Monday, July 24, 2006


Iraqis divorcing; Bush to blame

Proving once again that there isn’t any social problem can’t be blamed on us, the Post this morning gives us the alarming news of the War Taking Toll on Marriage, Too. Apparently, Iraqis are now divorcing at record rates.

“More than twice as many marriages are ending in divorce as before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, according to ministry and court officials, social workers and divorce lawyers, though no reliable data are available from the earlier period. The twin stresses of perpetual violence and a stagnant economy -- along with the loosening of certain social stigmas -- are taking a toll on one of Islamic culture's most sacred institutions.”

Yep – based on unreliable data, we now know that marriage in Iraq is in trouble and it probably has something to do with us.

For the article’s author, Jonathan Finer, it seems that the memory of life under Saddam as the good ole days has morphed into an all-purpose article of faith. Seriously, it’s the POST-2003 “perpetual violence and a stagnant economy” that’s undermining marriage?  Pre-2003, there was the Iran-Iraq war followed up by the Iraqi invasion into (and subsequent return from) Kuwait - all with an ongoing regime built on terrorizing its populace acting as the backdrop.  A staple of pre-war news coverage was how our embargo was crippling the Iraqi economy to the extent that the children were in dire straits. In fact, I thought that was the whole humanitarian premise behind the UN’s oil-for-food program.

Amazingly, all those years the Iraqis handled with aplomb but just a few years with the Americans…

Since the article doesn’t actually recount any divorces it can attribute to the twin stresses, one might be tempted to infer that this is just some gratuitous slam at our Iraq efforts. But the Post constantly assures us that their editorial pages and news coverage do not mix so I don’t know quite what to think. For what it’s worth, I suspect the third reason - “…along with the loosening of certain social stigmas…” - presented almost as an aside, is the true dominant factor. The first anecdotal story given is indicative:

Furious when he took a second wife four months ago, she moved out and refused to return until he granted a divorce.”

Then there was this:

“or what she calls "tiny problems," like bed-wetting, an issue in a recent case.

“The husband "complained to the judge that he had to change the mattress every morning," Habash said. "When the judge said this is no reason for divorce, he cursed him. Really, now they want to divorce over anything."

In fact, they all pretty much read like divorce court here (well, except for the second wife bit) - in other words, marriages ending that probably shouldn’t have been marriages in the first place.

Damn Bush, first he makes a married woman get an abortion now he's making married couples divorce. Some defender of the sanctity of marriage.
(The sad thing is that there are probably those who'd take those comments seriously.)
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