1-2-3, what are we fighting for?

Iraqi Constitution May Curb Women’s Rights [NYT]

Predictably*, the progressive features of the interim Iraqi constitution are being systematically expunged. The latest working draft of the new Iraqi constitution guarantees equal rights for women, except when equality conflicts with Islamic law.

Article 14 of the draft constitution would require that family law cases be tried according to the family’s sect or religion. That provision would forbid Shiite women of all ages from marrying without their families’ permission. Presumably, the new constitution would require the family courts to defer to sects whose interpretation of Sharia includes the proviso that a man divorce his wife by simply announcing his intention three times in her presence. (I’m sure that many families believe with equal fervor that Sharia requires gender equality, but somehow I doubt that their religious convictions will get equally zealous enforcement in from the new religious courts.)

Article 14 would replace a body of Iraqi law that has for decades been considered one of the most progressive in the Middle East in protecting the rights of women, giving them the freedom to choose a husband and requiring divorce cases to be decided by a judge.

[…]women’s groups are incensed by Article 14, which would repeal a relatively liberal personal status law enacted in 1959 after the British-backed monarchy was overthrown by secular military officers. That law remained in effect through the decades of Mr. Hussein’s rule.

Allegedly, American troops are in Iraq to stabilize this regime. In other words Americans are dying to impose theocracy and second-class citizenship on half the Iraqi people.

*Update: Abbas points to Peter Galbraith’s NYRB essay, Bush’s Islamic Republic. Recommended reading.