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Iraqi Constitution - Warning to George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld: Don’t turn the Iraqi Army into Green Berets - we may have to fight them in a few years!

June 13th, 2006

Iraqi Constitution - Warning to George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld: Don’t turn the Iraqi Army into Green Berets - we may have to fight them in a few years!

US Army soldiers alongside Iraqi Army soldiers

“What’s for dinner, Grandpa?”

“Taters, possum hearts fricasseed in hog renderings, collar greens, rhubarb pie, and chickpeas fried in breadcrumbs.”

“Chickpeas fried in breadcrumbs! Yum! Yum!”

Hee Haw’s Grandpa Jones knew how to put on a feed but if he were still alive and living in Baghdad those chickpeas fried in breadcrumbs (known as falafel in the Middle East) could get him in big trouble. Falafel is a popular fast food in most of the Arab world—especially in Syria and more recently in Israel and this has angered some Muslim fundamentalists who now consider falafel to be un-Islamic.


The Fafafel is also popular in Iraq and street vendors in Baghdad and elsewhere have been cleaning up selling the tasty fast food to hungry Iraqis. But, alas, no more!  Falafels are now haram. They are forbidden—verboten. The late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda’s Number One Sturmbahnfuhrer in Iraq had declared war on the street vendors. No more falafels! The vendors were given 14 days to quit the chickpea and breadcrumb business—or else!

Fourteen days? What was this—some kind of a joke? And what did they mean—or else? This wasn’t Chicago! No Al Capone look-alike was going to tell them what to do. A couple of weeks later the ‘or else’ stipulation went into effect and two falafel vendors were shot dead.

Some Mad Mullah, perhaps one of al-Zarqawi’s spiritual advisors, had been studying the Qur’an all day and all night and had found no mention of falafels in the Holy Scriptures or in the Commentaries. Maybe it was the weather, maybe the technology hadn’t been invented yet—anyway Mohammed had never sunk his chompers into a tasty falafel. After that amazing discovery, the line of reasoning was never in doubt. If there were no falafels in the 6th Century, there should be none in the 21st—otherwise one would be dishonoring the Prophet. It is difficult to argue with that kind of logic—especially when it ends with an or else. 
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It might be possible for a Man from Mars to consider the violence associated with the falafel controversy just another Islamic idiosyncrasy, a minor aberration, a growing pain on Iraq’s road to democracy—were it not for all the other idiosyncrasies, aberrations and growing pains. The list is endless: Christians who legally sold alcohol during the reign of Saddam Hussein have been terrorized and murdered; Muslim women, as well as non-Muslim women, have been forced to wear the burqa; barbers have been murdered for shaving beards, for giving French-style haircuts. The Mohawk and the Moe Howard are definitely out. Two Iraqi tennis players and their coach were shot dead for wearing shorts. Non-Muslims are still being persecuted. Sad to say, they had more freedom and were safer under Saddam Hussein.

Article 2 of the new Iraqi Constitution says: “First: Islam is the official religion of the State, and it is a fundamental source of legislation…No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.”


That is almost as comforting as the Nuremberg Laws.

There is no guarantee, even if the insurgents are defeated, al-Qaeda is banished and Saddam Hussein is hanged, that Iraq will become a modern, democratic, secular state. Fine words, written in blood, are not enough. There is more to democracy that a Constitution. The Iraqis must not only believe in democracy; they must want it—they must want it bad. And there is not much evidence of that. They are closer to the 7th Century than to the 21st.

The Sharia is hostile to democracy; Islam is hostile to democracy; the Iraqis themselves may be hostile to democracy. There is far more give in the democratic process than take. Washington gave; Hamilton gave; Adams gave; Jefferson gave. Mad Mullahs don’t give—they take.

When America withdraws—and it will eventually—Iraq could become an Islamic Republic. Using the Sharia as a source or a cover for legislation, the most brutal elements in the Iraqi body politic—those willing to trample on the rights of other; willing to terrorize and murder to get their way—could easily gain the upper hand. Iraq’s fragile democratic element might not be willing to fight fire with fire, but if they do, then they will run the risk of becoming little better than their adversaries. There is along way to go. As Churchill said: “It is only the beginning of the beginning.”

Article 89 of the Iraq Constitution says: “The Federal Supreme Court shall be made up of numbers of judges, and experts in Islamic Jurisprudence and law experts.”

That is not comforting. The cancer has spread from Article 2 to Article 89. Women will remain enslaved and the dhimmis, as usual, well be persecuted. In the meantime the training of the Iraqi armed forces continues. America should be careful not to train them to too fine a pitch, not to turn them into Green Berets. There is no need for another School of the Americas, no need for more Comancheros, no need to arm the Sioux to hunt buffalo. This is an uncertain world and America could conceivably be fighting their former protégés within a couple of years—and it wouldn’t be over falafels.

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Denis Schulz
Freelance Writer

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