The August 9 CBS Evening News drummed up pessimism over the Iraqi government's ability to move forward with drafting a constitution, warning that "Iraqis fear brighter days may not be ahead,' and that "Many Iraqis fear it could be the next thing to blow up here." There was even a shot at President Bush in the form of a clip of an Iraqi leader who complained about being pushed to meet a deadline "because Mr. Bush wants to claim a success of his adventure in Iraq." The complete transcript is after the break.
Bob Schieffer: "Another tough day in Iraq. More than 20 people died across the country. In Baghdad, a suicide car bomber killed at least seven people, including an American soldier, in an attack that also left 90 people wounded. Gunmen also killed ten Iraqi policemen in attacks across the city. And we learned that one U.S. Marine died yesterday in an attack at Ramadi. But the trouble in the streets is only part of it now. Here is Sharyn Alfonsi."
Sharyn Alfonsi: "The sandstorm that blinded the capital yesterday is clearing, but Iraqis are worried brighter days may not be ahead. It's not the lack of water or electricity that has them so concerned, or even the surge of violence in Baghdad today. It's the political process. Many Iraqis fear it could be the next thing to blow up here. Six days away from a deadline to present a draft of the new constitution, the country's top political and factional leaders are deadlocked on key issues -- like the role of religion. Should Islam be 'a' source of the law or 'the' source of the law? Today, women on both sides of that debate rallied in Baghdad. Strict interpretations of Sharia law allow for men to beat their wives and for polygamy. Advocates want guarantees in the constitution that as Iraq moves forward, women's rights won't roll back."
Rend al-Rahim Francke, The Iraq Foundation: "This is not mere legislation that can be reversed in two months or three months. This is a constitution that is supposed to endure."
Alfonsi: "But creating a solid constitution under a tight deadline is turning out to be a big challenge."
Sadoun al-Zubaydi, Constitutional Drafting Committee: "We're learning democracy. We're learning it. Let us learn it properly."
Alfonsi: "Sadoun al-Zubaydi says Iraq is being rushed by U.S. officials. He's helping draft the constitution, and says key issues are being swept aside just so the deadline is met."
Al-Zubaydi: "Simply because Mr. Bush wants to claim a success of his adventure in Iraq? All right, Mr. Bush, you have been successful, but let me do my constitution my way."
Alfonsi: "And that takes time?"
Al-Zubaydi: "And that takes, that should take its time."
Alfonsi: "Although he couldn't say how long it would take. And to give you an idea of just how much is up for debate, committee members can't agree on what to call the country, much less how to run it. Sharyn Alfonsi, CBS News, Baghdad."