Reuel Marc Gerecht, the director of the Project For a New American Century’s Middle East Initiative, and therefore one of the people whose vision laid the groundwork for the project of “Democratizing Iraq,” told the folks on Meet the Press exactly what — and who — is important to his conception of democracy last week:
Actually, I’m not terribly worried about [the Iraqi Constitution’s exclusion of women’s rights]. 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.