Iraqi constitutionalism (one day, Iraqi time, to go)
mdudziak at law.usc.edu
Sat Aug 13 19:52:02 PDT 2005
I've only dipped in occasionally on these posts, so sorry if this has
been gone over before. To answer Lynne's question re: Japan, Gen.
Douglas MacArthur gave his U.S. Army staff a week to write a
constitution for Japan, which was then given to the Japanese, who
were pressured by the U.S. to adopt it. This is discussed
beautifully in John Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of
World War II. So -- yes, there was a short time limit, but for other
more glaring reasons, the experience in Japan is not what we want to
repeat in Iraq.
At 05:53 PM 8/13/2005, Lynne Henderson wrote:
>Again, I ask a question I have asked earlier--did we set time limits
>on Japan and Germany in writing their constitutions after WWII?
>(These seem to me to be the most comparable, as the U.S. was
>victorious and occupying at least part of the countries
>involved), The Germans certainly had some experience with a
>written constitution and may have been up to speed, but for the
>Japanese, a constitution in the Western sense was a new concept and
>way of thinking. It is ironic that our government seems ot think
>"democracy", "freedom," and constitutions just are obvious to anyone
>and easily accomplished.
>Respectfully, I don't think publicity has much to do with the
>problems in drafting an Iraqi consttitution--unless there is far
>more coverage of the negotiations in the Iraqi press than I am aware
>of. (Although perhaps the return to religious law and its
>implications for women has caused problems, and an analogy might be
>drawn to our own founder's eliding the issue of slavery, the real
>issues--women's issues are *never* decisive in history thus
>far--are "federalism" and the power of the Kurds and Shi'ites over
>the the Sunni and economy . . . .) The coverage in this
>country hasn't exactly been prominent, except for brief mentions of
>the President said X, the US said Y , the ambassador is pressuring
>and making suggestions, etc.
>Prof. Lynne Henderson
>On Aug 13, 2005, at 4:17 PM, guayiya wrote:
>>I am reminded of Madison's remark that had the Convention not been
>>secret, no Constitution would have emerged. Are the media and our
>>gossip making a Founding myth impossible?
>>Sanford Levinson wrote:
>>> From tomorrow's New York Times. Again, I ask why the US
>>> considers Monday a "sacred" date. Is it because of 1) a sober
>>> belief that it is truly best for the Iraqis to rush toward some
>>> gerry-built incomplete "constitution" or 2) the deserate desire
>>> of the Bush Administration to declare that "progress is being
>>> made"? Unfortunately, I view this as a rhetorical
>>> question. Does anyone seriously believe that 1) is the correct answer?
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Mary L. Dudziak
Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law, History and
University of Southern California Law School
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0071
e-mail: mdudziak at law.usc.edu
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