So the U.S. ambassador to Iraq is actively pushing secular Iraqis, and in particular the Kurdish leadership, to accept a more-theocratic rather than a less-theocratic constitution, one that will subject family matters to clerical jurisdiction and provide that no law can be made contrary to the “fixed principles” of Shari’a. (Scroll down about 2/3 of the way for the details.)
It would be easy, but false, to sneer about the Bush Administration’s consistency in being friendly to theocrats at home and abroad. The truth is much more discouraging.
A democratic Iraq cannot be a liberal Iraq, because the Iraqi majority is profoundly illiberal: illiberal to a degree that makes the majority in Alabama or Texas look positively Whiggish by comparison. With the (otherwise desirable) destruction of the Ba’athist regime and party, there is simply no remaining secularist force capable of competing with the mullahs.
It was perfectly predictable that occupying Iraq would put the United States in a position of needing to cater to the desires of the Shi’a clergy, and in particular to Ali Sistani. Now, their hands strengthened by the long string of blunders that has characterized the occupation, the mullahs are collecting their ransom.
Sad? Yes. Disgusting? Somewhat. But not surprising.
This is the sort of problem which led the Bush I team to stop short of conquest when the road to Baghdad was open.
Hat tip: Jeanne d’Arc.