Letter to the Editor

Islamic law isn't our kind of freedom

Saturday, September 3, 2005

To the editor:

Al Sharpton, at the 2004 Democratic Party National Convention, said President Bush's procession of rationales for the Iraq invasion -- WMDs (wrong), on-going nuke program (wrong), connection with al-Qaida (wrong) -- was like yelling, "Fire! Fire!" and then confessing, after the building emptied out, "Well, there wasn't really a fire. I just thought a little fresh air would do us some good."

The rationale du jour is that Saddam Hussein was a bad man, but now that he has been deposed, Iraq is free. Let's think about that one.

Under Saddam's Baathist regime, women had rights, including the right to vote, and occupied positions of power in the public life of Iraq. Their rights, and the rights of men, were often violated, but at least they had a humanistic theoretical basis.

Those who are, as I write, trying to come up with a new Iraqi constitution seem to have already agreed that Islam will be the basis of law in Iraq. What an Islamic basis of law means in the quotidian lives of the women of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan ain't pretty.

If the Iraqi constitution-makers persist along this line, resulting in yet another fundamentalist Islamic republic replacing the flawed-yet-secular Baathist government, can anyone tell me what the cause of freedom will have gained through our sacrifice? What new Pollyanna-ish construction will those irrepressible, happy-go-lucky, unreconstructed, unreconstructible Bush leaguers put on such a tragedy?

DONN S. MILLER, Tamms, Ill.