"In some ways, whether the Iraq that emerges from the U.S. occupation becomes more conservative or more permissive than its neighbors will depend greatly on which politicians are chosen in that election, scheduled to take place March 7. But it is far from clear whether the upcoming contest will affirm or buck the current trend.
"Unfortunately, the democratic system in Iraq has led to the rise of undemocratic parties and movements that don't believe in the concept of human rights or personal freedoms," said Mithal Alousi, a secular Sunni lawmaker. "These parties are trying to leave an impression among the uneducated and the simple-minded people that they are the guardians of religion and proper behavior, and conversely, that secular parties are the ones promoting alcohol consumption and the opening of nightclubs, and thus are un-Islamic." " Washpost
In the bad old days before the 1st Gulf War I used to occasionally frequent the night club scene in Baghdad. My hosts took me there and so I had little choice. A lot the clubs were down on the Tigris River bank, although I remember one huge club, the "Khan Marjan" that was housed in a medieval kervansaray. That one looked as though it would seat 500 a least. Thee was a lot of music, smoking, good foodm pretty womwn in western dresses dancing, at time on tables if the moodstruck them, A real Agatha Christie Middle East scene. I understand that things were even more secular in the latter part of the Hashemite period. There was a lot of drinking.
Sinful! Shocking! Bad Arabs! Bad!
Well, we have fixed that, as we are in the process of "fixing" tha same problems all over the Islamic World wherever we have "done good" as some simpleminded marine general was heard to say.
Now it looks like we are going to "do good" for Yemen as well, so that the Mescalero and Chiricahua look and do alikes will become "reservation Indians."
Unfortunately, it won't be our reservation and the faith they will be converted to will not be one we like. pl