A tip from a Japanese: "Take your time, Iraqi legislators"

Wednesday, August 24 2005 @ 12:20 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

As a dog returneth to his vomit.....

On Monday, August 22, Iraqi legislators decided to put off a vote on a draft constitution, for the second time.

For months now these people representing Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish populations at the parliament have been discussing the draft constitution for a new Iraq. The major sticking points there are such polity issues as whether to go for a loose federalism or whether to go for a secular statehood.

Geographical maldistribution of oil resources is exacerbating the discord among the three major tribes.

As a result they have missed the deadline twice by now. But I don't believe they should be worried too much about lagging behind schedule because these deadlines for parliamentary deliberation and a subsequent referendum have been set a little arbitrarily.

Beyond doubt, though, the sooner they reach an agreement, the better off they are because it's likely the waves of insurgence will subside, if not totally, once the deal is struck among the tribal blocs.

But as some say, the Iraqis are in need of water and electricity much more than a constitution.

More importantly, the people currently working on a draft constitution have a lot of things to learn from the ill-fated Constitution of postwar Japan. My way of viewing the situation facing the Iraqis right now is that they might as well try to live without one until they exhaust their argumentation over the constitutional wording.

Perhaps there's another lesson for the Iraqis to learn from the Japanese. Some fundamentalist elements in that nation have already internalized the suicidal tactics proved to be very effective by Japan's Kamikaze pilots in the mid-1940s. But the Iraqi insurgents should know that Japan's awesome tactics against the U.S.-led allied forces eventually failed when the A-bombs flattened the two Japanese cities along with more than hundred thousand citizens living there.

But this is for the minority groups who act as if destructive/self-destructive tactics are a solution, not the problem. For the rest of the Iraqis, it's more important to have a look into the way the Japanese have been dealing with their Constitution in the last 59 years.

In 1946 the Allied Occupation Forces "imposed" on Japan a constitution which was meant to transform a militaristic monolith into a pacifist monolith.

Extremely submissive as they were, the Japanese people quickly took a bite at the imposed Constitution and swallowed it down.

Believe it or not, though, that was only to throw it all up six decades later, as something foreign and illegitimate, as if in a delayed immunological rejection.

And how are these spineless vertebrates going to rewrite their Constitution today?

Without waiting for a constitutional amendment, their government has already dispatched a Ground Self-Defense Forces contingent to Samawah as a token of the U.S.-Japan alliance, defying all the criticism from the anti-amendment camp that it was unconstitutional.

Actually these guys stationed in Samawah under the wing of the real soldiers from Australia are nothing but a bunch of disguised electricians, disguised plumbers, disguised carpenters, etc. And yet not a single Samawah villager has appreciated their presence there because these blood-phobic peace corps workers have done very little for the Iraqi reconstruction.

Unable to learn their bitter lessons from the Samawah flop, they are now talking about slightly rewording the second half of war-renouncing Article 9 so the Iraqi dispatch of the timid and toothless GSDF troops is confirmed as constitutional, while leaving the first half of the same clause, that categorically renounces "the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes," basically unchanged.

That means that under a "new" Constitution, these SDF personnel will still remain construction workers disguised in khaki.

The only thing to be expected to change when their Constitution is rewritten, after the nation-wide ritual debate, is the naming of the SDF. It's now going to be renamed in a way more indicative of the fact it's an army, toothless or not.

Excuse me for my scatologic analogy, but the postwar trail of the Japanese always reminds me of the Psalms. My version of Psalm 26:11 goes like this:

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so Japan returneth to its folly.

In this context I want to advise these proud Iraqis to take their time as long as they like. The last thing they should do is to swallow down any draft charter before they find every single clause of it convincingly acceptable to them.

Otherwise they are doomed to spew it up by 2065, as Japan will do most probably in 2006.

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