Thursday, October 02, 2003

BIDEN: Joseph R. Biden Jr.; hero.

Of President Bush's $87 billion proposal for the military protection and reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, he has allocated $1.2 billion for Afghanistan — a sum that does not even match the amount pumped into the economy by the drug trade. What's more, a third of this is recycled money: funds raided from existing accounts, like a desperately needed program for embassy construction. That leaves a mere $800 million in new money.

Inadequate funding is just one way the president has failed to make good on his pledge of a Marshall Plan for Afghanistan. He has also failed to provide the leadership necessary to encourage the rest of the world to join in the rebuilding effort.
Read it all.

Meanwhile, Karzai announced that a draft of the new Constitution is being released in two weeks. The Boston Globe's Victoria Burnett:
But interviews with officials and an English-language copy of a recent, but not final, draft, indicate that the constitution will establish an Islamic republic whose laws are based on international conventions but where "no laws shall run counter to the sacred principles of Islam."

The country will be run by a president, a prime minister, and a parliament with two chambers -- a house of the people and a house of elders. The prime minister will be picked by the president but will need parliamentary approval.

The penultimate draft, which has since been amended and is therefore not definitive, lays out the rights of men and women to speak freely, form political parties, vote and run for office, and get a free education.

[...]

The text received by the Human Rights Commission failed to spell out the protection of citizens' rights, he said. For example, Nadery's commission had inserted a clause to protect the right to freely practice any religion. It also called for the creation of an independent human rights body and a constitutional tribunal.

The section of the penultimate draft that deals with the relation between religious and secular law is vague, hinting at the commission's struggle to please different religious factions.

The draft says the judiciary should fall back on Islamic law when there is "no clear law in this constitution or other laws" with which to judge a case. It leaves open the possibility of judging the case according to the laws of the Hanafi school, followed by the Sunni majority in Afghanistan, or the Jafari school, followed by the country's minority Shi'ites.

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