Cost of the War in Iraq
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Monday, August 22, 2005

Women's social rights not critical to democracy? Huh? 

This Sunday's Meet the Press included a segment on Iraq and the constitution currently being drafted. One guest was Larry Diamond, a former adviser to the CPA, and the other guest was former CIA Middle East specialist Reuel Marc Gerecht. At the end of the segment, when they were discussing the potential restriction of certain rights for women, Gerecht said the most remarkable thing:

Actually, I'm not terribly worried about this. I mean, one hopes that the Iraqis protect women's social rights as much as possible. It certainly seems clear that in protecting the political rights, there's no discussion of women not having the right to vote. I think it's important to remember that in the year 1900, for example, in the United States, it was a democracy then. In 1900, women did not have the right to vote. If Iraqis could develop a democracy that resembled America in the 1900s, I think we'd all be thrilled. I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy. We hope they're there. I think they will be there. But I think we need to put this into perspective.

I now have DVR so I immediately rewound to double check whether he actually said the words that I've highlighted in the above quote. Indeed, he did.

"Women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy."

Almost worse than the statement itself---almost---is the fact that it went unchallenged by the host, David Gregory.

Mr. Gerecht's statement is one of the most remarkable statements on the modern status of women I have heard in recent years. What do you think?

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