October 01, 2003

ANOTHER FEDERAL JUDGE ON IRAQ: Here's an article from the Tennessee Bar Journal quoting U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Gilbert Merritt (for whom I clerked) on his trip to Iraq:

Securing facilities is a first step. Merritt is aware it will take much more to put in place an independent judiciary in Iraq. As anyone who watches the news knows, the country is under attack from terrorists and is still torn by rival religious and ethnic groups.

Still, Merritt is optimistic. From his time in Iraq, he has come to believe that the overwhelming majority of people there support the reconstruction. Baghdad has been a center of education and culture in the region for thousands of years, and its population is well educated - especially the lawyers, who Merritt says are among the most westernized and among the best educated people in the country. They could be strong leaders in the rebuilding of the government and in the development of a new constitution, he says. . . .

An early opponent of the U.S. invasion, Merritt now says he saw a different dimension of Iraq while there and believes the United States was right to lead the coalition's campaign to oust Saddam.

The current situation is an opportunity for the United States to put a constitutional democracy in place in Iraq, he says, and a chance to make up for some of the suffering the people there have felt since the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

For those who keep track of such things, Merritt was a Carter appointee.

UPDATE: Here's a piece on the hidden stories of Iraq, from the Kansas City Star.