Thursday, January 22, 2004

Salam wants to know if Iraq is becoming the 51st state.

Well, do you want to be? I mean, if I were you, I'd hold out for the 51st, 52nd, and 53rd states, at the least. It would make for some significant problems with language incompatibilities and the like. But, you know, you could do worse. And we've dealt with large non-English-speaking minorities before - the early Republic had over three hundred thousand German speakers in a population of four million - and I think we have more Spanish-speaking American citizens right now than there are Iraqis.

Personally, I've thought that the solution to long-term political stability in Iraq would be an United Governates of Mesopotamia, but no-body of importance seems to agree with me, given how fast they're pushing this whole June 30th thing. Somebody needs to remind Sistani that the American Constitutional Convention was an undemocratic, self-selected body of elites. Popular sovereignty means the people vote in favor of a constitution; it doesn't say anything about drafting the constitution by democratic or popular means. The push-and-jostle of campaigning produced the Bill of Rights, not any formal process of institutional consensus.

Anyways, if Iraqis want to petition to join the United States, there are procedures in place in our Constitution for such an eventuality. Be mindful of Article IV, Section 4, though. You do actually have to have a valid and operational set of state institutions in place before they can accept you. It isn't a short-cut for avoiding the work of constructing a grown-up government. That would be "declaring oneself a U.S. Territory". And we already have one more Puerto Rico than we really need, thank you very much.

Hey, I'm all for new states. It's been more than forty years since the last new state, but that doesn't mean that there can't be more. Would make something of a hash of the flag, though. How the hell do you balance 51 or 53 stars on a field?

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