The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Iraq Constitution: folks getting ahead of themselves...

The Command Post give us the text of the interim Constitution (clean copy). In fact, the Constitution will look more like this - which is a previous draft [1].

I don't read Arabic, still less have any notion how an Iraqi court might interpret the thing.

(Compare and contrast the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution in, say, 1918 and 1968. Same words, turned on their heads.)

Take a look at the translation of the constitution of the People's Republic of China - containing such gems as Article 6:
The basis of the socialist economic system of the People's Republic of China is socialist public ownership of the means of production...
and Article 27:
All state organs carry out the principle of simple and efficient administration...

Clearly, those words are meaningless, in English and without a deep background of the culture and political system to which they apply. (My hunch is that they are bollocks in Chinese, too...)

The vital importance of the thing for all sides is, I suspect, that the new Iraq constitution represents the return half of Paul Bremer's ticket. Confident assertions from the average Stateside (or Europe-based) pundit (how many fluent Arabic readers amongst them?) on the situation beyond that I would view with more than considerable scepticism.

  1. I've lost the URL (page in English!) that told me so. It's the only Arabic page in the cache, so I suspect this is it.

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