Call for a Do-Over?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Noah Feldman’s New York Times op-ed on the Iraqi constitution lays out all the well-tilled reasons why the document may just lead to further bloodshed down the road, but this part near the end brought on a bit of head-scratching:

Although things look bad today, the game is not yet quite over. Should the constitution be rejected on Oct. 15, everyone can head back to the negotiation table and try again.

In an ideal world, everyone would get behind this option. Do the whole thing over, this time with the Sunnis fully included. On the other hand, I have serious, serious doubts that re-electing the Iraqi National Assembly all over again would fundamentally change the outcome. The Sunni provinces are still as violent as ever, and turnout, while perhaps better than last January, would still be quite low. Meanwhile, Shiite militias like Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army and SCIRI’s “Badr Organization” pretty much run southern Iraq at the barrel of a gun, and the potential for ballot tampering, or intimidation, is high. The odds seem pretty good that re-doing everything would only bring back to power the same cast of characters, with the same set of demands, only this time, the U.S. military would be even closer to the breaking point, and the Iraqi people would be even more impatient with a constitutional process that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. “Head[ing] back to the negotiation table and try[ing] again” may end up being one of the few options that can avert a civil war and seek out that much-discussed “political solution” for the Sunnis, but is it even practical?

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate