colonies were Tories during the American Revolution, and were still not too keen to see this experiment succeed. In fact, even some of the "Patriots" were having some second thoughts.

While Iraq is a extremely chaotic place, and the development of a Constitution for a Republic with a democratically elected representative style government in these conditions will be a very challenging task, the 13 former British Colonies in 1787 was not a tranquil paradise. However, I believe the single greatest advantage the Framers of the Constitution of the United States of America had that the Iraqi people lack, is that our Founding Fathers had to fight for their sovereignty and freedom, while the people of Iraq have had their’s handed to them by the Coalition. In order to truly appreciate their freedom and a government "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed", the people of Iraq should have shed their own blood to achieve those ends by overthrowing the tyrannt, Saddam, perhaps with a little help from their friends.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field
 

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: http://nlt.ashbrook.org/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/2783